Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Continuing Saga Of English As A Second Language

Hose clamp (American English)=Jubilee clip (English English). I asked the helpful Polish clerk (pronounced "clark") at our local DIY for a hose clamp, who kicked it over to one of the English staffers, who assured me that I wanted a jubilee clip.

The handy English2American dictionary does not note this term. If you Google jubilee clip, the first page is hits from UK sites, so you get an idea of the common users of this term. Going to http://www.jubileeclips.co.uk takes you to the web site of L. Robinson Co., which tells you that Jubilee is a registered trademark of that company (so the term is used much like Kleenex or Xerox), with the happy note
Remember: not all hose clips are JubileeĀ® Clips, but all JubileeĀ® Clips are manufactured to exacting standards and delivered with exceptional service - because we believe looking after our customers today, looks after our business for tomorrow

(Memo to the L. Robinson Co.: It's just a few pence worth of metal.)

Not to make so much of a mundane event, but I began to wonder at the name. Quite often, if something here bears the name of "jubilee," it usually is done in a year that commemorates a certain important anniversary in a king's or queen's reign. So what possessed the head of the L. Robinson Co., in 2002 (probably not), or in 1977 (probably not either), or in 1897 (more likely) to decide that to honor the queen he would name after her this little bit of metal that's frequently used to make sure sewage goes in the right direction?

Inquiring minds want to know.



Blogger Middle Kid said...

Don't forget Zipper and Aspirin, which were both product names before they were incorporated into the English language.

9:54 PM  

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