Thursday, September 15, 2005

Decoding Names

There seems to be a great joy in decoding something.Almost an exclusive feeling of being privy to something the coder intended upon. If you are like me given a city/county name you would take it at face value.So while I was driving around the San Francisco are I saw a lot of counties starting with "San ...." . I knew "Los Angeles" meant City of Angels and hence a nearby town called "Los Altos" meant the City of Heights (made up.yet to confirm).

Now, San Mateo is the county where I work in and a colleague was trying to correct my pronunciation when it struck me that San Mateo is spanish for St. Matthew. Voila! Immediately the bricks fell in place.Everything around here is curiously named "Mission ..Blvd..St...Ct....."The Spanish Catholics were on a mission to proseletyze the heathen folk around here and named the cities/counties around here after the canonized fellas. So, it immediately dawned upon me that San Fransisco is named after St.Francis of Assisi. San Carlos is St.Charles, San Lorenzo for St.Laurent , San Andreas for St. Andrew, San Leandro for St.Leander.The mother of all San Jose was a tough one to crack till the oyster gave it up as St.Joseph. Of course the county I live in is called "Santa Clara" which should probably be St. Claire but I cannot understand the difference between "San" and "Santa". Of course there is more fun in decoding these rather than getting a compiled list like last time.