03 July 2008

[liff] Complaint Of The Day: A Certain South American Nation


We hear, back here at Sonnenurhhaus, that Presidential nominee John McCain is visiting a certain South American nation, apparently courting the all-important "not-actually-USAan-in-any-way" vote. But this isn't a merely forgettable post on modren politics – it's an even more forgettable post on spelling.

The trouble with the nation of Colombia is that it was inspired by the same thing ("Columbia" as a name for the "New" world) as the name of our mighty Columbia River (4th largest river in the US and largest North American river to drain to the Pacific, if anyone cares). Since they sound exactly the same (to the USAan English ear, anyway), we keep hearing about the LatAm nation of "Columbia" ... sadly, no such thing exists.

Anyhow, ever since McCain started showing up down there (Colombia is apparently a swing state now) we've seen reports all over the media, from sources both admired and loathed, of how he's visiting Columbia. If only, my friends, if only.

However, correct spelling in context being praiseworthy as a thing (and sometimes optional at the PTrib) we hereby present this mixed-media spelling guide, which may peforce be read:

This is the COLUMBIA. It is a river in the USA and Canada.


This is COLOMBIA. It is a nation in South America.

This is  AMY WINEHOUSE, a singer with significant personal problems. She has nothing do to whatsoever with COLOMBIA or COLUMBIA, and was included to see if you were following along.

So, one more time...

COLUMBIA, as in river (or maybe university):

COLOMBIA, as in largest-Spanish-speaking-country-in-the-world-after Mexico and Spain:

And of course, AMY WINEHOUSE.

This should hold y'all. Please tune in again when the media start over-referring to earthquakes as temblors. That gets me going too.

All images are hotlinked because I woke up on the bitter side of the bed today.

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stan said...

And if it hadn't been for the establishment of The Republic of Colombia in 1819, we might just be calling ourselves Columbians rather than Americans today....

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Nicely stated. That's true. Ironically, if I read the Waldseemueller Map correctly (that's the map that first held the word "America", named for Columbus's chief competitor at the time, Amerigo Vespucci), Then America was orignally applied to what we call South America today.

Latin American history is actually quite intriguing when you start to look it over. Bolivia once had a coastline, for example: it lost it to Chile in the War of the Pacific. There's still a Bolivian Navy; it runs small boats and patrols Lake Titicaca.