Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Mon Apr 10 22:25:13 UTC 2006

On Apr 10, 2006, at 12:19 PM, Michael McKernan wrote:

> Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
> ...
>> i looked up Perry because i have a friend who lives on a farm outside
>> it and owns a bookstore in town (as they say).   she does talk about
>> going "(in)to town" or "to the village", but when asked where her
>> bookstore is, she tells people it's "in a little town south of
>> Rochester", not "in a little village".
> I beg to differ.  People in Vermont, and I suppose elsewhere,
> regularly use
> the term 'village.'  It means a (relatively small) population
> center, or
> developed area.  Here, 'town' is a geo-political area, sometimes as
> large
> as 80 square miles or so, incorporated with a charter from the
> State of
> Vermont.  While people do also say things like 'I'm going to
> town...', they
> are just as likely to say 'I'm going down to the village...' where
> there
> might be a few stores, a post office, a school.

yes.  notice that i reported this usage -- "to the village" -- from
my friend in Perry (and i myself used "to the village" in referring
to trips to the central area of Amherst, Mass., when i lived in the
area).  and there are "village greens" in lots of places (including
Worthington, Ohio, not far from where i lived in Columbus).  what's
at issue is characterizing a locality as "a village" (outside of
discussions of jurisdictional labels), as in "Kim grew up in a
village in Vermont".  this is what struck Bolinger as odd, and still
strikes Larry Horn and me as odd.

but there may well be regional variation, in this as in so many other
things, as McKernan reports here:

> ... Contrary to Arnold's assertion, ordinary people here in Vermont
> quite often say they live 'in a village' (particulary when it's
> true!) or that they live near a village, etc.

what gave me pause about this was the parenthetical "particularly
when it's true!", which looks to me like a reference to the
administrative label, not to the ordinary-language "village" 'small
group of dwellings in a rural area'.


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