City Names (initialism division)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Dec 2 19:34:13 UTC 1999

>"Peter A. McGraw" wrote:
>> --On Sat, Dec 2, 2000 10:16 PM +0000 Joseph McCollum <prez234 at JUNO.COM>
>> wrote:
>> > In the sports pages, it's usually "Cincy," "Indy" (not "Indie,")
>> > "Philly," and "Frisco."
>> There's a difference here.  I don't know about "Indy," but "Philly" and, as
>> far as I know, "Cincy" are affectionate nicknames used by the locals for
>> their respective Fair Cities, whereas "Frisco" is used by ignorant
>> outsiders and disdained by native San Franciscans (one of whom explained to
>> me once that "it's like something someone from Los Angeles would say").
>> The only comparable phenomenon I'm personally aware of involves a state
>> rather than a city: only New  Yorkers call New Jersey "Jersey.")
>Peter has spoken the truth, natives don't call it Frisco.  Sometimes you hear
>San Fran, on the Peninsula, though, you hear "The City" (which is the moniker
>for many major cities in their surrounding areas).

And let's not forget L.A., used by Angelenos and non- alike.  For some
reason, though, this particular species of familiarity-induced reduction
(for city and state names) is rarer than most; other possible initialisms
(N.Y., S.F., S.D. (San Diego or South Dakota), N.H. (for New Hampshire or
New Haven), etc. don't occur in speech except as subparts of longer
initialisms (e.g. NYPD) although they're quite frequent in writing (for
example, in reporting sports scores).  I have no idea why this should be,
since initialisms for other locally-familiar or referents are quite
common--for countries (U.S., U.S.S.R.), colleges (UCLA, O.S.U., L.S.U.),
people (JFK, LBJ, MJ), and other categories.  KC for Kansas City is
frequently heard, although I have no idea whether it's heard THERE.


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