Lego vs. Legos: Americanism? Regionalism?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jul 31 18:23:29 UTC 2007

At 10:39 AM -0400 7/31/07, Beverly Flanigan wrote:
>At 10:28 AM 7/31/2007, you wrote:
>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
>>Subject:      Re: Lego vs. Legos: Americanism? Regionalism?
>>On Jul 30, 2007, at 6:46 PM, Larry Horn wrote:
>>>  At 9:23 PM -0400 7/30/07, Alice Faber wrote:
>>>>  I was Lego-age in the 50's, and I don't recall having Legos alongside
>>>>  the Lincoln logs that I do remember fondly. But my cousins, who are
>>>>  about 5 years younger than I am, did have Legos. So I would guess
>>>>  that
>>>>  they became widespread in the early 60s. And, indeed, Google turns up
>>>>  the following page
>>>>  <>, which
>>>>  says that
>>>>  Legos were introduced to the US in 1962, though they were around
>>>>  earlier
>>>>  in Denmark.
>>>  Hmmm.  That's consistent with my (non-)memory of Legos in the 1950's,
>>>  but not with Arnold's distinct memory of having played with them
>>>  "well over 50 years ago".  Maybe Arnold's set was smuggled in from
>>>  Europe, hidden between those copies of Lady Chatterley and Ulysses?
>>maybe my memory is just wrong.  i might have projected the Legos back
>>from my daughter's childhood to my own.  i don't recall any time when
>>Legos were "new", so i might have re-worked my memory in such a way
>>that they were always there.  that sort of thing happens a lot.  (as
>>you all know, i am repeatedly distrustful of reports about linguistic
>>usages from the past, when there's no documentation.  everybody's
>>memories -- my own included -- about such things are notoriously
>>undependable, and people can be absolutely certain of memories that
>>are in fact significantly flawed.)
>>arnold the unmemorious

Well, at least this way Borges would be able to tell you from
Funes--even blindfolded.

>>The American Dialect Society -
>But we DO remember Erector sets and Lincoln Logs, right, Arnold?!  Not to
>mention plain old wooden blocks.
Yup, I remember all those too--we had those even in NYC.  And Lionel
trains, and those potentially lethal Gilbert chemistry sets.


The American Dialect Society -

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