Archive for the ‘language’ Category

Terreblanche and crazy names

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

The thing that struck me recently about the murder of a South African White Supremacist was his name: Terreblanche. I could be completely wrong but doesn’t that mean something like Land Of The White? Is it just a crazy coincidence that he happened to have this name alongside his political views or did someone in his family choose to change it to match their agenda?

(It looks like he was murdered by one/some of his black farm workers who had a dispute over conditions/pay. Given that Terreblanche had spent time in prison for beating up one of his staff to the point of paralysis, you can see how things might get heated.)

And families (not just royal families) do change their names to fit changed circumstances or changed aspirations.

John Cleese’s father was called Cheese – but he didn’t regard it as a serious enough name, so changed it. He had aspirations for his son to be a lawyer and “Cheese” would make him a laughing stock. Imagine! Cheese would only be a suitable name for someone who went into surreal comedy…

I’d been curious about Chuck Palahniuk (a favourite author of mine). I guessed maybe some native Indian name. But his parents were called Paula and Nick, and made it up. Seems somehow disappointing.

I love the crazy names people end up with… (anyone remember Randy Bumgardner, the Whitehouse spokesman?). Popbitch is good at finding them.

This one got a lot of exposure last week (retweets, mainly, and the Register) but is so wonderful, it bears repeating: an article in the Times about sex abuse in the Vienna Boy’s Choir was written by someone called Roger Boyes! For real.

Meanwhile, the Beaver Magazine in Canada, after over a century, has had to change its name – because of the Scunthorpe Problem.

Multicultural food?

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

I used to have a small chuckle passing a place in Glasgow called “Murphy’s Pakora Bar”. Wonderful. Food has always been at the forefront of multiculturalism: people like trying different foods, in new contexts.

Curries were accepted into British society far more quickly and readily than brown skinned bus drivers or doctors.

And we’ve always been happy to experiment with pizzas for example… Hawaiian Pizza?

So, now I’ve spotted there’s an “Indian Tapas” restaurant.

And it doesn’t even sound wrong any more, does it? In fact it’s quite appealling I think. Reminds me of… now, was it George’s father in “Seinfeld” who wished he could have a meal made just of starters [and reprised in "Curb Your Enthusiasm" perhaps?]

How do you spell “center”?

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

They’re always happy to change titles of films to suit US market. ["Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"? pfff!]

But I just saw a poster for new film “Journey to the center of the earth” here in the UK…


It seems that the localisation process is one way only with Americans… Should this surprise us?