Ray Brown scripsit:
> >I don't question the "City" part of the story, I question the
> >preposition "in". I could easily see "The City" becoming analyzed as a
> >name, but the incorporation of a preposition seems a bit far-fetched to
Is it not in fact "[in]to the City"? I have no Greek, but "polein"
looks accusative to me.
> I think it not at all improbable that, in an age before printing & mass
> communication, a conquering race who knew little or no French and care
> less for the language, might get to name Brittany as something like
> *Ambretain. I believe, indeed - but don't have time to check it out - that
> similar instances have actually occurred.
When the famous Captain Cook first saw Hawaii and Tahiti, he transcribed
their names as "Owhyhee" and "Otaheite". This initial "O" is the reflex
of the pan-Polynesian word "'o", meaning (in this context) something like
"This is", "Voila". It's ungrammatical to use a bare noun as a sentence;
the "'o" must be prefixed.
"Otaheite", though long gone from English as a place name, is still used
in the trivial names of various plants: the Otaheite apple / orange /
gooseberry / arrowroot.
Owyhee County is in southwestern Idaho, named after a river (a tributary
of the Snake) which was in turn named after three Hawaiian fur trappers
who died there in 1819.
(Though the American Revolution was raging during Cook's voyages of
exploration, American ships were forbidden to interfere with him in any
way -- IIRC at Thomas Jefferson's command. Science knows no nationality.)
Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.
--Arthur C. Clarke, "The Nine Billion Names of God"
John Cowan <[log in to unmask]>