Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2166 Words of Fancy

Foreign words is weird. But they can sure fancy things up. Case in point. During the reign of joy after the Seahawks Superbowl Victory, a polite riot emerged on the streets of Seattle. By polite I mean wild revelers roaming the streets actually waited for a crosswalk sign to turn green so they could cross an intersection.

Unfortunately, some damage did occur. To a special pergola in downtown. Oh the humanity, a spoiled pergola.

But it got me thinking. When I think pergola, I also think gazebo. And when I think gazebo, I often think kiosk. They all conjure up the same sort of structure in my mind.

And it's odd, because these structures are often structures that are in civic parks. And often used for public entertainment. And hung with patriotic bunting. So my question: Kiosk, pergola, gazebo---Why do we only have foreign-sounding names for those structures?

Because the American word for them is shed.

And that ain't fancy.

Foreign-sounding names also infiltrate our candy. And it's nuts. As in nut type candy. Take your good old American peanut brittle. Always a holiday hit. Right up there with mom's apple pie. I've even had chocolate-covered peanut brittle.

So why is it when we use almonds we change the name to Almond Roca? Why roca? I'm guessing it's because it's a foreign name for rock. 
Then there's Ferrero Rocher. It's made of hazelnuts. Rocher is French for rock. The point is, brittle is fine in English, but when you start referring to your nut treats as rocks it's better to employ a foreign language. 

It just makes things sound fancier. As rocher is to rock, gazebo is to shed. 

So let's go watch an American band roca and rolla in the pergola. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

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