vegetable terms

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Fri May 14 19:30:36 UTC 2010

In the American South, we commonly refer to green/string beans as "snap beans" or "pole beans" (not parallel or distinguishing terms; "snap" refers to the manner of preparation for cooking; "pole" refers to the procedure for raising beans in the garden).

It's my impression that the term "Englilsh pea" is becoming less common, with simply "pea" mainly serving the purpose--even in the South, where (green) English peas are not necessarily the default kind of peas. In the olden days, at least, "peas" alone would probaby have signified (brownish) blackeyed peas or field peas.

And recently at a restaurant, my wife having just ordered a sweet potato, I aimed for maximum lucidity by specifying that I wanted an "Irish potato." The server had no idea what I was talking about; my wife helpfully translated my quaint terminology as "baked potato" (even though her sweet potato was also to be baked).


---- Original message ----
>Date: Fri, 14 May 2010 20:03:15 +0100
>From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> (on behalf of Robin Hamilton <robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM>)>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Eoin C. Bairéad wrote:
>> Note that New York Times house style is not the same as standard American
>> English.  For example, the Times uses "string beans" while "green beans"
>> seems to be displacing that term.  "String beans" is standard in NYC.
>> --
>> Dan Goodman
>I always assumed this was a US/UK distinction, Dylan sounding quite exotic
>to my Scottish ear when in the sixties he sang, "Give me a string bean, I'm
>a hungry man" -- somehow, "Give me a green bean" doesn't have quite the same
>Same vegetable, but.
>            Robin

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