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eggshaped
163045.  Wed Apr 04, 2007 3:56 pm Reply with quote

Mat, that's a mythconception which would have fooled me.

There are certainly anglicised versions of some non-english names which are common in the US, aren't there? Where do we think they came from?

That said, I can't think of any off-hand.

 
Jenny
163090.  Wed Apr 04, 2007 7:49 pm Reply with quote

I have a story about an emigration-based name change. I heard it two years ago from my uncle, who was then aged 89 (since died). His great-grandfather was an immigrant to the UK from Poland, original name unknown, who arrived knowing no English apart from the address of the place where a friend had a job for him. When he was asked his name, he said the only English word he knew from the address, which was 'Manchester', and this was written down as his name. My maternal grandmother's family name was certainly Manchester, but other than that I have no evidence for it outside our family.

 
MatC
163154.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 4:48 am Reply with quote

eggshaped wrote:
Mat, that's a mythconception which would have fooled me.

There are certainly anglicised versions of some non-english names which are common in the US, aren't there? Where do we think they came from?
.


I think the idea is that many immigrants change their names to suit the tongues and mores of their new neighbours - but that they do it themselves, probably when they’ve been living there awhile, rather than having it done for them.

 
MatC
163155.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 4:55 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
I have a story about an emigration-based name change. I heard it two years ago from my uncle, who was then aged 89 (since died). His great-grandfather was an immigrant to the UK from Poland, original name unknown, who arrived knowing no English apart from the address of the place where a friend had a job for him. When he was asked his name, he said the only English word he knew from the address, which was 'Manchester', and this was written down as his name. My maternal grandmother's family name was certainly Manchester, but other than that I have no evidence for it outside our family.


That’s quite a common family legend, Jenny, and the consensus on it seems to be that it’s unlikely. The immigrant would have needed some sort of documentation, on which his real name would have been written; the immigration officer would surely have been suspicious of an obvious foreigner who spoke no English at all and yet claimed the surname “Manchester”; clearly, many immigrants, especially from countries with languages which are very difficult for Anglophones, changed their names, after arrival in the new country, to something more pronounceable and less distinctive (and perhaps, depending on current events, to something patriotic-sounding). The name of the town you live in would be a fairly obvious choice (easy for the kids to remember, apart from anything else!)

On the other hand, I prefer the legend, so I reckon your late uncle was spot on ...

 
Flash
163157.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:03 am Reply with quote

Mat's own family story is similar. When his ancestor, whose real name was Zbwgrfghqh, arrived at Lowestoft, the harbour-master pointed a paperclip at him in a slightly leery way as he was asking for him to spell that one more time, scaring Mat's progenitor so much that he ran away and hid behind a curtain. "I know what we'll call him," said the harbour-master - and so it has been, ever since.

 
MatC
163160.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:13 am Reply with quote

Complete nonsense, Flash; the internet has proved that my surname is actually an acronym:
Cock Of Walk And Righteous Dude

 
suze
163174.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 6:17 am Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
I think the idea is that many immigrants change their names to suit the tongues and mores of their new neighbours - but that they do it themselves, probably when they’ve been living there awhile, rather than having it done for them.


Yes. As those who read the outer boards will know far too well, my father's family moved to North America from Gdańsk/Danzig in the 30s and was ethnically Polish.

There was no forced change of name, but the change in spelling from -ski to -sky and the change from Polish pronunciation to English pronunciation came about because they suited the new neighbors. Although my grandmother continued to use the female (-ska) version until the day she died, my Scottish mother never did and neither did my sister or myself.

 
Jenny
163303.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:01 am Reply with quote

I have a Polish friend more or less my age who still uses the -ska ending, while her brother uses -ski. Their parents were immigrants from Poland before they were born, but they still have family in Poland. The name is Krzcezkowski/ska, which was great fun to learn to say when I first got to know them. Starts something like a sneeze.

 
Flash
163662.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:01 am Reply with quote

Jenny & Suze - I've been collating the stuff on the Coney Island elephant for the notes - could you just check from a North American's point of view, that this at least isn't obvious geographical nonsense:
Quote:

The 122-foot Elephantine Colossus, James Lafferty's 31-room elephant-shaped hotel in the Coney Island amusement park built in 1884 was, even after the Statue of Liberty went up in 1886, the first sight people arriving in New York would see. (Ships pass Coney Island before they approach Ellis and Liberty Islands.) It burned down in 1896 but its precursor, Lucy (actually a male; it has tusks, which is a male characteristic in the Asian elephant), still stands near Atlantic City NJ and is the largest elephant in the World. Lucy was created as the attention-getting centerpiece of 25-year-old James V. Lafferty's beach real estate venture. In 1882 the U.S. Patent Office granted him a patent (No. 268,503) giving him the exclusive right to make, use or sell animal-shaped buildings for seventeen years.

 
suze
163667.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:21 am Reply with quote

Looks good to me.

 
Flash
163669.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:27 am Reply with quote

Ta muchly.

 
Jenny
163670.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:32 am Reply with quote

According to my husband, who is looking at the New York/Newark NJ local map in the National Geographic Atlas of the World revised 6th edition, the tracks of ships entering Lower Bay (just outside The Narrows, where the Verrazano Bridge is) as shown on the map are within one mile of the point of land indicated as 20 on the map posted earlier in this thread by suze. If the elephant was more or less on that point of land, I think it's safe to say it could be seen from a ship, at least in reasonable weather. All of the land on the south side of Long Island is glacially deposited sand so we are supposing that immediately offshore there are shoal areas - ie ships wouldn't get any closer to the land than that.

 
Gray
163671.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:34 am Reply with quote

Apart from the tusks bit - female asian elephants do have tusks, just much more rudimentary ones. That would definitely have made Lucy a male.

Maybe a gag about the first sexually confused statue to be seen in America by incoming immigrants...

Where is the largest manacle in the world? (Elephant forfeit) It's on the Statue of Liberty's ankle. Symbolising 'breaking free' or some other tosh.

Zoo.org

 
Flash
163675.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:38 am Reply with quote

Thanks to all - amendments made accordingly.

 
Flash
164554.  Tue Apr 10, 2007 2:06 pm Reply with quote

Mitch he say:

Quote:
Why in 280 BC did the whole of Southern Italy find itself plunged into a panic because of the arrival of a new breed of ox?

They turned out to be elephants. The people of Tarentum, one of the last outposts of the Spartans in Italy, had asked king Pyrrhus of Greece to come and help them take on the all-conquering Romans. He landed on the coast of Lucania with 35,000 men and 20 elephants – the first to be seen in Italy. They caused a sensation. The Romans assumed they were very large cattle and they were known as Lucan oxen thereafter. Such was the psychological advantage that Pyrrhus won a narrow victory over the Romans but with such loss of life that he claimed another such ‘victory’ would cost him the war. Hence, ‘Pyrrhic victory’.

The first Western encounter with the war elephant was the battle of Hydapses, when Alexander the Great took on the 7 foot tall Indian king, Poros in 326BC. Alexander won a narrow victory and captured 80 elephants. Elephants quickly became an important part of military planning, operating much like the modern tank, They could attack infantry and cavalry, storm camps, help mount sieges and act as a shield against enemy fire. The psychological advantage they carried was often decisive.

The only downside of the elephant-as-tank was that they were unpredictable in battle, and unconcerned about who they were trampling to death. For that reason, the Romans used them sparingly and built a number of effective anti-elephant weapons. The most successful of these was the pig, whose squealing sent the elephants into panic. Pliny was unequivocal: ‘elephants are scared by the smallest squeal of a pig; and when wounded and frightened, they always give ground’. Often the pigs were doused in oil and set alight, just to make sure.

No one quite knows how Pyrrhus transported his 20 elephants across the Adriatic, but the most likely solution was giant rafts, floating on huge amphorae and disguised with sand and brushwood to look like farmyards so the beasts felt at home. Lucania is the instep of the Italian boot, today called Basilicata.

Pyrrhus made little headway in Italy, despite his elephants, and turned his attention to Sicily, Macedonia and the Greek mainland. Neither he nor his mercenaries were terribly popular and he was killed in a street battle in Argos in 272BC by an accurately aimed tile, thrown by a woman.

And before we dismiss the gullibility of the Romans who thought elephants were cows, it’s worth remembering that Europe and Asia were still home to the original wild oxen, called Aurochs (bos primigenius or Ur-ox) from whom all our modern cattle are descended. An aurochs bull stood some eight feet tall and was described by Julius Caesar in his account of the Gallic Wars as only slightly smaller than an elephant. The last recorded aurochs was killed in a Polish forest in 1627.

 

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