January 12, 2005

It's All in the Translation

I've been emailing with AmbivaBlog about the beauty or lack of it of certain words (e.g. "blog"), and mentioned that many of my favorite words are place names, such as Manhattan and Chicago. She rejoined that Chicago means “skunk cabbage.” I always thought it means “wild onions.” Evidently both of those phrases were translated from the same Algonquian word. (Webster’s New World College Dictionary gives “place of the wild onions.”)

BTW, I welcome ambivablog to my blogroll (see sidebar), and another new entry, Butterflies and Wheels, a British philosophy metablog that opposes the “fashionable nonsense” of epistemic relativism, Intelligent Design theory, and other things it considers pseudoscience. The site’s two editors consider themselves leftists but are troubled by the left’s willingness “to subjugate the rational assessment of truth-claims to the demands of a variety of pre-existing political and moral frameworks.” They seek to “defend the left from a trendy segment of itself.” Right on!