Saturday, March 6, 2010

Holy Crape!

Is it 'crape myrtle' or 'crepe myrtle'?

I've been waffling back and forth.

At first I wrote 'crepe myrtle', because that's how I thought of the trees. The flowers look like crepe paper.

But down here in the Southern US (aka the 'Deep South'), every tag on a 'myrtle' at the garden center says 'crape'.

I tend to write what I'm feeling. If I'm feeling like 'crape' that's what I write. If I'm feeling French, I write 'crepe'. Zut alors!

If you Google the subject, you find arguments for both. Both are correct, depending on where you live.

I have the 'Muskogee' variety. It's hard to find a tree that flowers and does well in the strong North Carolina sun and strong wind that my property constantly receives.

I really hope mine flowers more profusely this year. Last year it only had a couple of flowering panicles.

But the real reason I wrote this, is because I just love words. Since moving from Canada, I've found that people here in the States use different words for what I'm referring to. Not saying they're wrong, just different. And interesting.

Canadians say 'Grade 3'. Americans say '3rd Grade'.

North Carolinians call a winter hat a 'toboggan' or a 'beanie'. To me, a toboggan is a sled. A beanie is a hat with a propellor on it. I call a winter hat a 'toque' (rhymes with 'fluke'). French-Canadian. Short and sweet :)

Americans say 'couch'. Canadians call it a 'chesterfield'.

What is 'Canadian Bacon' to Canadians? It's 'ham', people!

And if you haven't experienced the French-Canadian delicacy that is 'poutine', I feel sorry for you. It's both delicious and heart-attack inducing. It should come with defibrillator paddles.

Fries, cheese curd, and gravy. Oh HELLS yeah.

My favourite of all? Americans say 'tuna fish sandwich'. Which is delicious. I have nothing against a tuna fish sandwich. Except...

Why call it tuna fish? Why not just 'tuna sandwich'? We all know it's fish. Nobody eats a 'tuna horse sandwich'. Do they? :D

I sure hope not. That would be messy. And probably not as appetizing.

So come you say 'crepe myrtle' or 'crape myrtle'? Bet it depends on if you live in the Southern US or not!




Bernie said...

Here in Oz it's 'Crepe' ... seems strange to us spelling it with an a-e! But as you say everyone's different.
When we use the word 'thongs' downunder, others get the very strange idea we're talking about personal undergarments ... uh uh! ... we're talking about rubber sandals for your feet - in the UK they're called flip-flops and in NZ they're called jandals! Words are indeed fascinating.

Kyna said...

I have a feeling that most people would spell it 'crepe'. It's just a quirk of the Southern US...

I forgot about 'thong'! In Canada, we call those shoes thongs as well. Well, in my part of Canada anyway LOL.

Bernie said...

Well ... it makes a change having someone else overseas know what I mean when I say 'thong'! Canadians are so sensible!

Kyna said...

I guess! We've been called worse ;)

Jayne said...

I write it as Crepe Myrtle, but what do I know? I'm a transplanted Brit!

Floridagirl said...

Ooh, I do love my crApes! They are wonderful trees. I am a spelling fiend, and in my youth, I sometimes spelled it crepe. However, I've read an obscene amount of garden material over the past two decades, and I always see it spelled crape, so I've adapted. Anyway, the Crape Myrtle Society spells it that way as well. Do you actually see this grown outside of the South? I thought Zone 7 was the limit.

Just for the record, I've worn toboggans a whole lot more than usual this winter. Detroit-bred hubby doesn't get it either. He claims a toboggan's a sled as well. (But in Detroit, they're practically Canadians anyway.) I grew up having never laid eyes on a sled or a hockey stick!

Oh, and we saw those crazy fries at a Burger King when driving through Alberta a few years ago. LOL! It was so weird!

Helen at summerhouse said...

Yes out here on the west coast of Canada thongs are flip flops. But I do say couch,or sofa, haven't said chesterfield for years, that brought back memories. I lived in Edmonton myself once, way too cold! Love that photo of the horse in the snorkeling gear!

ChickenFreak said...

I prefer crepe. I like the crepe paper image.

Hmmm. It is indeed "tuna fish" sandwich, and the stuff in the can is "tuna fish". But the casserole is "tuna noodle casserole". Actually, sometimes the sandwich is "tuna salad sandwich". It's never "tuna fish salad sandwich."

Maybe Americans just demand two words before the final noun. (Or implied noun, for the can.) Tuna fish, tuna salad, tuna noodle. Tuna just doesn't like to travel alone?

GardenJoy4Me said...

Kyna how true is this about what and how we say things compared to our southern neighbors ??
Like "pop" and "soda" Son's American girlfriend has actually fallen in with the RIGHT crowd and says POP : ) Cool right ? We won one over at least ?
It is funny .. but I don't know how many times Europeans sort of lumped us in with Americans while we lived in the Netherlands .. although some absolutely KNEW we were different and that made up for it all : ) LOL
I always have a giggle when I read your posts girl, thanks !
Joy : )

Kyna said...

Jayne: I haven't decided which way I want to say it...I didn't even know what a crape myrtle was until I moved here 4 years ago! lol

FG: Well, in the States, when I say 'South' I usually mean the 'Deep South' of the Southeastern US. I'm sorry, I don't clarify myself very well lol. They're grown in different parts of the world though, so I was wondering what other people said.
I guess that's what Latin names are for, I should just call it 'Lagerstroemia'. After I wrote this, I thought that the first person to comment would remind me of this lol. But considering I had to cut and paste that to remember how to spell it...maybe I won't lol!
You drove through Burger King in Alberta and didn't try the poutine? O_O You missed out! It's not authentic like you get in Quebec, but still delicious :D

Helen: Yeah, even in Canada there are differences between what words people use for things. I was generalizing, because I have this argument with my co-workers a lot (in fun of course:) ) I have to say 'flip-flops' here or people look at me like I'm crazy lol. I guess I say chesterfield because that's what my family called it :D Edmonton may be cold, but it was awesome and I miss the heck out if it! :)

Chicken: But no one says 'salmon fish sandwich', and that comes in a can. Wait, chicken comes in a can too! I'm going to start saying 'chicken bird sandwich' or a 'ham pig sandwich' LOL! Like I said, I love words. I love the craziness that is the English language :)

Joy: I forgot about 'pop' and 'soda'! I still call it pop unless I'm at a restaurant, and then I have to say soda or no one knows what I'm talking about. If I said 'I'd like a pop,' someone might just punch me in the eye ;) I love being Canadian and living here. People treat me like some sort of exotic animal...LOL

Kyna said...

Joy, your post reminded me of that old Molson Canadian commercial, so I edited and posted it :D

Edith Hope said...

Dear Kyna, Since starting a weblog and coming into contact with so many people across the globe, I have found it necessary to learn a completely new vocabulary. You point to differences between Canadian and American, spare a thought for the confusion which arises this side of the Atlantic.

I have yet to come to terms with the fact that a 'yard' is not always a measurement [now somewhat outdated in Britain where, in recent years, we have 'gone metric'].

Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

Kyna, I love the different meanings for words as well. I gave the girls a giggle at Harrods in London, when I asked them what they thought of my new pants. In England, pants are mens underwear, I was supposed to say trousers.

Kyna said...

I'm pretty good with British words for things. I grew up with a lot of British television in Canada. But sometimes one will catch me unaware, and I'll have to Google it :D I know my husband loves to say 'bacon butty' LOL
I think the only place that's stayed staunchly with 'yard', and 'foot', and 'inch' is the US. It took me awhile to get used to. And learning Farenheit temperatures took me forever! I still have to think about the conversion to Celsius in my head...

Kyna said...

Deb: Haha! I forgot about that one. That's pretty funny! :D

Ceara said...

Yum poutine!

Kyna said...

I have a witness! lol I bet you can get the real stuff, Ceara. :D The rest of Canada just does a pale (yet still delicious!) imitation of poutine lol

Jan (Thanks For Today) said...

I've always spelled it Crepe, and still do. I used to live in an apartment on Crepe Myrtle Walk, in Newport News, Virginia. (The street name has now been changed to something totally unrelated, some 20 yrs later) but that's how I'll always remember it. Our street was lined w/Crepe Myrtles.

Sunny said...

Toboggan is still a sled to me as well....thanks for the word meaning when I go visit Canada I won't be clueless

Meredith said...

Ugh... I hate poutine! I never could get to like it, even after many tries. The squeaky texture of the curds combined with the salty gravy undoes my appetite every time. I think it must be something you have to be trained to from birth...

That said, as a Southerner born and raised, I spell it "crepe." So does Southern Living magazine, by the way; they've rejected the American Crape [sic] Myrtle Society's attempt to standardize. ;)

Kyna said...

Jan: Thanks for your input! :D

Sunny:Hehe, well that's what I do, educate the public about Canada. Although if someone isn't very nice to me about being Canadian, I just lie and say outlandish things about it. And I'm believed, which can be hilarious :D

Meredith: Not so! First time I tasted it, was an adult. I think I'm just a glutton, thats's all. More fat that's in something, the more I like it. Unfortunately :/

I think my conclusion on crape vs. crepe, is that there is no conclusion lol. I think I'll just spell it however I want to according to how I'm feeling that day. I may even make up my own spelling and call it a Kraype Myrtle. :P

Amy said...

I know when I write about them I have to look it up every time. I think I used crape....who knows. Have you ever heard the expression "crape murder" dealing with how some people prune them? I saw that the other day on a newsletter. I'm not sure about your fries and cheese....i guess i shouldn't knock it until I have tried it.

GloriaBonde said...

Unfortunately here in zone 4 I have not seen a crape or a crepe mrytle. But, yes, I know of those who eat horse! I was invited to dinner where the main dish was horse. I rarely eat meat, so no thanks to that invite! You post made me LOL -Gloria

Tatiana said...

Hmmm I don't know about Canadians and chesterfields... I mean I'd know what ya mean, but everyone here in Cowtown says sofa or couch. And while we will understand thongs, we'll still call them flip-flops. Toques and poutine are inviolate though, and an extra large double-double! :)

Bethany said...

Hi Kyna,

Crepe myrtles are everywhere in the South, aren't they?! I love them, but around here people prune them too severely...our local garden writer calls those folks "crepe murderers" :) Happy spring to you!

Kyna said...

Amy: it's funny, a lot of American people I've told about poutine, think it's weird to eat fries with gravy. but people eat mashed potatoes and gravy! And everyone knows fried things are more delicious :D I have heard 'crape murder' LOL. I definitely don't do that. So many people cut them down to stubs here!

Gloria: I do eat meat, and I'd be horrified with being served horse! O_O I guess I should be picky since I eat pigs, cows and chickens, but horses...I just couldn't do it O_O

Tatiana: Well, we all know Calgarians are different ;) And you have no idea how much I miss Tmi Horton's!! :(

Bethany: When I bought my crepe myrtle it was all cut to stubs by the garden center I bought it from. I didn't know that was wrong at the time, but I'm glad I did my research! :D

Jess said...

Well, crape, I never thought about it before! They are one of my favorite trees though, and I have one out front.

Shyrlene said...

Kyna - you have me cracking up! (I'm orginally from upstate NY - way up by Quebec .. which to me is pronounced "Key Beck". And even though I wasn't old enough then - it was LaBatts, NOT Budweiser!)

It was 'toque' or 'tuque', it was 'water fountains' and 'soda'. Then we moved to Wisconsin - where it's a 'stocking cap', 'bubbler' and 'pop'. Now I'm in Illinois -- which some people call "EL"inois??.. AND I wish we could grow Crepe (Crape) Murtles here because I love them! ;o)

Carol said...

Etymology is always such an interesting subject Kyna... I know that when people try to learn English they have a hard time with words that have the same spelling and pronunciation but mean different things... I guess that is true in every language. I always remember seeing Crepe Myrtle when down south but no matter the name the flowers are gorgeous! I hope you get lots of flowers! I love words too and particularly love Zut alors! I would not have remembered how to spell it though! Fun post! ;>)

Kyna said...

Jess: They are an awesome tree for the South :D If I can't grow a lilac, I'm glad to at least have a crepe myrtle :D

Kyna said...

Shyrlene: Key-bec?? LOL You'd be one of those 'M'ericans' to us ;) Never heard 'bubbler' before, that's a new one lol. Glad you enjoyed the post. This is one of my favourite conversation topics to have with people! :)

Carol: English is one of the most difficult languages to learn. I didn't realize that till I took some linguistic anthropology courses in university. You're right, how can anyone not enjoy saying 'Zut alors!!' It just exudes happiness :D

Al said...

Thanks for the link, the comments were fun too.
I'm with Bernie, it is crepe down here.
Hmm, I have heard Chesterfield, but it's a lounge or sofa down here (occaisonally a couch). The room it goes in is a lounge-room which I believe the Brits usually call a sitting room or reception room.
Thongs are thongs down here and people will look at you oddly if you say flip-flop.
A beanie is a knitted warm woolly piece of headgear.
A friend of mine got in all sorts of trouble when she said holidaying in Alaska that she likes to 'boil a billy'.
Now I have said far too much.