The Broncks', the borough of my childhood, fades away

James Harbeck jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA
Thu Dec 6 02:21:20 UTC 2007

>The NYC street I live on is widely known as "the Bowery", but the
>official street name is just "Bowery".

In Toronto we have Danforth Avenue, typically called "Danforth", but
also often called "the Danforth" -- but "the Danforth" can also refer
to the entire neighbourhood around it, several blocks on either side.

Meanwhile, the city of Oshawa, east of Toronto, a blue-collar town,
is often referred to -- usually disapragingly -- as "the Shwa" (or, I
suppose, sometimes, "the Schwa").

I'm used to "the" in a place name denoting a region, usually not as
sharply defined as a country or civic unit would be, or else a
nickname for a civic unit. But of course there are also places that
are officially "the." Aside from those already mentioned, there's The
Pas, in Manitoba, for instance. And -- wait, this just in -- it turns
out I live on one of them. Yes, my address is on The Esplanade. Gotta
tell ya, that's always a little nuisance giving over the phone to
people who are going to mail me stuff.

James Harbeck.

The American Dialect Society -

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