Key Term Seven – Nomenclature

 

Nomenclature – a set or system of names or terms, as those used in a particular science or art, or by an individual or community.

 

The nomenclature of New York City is both romantic and excluding. It is part of the reason New York can simultaneously hug you and punch you in the face, because of the way it can help you to communicate, and keep you from the conversation. Similar to jargon, nomenclature is an aspect of everyday taxonomy, because we distinguish the objects of our experiences with things we identify, classify, and name. Because nomenclature is a system of words used in a particular discipline, it is a way to help us map out New York City in our minds. This, in a way, helps us to mirror and represent the objects of our experience (or name them).

What struck me most about nomenclature was the significance and the permanence of the phenomenon. Different than a nickname, nomenclature is literally naming something, in a fashion to Adam holding up an animal and naming it for the first time. How does this apply to New York? There are so many things we just assume to have a legitimate origin, but we never question how it came to be. Why do we call the sky-high familiar building the “Empire State Building?” Historians do still not agree upon the source of the term “Empire State”. It’s been attributed to the state’s wealth and resources, but even this answer does not come without doubt. George Washington is rumored to have called New York City the “Pathway to Empire” once, but there is no documentation of this conversation. Another historian claims that the title was first used in 1819, because New York finally surpassed Virginia in population. Still others believe that it was named because of the success of New York’s first merchants. However, the true origin has yet to be found, leaving a gap in the nomenclature of New York. Still, I think that’s rather beautiful, that there are parts of the city that cannot be pinned down in a book. We call it the “Empire State Building” because during its opening in 1931, it was the world’s largest building, but no one is totally sure of where the name was first coined. The 1940 book Guide to the Empire State put it best when they solemnly stated, “It would gratify the people of New York if they could discover who first dared that spacious adjective”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

New York City America's True Melting Pot

A topnotch WordPress.com site

rashidiqra

New York-The City That Never Sleeps

Stephen Jay D

New York: where have we been

Ephemeral New York

Chronicling an ever-changing city through faded and forgotten artifacts

Yanel Escobar

Writing New York

Amanda Nicole

Writing New York

ISP ENG 201 READING AND WRITING NEW YORK

John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY

Paulotics___NYC

"Practically everybody in New York has half a mind to write a book — and does." Groucho Marx

the blogger speaks

Explore NYC Through My Eyes

Liberty and Annachy

"As soon as liberty is complete it dies in anarchy" - Will Durant

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: