minutia press.
Bag vs sack

Lucas has posted concerning the way Wisconsin folk denote the thing in a school that provides drinking water. The most popular terms were "water fountain" or "drinking fountain" but the map shows that Wisconsin, and pixels elsewhere, call the thing "bubbler".

Since blogs are for revealing one's innermost secrets, here is one of mine: I was born and raised in Texas, and am a fourth-generation Texan if you consider that my great grandmother settled there.

Although the map reproduced in Lucas's article doesn't show it, there should be a small, red dot somewhere in North Dallas, in the backyard of my parents' house. I remember my dad installing what at school we called a "water fountain" in the backyard, just atop the spigot (I wonder if they probed for that word in the Harvard study?) He told us all he installed a "bubbler" so for years I thought the thing in our backyard was something different, not necessarily better than, the things we drank from at school.

The title of my post concerns my first Texas to New York experience, when I worked at IBM Research the summer after my junior year at Rice . I went to Caldor ("in the land of Caldor, where the bargains lie") which is kind of like K-Mart but without the blue-light specials, and upon checking out asked if I could have a sack for my purchases. The check-out artiste gave me the strangest look and said that they didn't have those but I could have a bag if I liked. At first I thought she was making a joke, but I later found out that sacks in New York are made of the finest burlap while a bag could be made from paper or plastic.

In Texas, you get a sack for your groceries, and the person sacking your groceries is a sacker. And if that person is fired, he or she has been sacked. In New York, you get a bag for your groceries, the person bagging your groceries is a bagger, and if he or she is fired, he or she becomes a bag person.


Ah yes, evidence for the use of "bubbler" is now pouring in from across the country... soon it will become the preferred nomenclature

Posted by: Lucas at November 25, 2002 11:46 AM