Peasant? and Village?

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Mon Apr 10 15:27:30 UTC 2006

My wife's hometown of Oak Park, IL, (old stomping grounds of
Ernest Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright) pointedly refers to
itself as a "village."  An upscale suburb of Chicago, it is
a separate, incorporated municipality.  Is "village" perhaps
a legal designation for certain kinds of towns in Illinois?


---- Original message ----
>Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2006 10:37:02 -0400
>From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>Subject: Re: Peasant?
>---------------------- Information from the mail header ----
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-
>Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>Subject:      Re: Peasant?
>At 8:09 AM -0400 4/10/06, Landau, James wrote:
>>...During this time the
>>>waltz was virtually unknown to the peasant dancers. The
>>Traveler is also known
>>>as The Essence of Old Virginia.
>>It is strange to see US rural people referred to
as "peasants".
>>The term "peasant" generally refers to a hereditary caste
of rural small
>>farmers in Europe.  There is no such caste in the US, the
closest thing
>>being "sharecroppers", who were a post-Civil War
development, being rare
>>to nonexistent around 1860 (MWCD10 gives the surprisingly
late date of
>>1923 for "sharecropper").
>Interesting.  The oddity of "peasants in the Connecticut
>valley" or "Arkansas peasants" is reminiscent of Bolinger's
>observation that there's something peculiar about "a
village in
>Kansas" as opposed to "a village in
>Burgundy/Saxony/Silesia/Lancaster/...".  Not totally
impossible, but
>a bit odd.  (Of course we have "Greenwich Village"
or "Stonington
>Village", or "(go into) the village" (for '(into) town'),
but how
>often do we have "a village" as such in North America?
Maybe we
>don't have peasants because we don't have villages...
>The American Dialect Society -

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