MENTION was made this week of the number of Crimean places names in Australia, particularly central Victoria.
Events in the Ukraine of the past few days have opened some people’s eyes about the lost or forgotten origins of our own place names.
It’s all because of the mid-19th century Crimean War when the colonies were fiercely loyal to the mother country.
Sebastopol, of course, is known in most Australian states as the name of towns and streets.
We have Crimea, but here’s a few you might recognise as being a bit closer to home. Many are the names of British or allied generals or heroes of Crimean battles.
Yea, Raglan, Inkermann, Alma, Balaklava, (or Balaclava), Malakhov, Odessa, Cardigan.
But here’s one DTM was surprised about – St Arnaud.
Apparently it was the name of a French general, Jacques Leroy de Saint Arnaud.
We doubt he pronounced it as we do: “Snar nud.” It would have been “Saint Arrr Noo.”
Gardens get closer
Ah, the world gets smaller every day… but.
One of the splendid walking signs around Lake Weeroona appears to announce that the equally splendid Botanic Gardens are just “3cm” away.
DTM has been accused before of being an “etymological determinist”.
After we looked it up, we found it’s probably right. It means we find inspiration and meaning in the origins of words.
Here’s today's: Spirit.
From the 13th century Old French (the French again … quelle surprise!) espirit, meaning the breath or untouchable essence of something, so we therefore get words such as “inspiration”.
Which, given this weekend’s WNBL grand final, is just about right.
On the other hand, sadly “madison” is possibly derived from an early American name for “son of Maddy”. Maddy was a nickname for women named Maude.
Having watched riders do 100 laps of the Tom Flood velodrome at bewildering speeds, perhaps the name is apt.
They are the sons of maddies.
It sounds right...
Newspaper folk have it drummed into them to use all efforts to make sure they don’t get their worms dixed.
But here’s a little exercise showing how difficult this can be when we rely more and more on technology.
My Spell Chequer
Eye halve a spelling chequer.
It came with my pea sea.
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.