There are several instances of apparently possessive -s names of streets in
Rhode Island:  Thurbers Avenue, Allens Avenue.  (I guess this is common some
places but I never noticed it anywhere else I lived.)

On the other hand...  For some reason, even though Italian explorer Giovanni
da Verrazzano thought Aquidneck Island (where Newport is located) looked
like the island of Rhodes, that /s/, whatever it is morphologically, didn't
make the cut and the state is officially named "Rhode Island and Providence
Plantations."   Go figure.

( N.B., an alternative explanation holds that the name is a corruption of
Roodt Eylandt (Red Island; you tell me, is it Dutch?) because of the red
clay on its shore. See   But: In
1643-44, Aquidneck was officially renamed "the Isle of Rhodes or Rhode

----- Original Message -----
From: "Elliott Lash" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 7:00 PM
Subject: Re: Number/Specificality/Archetypes in Language

> --- Steg Belsky <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > On Sep 28, 2004, at 10:00 PM, John Cowan wrote:
> > > My point was that names can take inflectional
> > morphology, but can also
> > > have things inside the name that look like
> > inflectional morphology
> > > (and perhaps once were) but aren't,
> > synchronically.  Historically,
> > > "the Bronx" and "Yonkers" contain plural
> > morphemes, but now they
> > > always take singular agreement, e.g.
> > >
> >
> > What're the etymologies, then?  I thought the Bronx
> > is named after the
> > Bronx River, a singular noun.  No idea about Yonkers
> > though, but then
> > again i don't think i've ever been there.
> Bronx supposedly comes from Jonas Bronck the first
> settler of the area. He arrived in 1639 with the Dutch
> West India company. He settled between what is now the
> Bronx and Harlem rivers. He gave his name to the
> river, "Bronck's river", and then later it transferred
> to the whole area. It seems likely that this is a
> possessive morpheme, not a plural.
> Yonkers was settled by Adriaen Van Der Donck, he was
> given the land by the New England Company in the
> 1640's. He was a Jonker (or something like  Jonk Heer
> "Young Nobleman" I guess) from the Netherlands. And
> people would refer to his land as Jonker's Land or
> Jonker's and so forth. We just change the "J" to a
> more English like Y".
> So, in conclusion, I'd suspect that both of these are
> possessive -s morphemes, not plural.
> Elliott
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