Sunday, March 16, 2014

Lake Names: First or Last?

The weird things I think about when I'm lying awake in bed. I'm not sure why but I got to wondering this morning why some lakes have their name first, and some have it last. Probably got started on it yesterday when I read a news item about Trinity Lake where the writer referred to it as Lake Trinity. 

What? It's Trinity Lake, as it is Shasta Lake, but we also have Lake Mendocino and Lake Michigan. Who decides what comes first?

I ended up doing a web search and haven't found a definitive answer. This Yahoo page has a couple suggestions. One fellow says it has to do with how the lake was originally named, although he specifies " some cases". For instance, the French and Spanish put the adjective after the noun. That would make some sense.

Another guy says it depends on the size of the lake. If it's a large lake the name comes first. I was thinking something along that line but all the Great Lakes have Lake coming first, so that's certainly not a rule.

I like the last answer: Whatever sounds good to the people who name the lake.

Any other ideas out there?


At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trinity Lake.....anyone remember when it was called Clair Engle Lake? Bonus points for those who know who Clair Engle was.

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Yep. I remember it being Clair Engle but don't remember when they changed the name. I probably used to know who the name belonged to, but have long since forgotten.

At 10:42 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Maybe I didn't know who Clair Engle was. His wikipedia entry draws a blank.

At 10:42 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clair Engle was a State Senator from that area and helped to get the dam built that created the lake. The locals never liked that it was re-named Clair Engel Lake as it was originally called Trinity Lake but changed to honor him when he died. During the time it was Engel Lake people still referred to it as Trinity. I believe it was officially changed back to Trinity Lake around 1988. (Next history lesson--who was Thomas H. Kuchel.)

At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a similar question: Why do some countries have the word "the" in front of their names and some don't? This came up recently in the coverage of the situation in the Crimea. At least I always remembered it being called "the Crimea." And sometimes Ukraine was referred to as "the Ukraine." But now they are both just referred to as "Crimea" and "Ukraine," at least from the news coverage I've seen.

We don't use "the" for most countries, though I think there are still a few countries that use "the" as part of their proper name, for example "The Gambia."

Then there are others like "the Phillipines," "the United Arab Emirates," and "the Maldives" and, of course, "the United States of America," where the use of "the" is customary. Those are all plural, so I was starting to think maybe that was the rule, but then again what about "the United Kingdom?" Kingdom is singular...

My guess is it's just customary, and if we were used to hearing "the Canada" it wouldn't sound strange to us.


Post a Comment

<< Home