FYI: "Hot Dog" in Boston Herald ("1900, at a polo game")

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Mon Aug 22 04:13:44 UTC 2005

>Maybe Gerald Cohen can write in. A baseball game at the Polo Grounds (the
>TAD cartoon in 1906 was of a 6-day bicycle race at Madison Square Garden)
>becomes a polo game? This never ends. This is the 21st Century, so no one
>can possibly check. ...

>** How did the hot dog get its name?
>There are several theories. It's like trying to find out where Jimmy
>Hoffa's buried. The story goes that in the 1900s there was a cartoonist
>from the New York Journal who saw these things called ``red hot
>dachshunds'' being sold at a polo game. He wanted to make a cartoon out of
>it but he couldn't spell ``dachshunds,'' so he called them ``red hot
>dogs.'' But there is evidence that they were referred to as ``hot dogs''
>in Germany 100 years before that. All we know is that somehow, somewhere,
>it's connected to Germans and their dachshunds.

This seems to be an interview with a certain Mr. Monkiewicz, a honcho at a
food company, right? The reporter has elicited his opinion on the origin of
"hot dog". He has repeated a garbled version of some story he heard. Why
would one expect anything better? Why would one expect a food company
executive to have any expertise or reliability in philology anyway? Nobody,
really -- probably (on some reflection) not even the correspondent (Nicola
Hassapis, apparently 17 years old). So why ask him? Well, it's just casual
chit-chat, right? Something to fill space in the paper? Suppose that in a
spasm of zeal the correspondent were to try to authenticate Mr. M.'s
notion: what could be done? If one phoned (say) the office of the chairman
of the linguistics department at a local university would one necessarily
make any progress?

I was informed about 25 years ago by a highly respected senior university
professor (at a cocktail party) that Japanese "arigatou" (= "thank you")
was an adoption from Portuguese ("obrigado"). Another one of those stories.

-- Doug Wilson

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