Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Nov 8 18:24:19 UTC 2007

"Train station" is punishment for "early on."

Perhaps because of my age and the fact that "running on the 'road" and
postal work were the primary "white-collar" jobs for black men, back
in the day, "railway station," like "railway" itself, sounds perfectly
American to me, regardless of the history of these terms in American
big business, in which, at the time, no black Americans participated.

FWIW, the Texas Eagle, having replaced the Sunshine Special during the
'Forties, predates Amtrak. Both of these trains ran from Sa'nt Louis
to San Antone and back, passing through Marshall, TX, on the way.
Until Jay Gould merged the two railways - just kidding! - railroads,
Marshall, once the fourth-largest city in Texas, was the railhead of
the Texas & Pacific, the subject of a jump blues entitled, "The T&P."


On 11/8/07, Lynne Murphy <m.l.murphy at sussex.ac.uk> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Lynne Murphy <m.l.murphy at SUSSEX.AC.UK>
> Subject:      Re: "Railway"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> One of the things that gives away AmE speakers in Britain (not that there
> aren't a lot of things that give us away), is the use of 'train station'
> rather than 'railway station', which is what's said in BrE.  The increased
> use of 'train station' in BrE is one of those things (one of those many,
> many, many things) that some (particularly older) BrE speakers like to
> complain about to me.
> OT: Wilson's mention of the Texas Eagle (Amtrak line) reminds me of a story
> from when I lived in TX.  Some Texans wrote to then-VP Al Gore urging him
> to save the Texas Eagle.  They received back a letter assuring them that
> the VP was committed to the conservation of endangered birds. There's a
> version of this here:  <http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a39bffd2a2ac2.htm>
> Lynne
> --On 07 November 2007 16:01 -0500 Jesse Sheidlower <jester at PANIX.COM> wrote:
> > On Wed, Nov 07, 2007 at 12:45:46PM -0500, Wilson Gray wrote:
> >> Jesse Sheidlower writes:
> >>
> >> ' ... [P]erhaps even the use of "railway" is odd for an American source."
> >>
> >> FWIW, "railway" sounds okay to me. It actually appears to be used
> >> interchangeably. E.g., the Texas & Pacific Railway (the "T&P") is a
> >> unit of the Missouri-Pacific Railroad (the "MoPac"). My father once
> >> "ran on the road" on the Sunshine Special, a MoPac-T&P train
> >> celebrated in a blues by Blind Lemon Jefferson.
> >
> > Both _railway_ and _railroad_ are in use in Britain and
> > America, but there's a distinct preference for the former in
> > the former and the latter in the latter. Ben Zimmer ran some
> > numbers in the Oxford Corpus demonstrating this connection
> > clearly. I think this is an interesting pair to compare,
> > because it's not the sort of binary thing where the forms are
> > totally different (e.g. _windscreen_ and _boot_ are almost
> > exclusively British, and _windshield_ and _trunk_ almost
> > exclusively American), but there's more of a flow. Yet within
> > this flow, the pattern is pretty clear.
> >
> > Also, it seems to be the case that in America _railway_ is
> > limited to reference to railway companies, as in your
> > examples, whereas in Britain it's used more broadly.
> >
> > Jesse Sheidlower
> > OED
> Dr M Lynne Murphy
> Senior Lecturer in Linguistics and English Language
> Arts B135
> University of Sussex
> Brighton BN1 9QN
> phone: +44-(0)1273-678844
> http://separatedbyacommonlanguage.blogspot.com
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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