Mon Apr 10 19:31:12 UTC 2006

        I sometimes call the small community where I grew up in southern
Kentucky a village.  My father occasionally referred to it as a hamlet;
I understand hamlet to describe a place that is not as large and grand
as a village, which would make it an accurate appellation in this

        As far as the legal terms are concerned, that varies from state
to state, with some states recognizing "village" as a category and
others not.  It does not always refer to a small place.  The Village of
Hoffman Estates, in Illinois, had a population of 49,495 in the 2000
census, and I believe there are larger villages in Illinois.

        Although we have villages in America, we don't have peasants.
Some years ago, I heard the possibly apocryphal story of a French
intellectual who complained that Norman Rockwell's paintings are
unrealistic:  "Where are the peasants?"  In French terms, I suppose that
they're right there in the paintings, since Rockwell's subjects were
indeed small farmers and their social equals.

John Baker

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list