Rick Mc Callister rmccalli at sunmuw1.MUW.Edu
Wed Mar 28 21:19:31 UTC 2001

[ moderator edited ]

>        Hydronyms are more reliable than other "nyms", but even hydronyms
>can point in the wrong direction.  For example, most of the river names of
>Texas, for example Trinity, Brazos, Colorado, Pedernales, Llano, San Marcos,
>Blanco, Guadalupe, and San Antonio (not sure about Sabine, Neches, and
>Nueces), are Spanish.  What does this tell us, that the original inhabitants
>of Texas were Spanish speaking, as opposed to the rest of North America,
>where Amerindian names are more usual?  Not really.  The Spanish were just
>more willing to give new (often religious) names to rivers.  It's up to the
>people in charge, and they can do as they please, regardless of our
>retrospective need for solid principles and firm expectations.

>Dr. David L. White

	Sabine is probably from Mexican Spanish sabino "type of pine
tree/conifer" but possibly from French sapin "fir, spruce (or the like)"
--it's in the heart of the piney woods. Sabino also exists as a first name
among Mexicans, so it could be from that.
	Nueces is "nuts". If you walk down Nueces St. in Austin in the
Fall, you'll notice peopling gathering pecans from all the trees planted in
honor of the name
	Neches does not seem to be Spanish AFAIK--although in Tejano slang
it means "nothing, no way!" e.g. Tejano <<No truje neches.>> for standard
Spanish <<No traje absolutamente nada.>>

Rick Mc Callister
Mississippi University for Women
Columbus MS 39701

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