Sometimes I find myself leaping from topic to topic with the agility of a mountain goat (I’m talking about the ‘I’ in my head of course… while my body gamely struggles to keep up)…
While I was penning my recent post about the VaultIC100 chip/module from INSIDE Secure, I mentioned “Honest John’s Printer Emporium” (you can almost imagine some smaller text on the sign outside saying something like “Purveyors of fine print supplies to the aristocracy since 1643”).
A little later I needed a generic name for someone why tried to sell me a watch in Hong Kong, so I had a quick Google (don’t worry, no one was looking) and discovered that “Wang Tao” is very common in Chinese.
So then I started thinking about very generic names like “John Smith” in English. I don’t know why, but it would be great to see a list showing the equivalent in all of the other major languages (I just find this sort of stuff to be interesting).
Or what about the name "John Doe" (also “Jane Doe" and “Baby Doe”), which is used as a placeholder name for a male party or corpse whose true identity is unknown or must be withheld for legal reasons? What would be the equivalent for this in other languages?
But wait, there’s more, because then I started thinking about the way in which soldiers from other countries would call British soldiers “Tommies”. The precise origin of this use of “Tommy” is a subject of debate, but it is known to have been used as early as 1743. When reading Terry Pratchett’s book Johnny and the Dead a few years ago, I discovered that “Tommy Atkins” was the example name they put on British Army registration forms during World War 1.
Of course this made me start thinking about names for soldiers from other countries, like calling the German’s “Krauts” and the Americans “Yanks” (amongst other things [grin]).
So I had another Google (it’s been a long day) and I found an interesting entry in the Wikipedia titled Alternative names for the British. These include Anggrit, Angrej, Angrez, Ang Moh, Britisher, Firang, Ingraj, Khaki, Limey, Pommy (or Pom), Rooinek, Rosbeef, Rosbif, Sais, Sassenach, Sayip, Soutie…
Good grief – I had no idea that we were so loved and popular (grin).