naming of seas

David Barnhart dbarnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM
Tue Apr 29 17:40:31 UTC 2014

The Aral Sea presents an interesting onomastic phenomenon-changing names.

In the 1960's when studying geography at Syracuse, I was required to pick a
region to focus upon.  I picked the Soviet Union.  Even then people were
talking about the demise of the Aral Sea.  Its changes have necessitated the
renaming of what was once a single body of water into, at first, the "North
Aral Sea" (or the "Lesser Aral Sea") and the "South Aral Sea" (or the
"Greater Aral Sea").   The South Aral Sea eventually became designated by a
"West Basin" and "East Basin."  Subsequent shrinkage has created the
AralKum-a dry area formerly sea bottom.

As projects to restore the Aral Sea may see the disappearance of the
necessity of designating a West and East Basin and perhaps of the North and
South Aral Seas.

Such is the yo-yo effect of politicians upon the environment when the bottom
line (in this case the desire to create a cotton industry at the expense of
a fishing industry).


barnhart at

The American Dialect Society -

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