The Corner

We Are All Berliners

In a post earlier this morning, I happened to mention that there were Berlins in New Hampshire and Maine. Berliners, so to speak, have been writing in from other states: We have cities or towns of Berlin in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Georgia, North Dakota, and, of course, Wisconsin (which I believe is our most German state). Most of the letter-writers are saying, “Yes, we pronounce the name of the town BER-lin, to rhyme with ‘hurlin’,’ just as your New Hampshire acquaintance said” about the Berlin in his state. And many of these letter-writers are saying that the pronunciation changed during World War I — when we started chomping on “victory cabbage.” (Our patriotic euphemism for “sauerkraut,” the “freedom fries” of its day.) (I’m not criticizing: I loved calling French fries “freedom fries,” during those months, as an expression of disgust with Chirac, Villepin, et al. And I thought those who said that this was mere stupid chauvinism were weenies.) (“Weenies,” of course, comes from the German “Wiener.” And “chauvinism” — that’s about as French as you can get!)

“BER-lin” brings up the general subject of American pronunciations of European place-names. I’m not going to get too much into this — because we could be here all day, and we all know about Ver-sales, Kentucky, etc. — but I did learn a new one (on me), from a reader: Rio — pronounced “Rye-o” — Grande (pronounced “Grand,” of course), Ohio. I like it, a lot.

P.S. A friend of mine, who was then a pretty firm Democrat, had an idea for the 1992 campaign. She said that the Democratic nominee ought to make stops in the various “Clintons” in America — there are a great many.

P.P.S. Mention of Berlin, Georgia, and of World War I, has reminded me of something: that President Wilson’s first wife, the saintly Ellen, was from Rome, Georgia. The second Mrs. Wilson? Edith Bolling Galt had been married to a jeweler, there in D.C. They were prominent in the Washington business community (then much smaller, obviously, than it is today). My family of Washingtonians knew them. Okay, that’s enough veering about . . .

Most Popular

Economy & Business

Shopping Superstitions

It’s the boss-bossiest time of the year, when Americans getting ready to open up their wallets to buy Christmas presents are lectured by illiterate halfwits about where and how to spend their money. The usual demands: Buy local, or buy from small businesses. This is pure nonsense, and you should feel free to ... Read More
Economy & Business

Shopping Superstitions

It’s the boss-bossiest time of the year, when Americans getting ready to open up their wallets to buy Christmas presents are lectured by illiterate halfwits about where and how to spend their money. The usual demands: Buy local, or buy from small businesses. This is pure nonsense, and you should feel free to ... Read More
History

The 1620 Project

On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower arrived on the eastern coast of North America. She had weathered the slings and arrows of maritime misfortune for almost ten weeks at that point, but the passengers thought the discomfort of crossing a small price to pay for passage to the Promised Land. After all, these were ... Read More
History

The 1620 Project

On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower arrived on the eastern coast of North America. She had weathered the slings and arrows of maritime misfortune for almost ten weeks at that point, but the passengers thought the discomfort of crossing a small price to pay for passage to the Promised Land. After all, these were ... Read More
The Capital Note

Palantir’s Eye-Popping Rally

Welcome to the Capital Note, a newsletter about business, finance and economics. On the menu today: Palantir shares skyrocket, a giant of labor economics passes away, Slack in acquisition talks with Salesforce, and Yellen’s plans for Treasury-Fed cooperation. The Palantir Bump: Politics or Product? Palantir, ... Read More
The Capital Note

Palantir’s Eye-Popping Rally

Welcome to the Capital Note, a newsletter about business, finance and economics. On the menu today: Palantir shares skyrocket, a giant of labor economics passes away, Slack in acquisition talks with Salesforce, and Yellen’s plans for Treasury-Fed cooperation. The Palantir Bump: Politics or Product? Palantir, ... Read More
Media

Wajahat Ali, Ctd.

I gather he didn’t like my comment on his New York Times op-ed on the folly of reaching out to Trump supporters. He snipes, “I await The National Review’s piece on reaching out to Biden voters and reading about their ‘elegy’ and understanding their ‘economic anxiety.’” After the 2016 election, ... Read More
Media

Wajahat Ali, Ctd.

I gather he didn’t like my comment on his New York Times op-ed on the folly of reaching out to Trump supporters. He snipes, “I await The National Review’s piece on reaching out to Biden voters and reading about their ‘elegy’ and understanding their ‘economic anxiety.’” After the 2016 election, ... Read More
World

A Moveable Feast?

Last week a unique but apposite tribute was paid in Budapest to the late Sir Roger Scruton, the distinguished Tory philosopher who died earlier this year: A café was opened in his name. It goes under the designer label “Scruton—The Place to be” and is situated three blocks from the Hungarian Parliament at ... Read More
World

A Moveable Feast?

Last week a unique but apposite tribute was paid in Budapest to the late Sir Roger Scruton, the distinguished Tory philosopher who died earlier this year: A café was opened in his name. It goes under the designer label “Scruton—The Place to be” and is situated three blocks from the Hungarian Parliament at ... Read More