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Quoting Roger Mills <[log in to unmask]>:

> >I remember one discussion on <sci.lang> where an American
> >recounted telling a German friend he was originally from
> >St. Louis.  The German allegedly said "Oh, Illinois -
> >I've always wanted to go there!"
>
> Way back in the 40s, one of my teachers recounted this exchange, which
> took
> place in Boston (Mass.)--
> She:  "I'm from South Dakota"
> Bostonian:  "Oh.  What state is that in?"

That's fairly spectacular.  On the other hand, that would
be like a Briton being asked what country Palermo is in.

> I doubt that the situation has improved, especially since geography
> (even of our own country) seems by and large to be no longer taught.

Not in my schooldistrict in Houston. Or at least, not when I
was there (it's been five years now).  There was so much worry
about children being ignorant about the world around them that
they actually stopped teaching the second year of mid-level
American history and required everyone to take a geography
course.  (By this point, almost everyone was taking the advanced
placement course on American history in 11th or 12th grade
anyway, so they didn't feel bad about the change.)

> (They needed that period for Driver's Ed.?)

This is also something we didn't have -- there were afterschool
classes available, however.

> Even the Univ. of Michigan killed its Geog. Dept.
> back in the 80s.

I'm pretty sure UT still has one, although I don't know how
much attention it gets.  I know at least one person who got
a degree in geography.

=====================================================================
Thomas Wier <[log in to unmask]> <http://home.uchicago.edu/~trwier>

             "...koruphàs hetéras hetére:isi prosápto:n /
Dept. of Linguistics  mú:tho:n mè: teléein atrapòn mían..."
University of Chicago "To join together diverse peaks of thought /
1010 E. 59th Street   and not complete one road that has no turn"
Chicago, IL 60637     Empedocles, _On Nature_, on speculative thinkers