Friday, May 8, 2009

Fun with an Interactive Map

“A good map is both a useful tool and a magic carpet to far away places.” - Unknown

At ngm.nathionalgeographic.com there is a wonderful interactive map of America featuring, cities, states, mountain and rivers with Native American names. If you click on one of the many choices, you’ll see the literal translation. For instance, the Adirondack Mountains in New York means ‘Tree Eaters,’ the city of Ponchaoula in Louisiana is ‘Falling Hair,’ and Amoxiumqua in New Mexico translates to ‘Ant Hill.’

Living in Florida, I was particularly interested in some of the names around me. They all make sense. Allaputtah translates to ‘Alligator,’ Okeechobee is ‘Big Water’ and Echashotee is ‘Manatee home.’

However, some names made me curious and left me wanting to know, as ‘Paul Harvey’ used to say, “The rest of the story.” For instance, Malibu translates to ‘it makes a loud noise all the time over there.’ Was it the sound of the surf or noisy settlers that brought on such a name? Also I wonder how it’s possible for one six-letter letter word to stand for ten English words.

I’d also like to know why Kupunkamint Mountain in Montana was named something that means ‘shakes himself.’ Or why anyone thought that a good name for a city in California would be Loleta, which translates to ‘let’s have intercourse.’ I’m sure there’s an interesting story there!

Since I have spent so much time at this site, I need is to figure out a way to apply this useless but fun information in the fiction I write. Any suggestions?

Thanks for stopping by. And a special thank you to all of you that who have been leaving comments. I appreciate the fact you have taken the time to let me know you visited. Your informative, kind and funny remarks brighten my day.


Tags: National Geographic, Adirondack, Ponchaoula, Okeechobee, Malibu, Florida, Native American names, interactive map, >, Paul Harvey,

10 comments:

Marvin D. Wilson said...

What part of CA is Loleta in? I'm heading west this summer, sounds like a GREAT place to visit - at least for a one night stand. (wink)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I think the site could give you all sorts of interesting background information for a story!

L. Diane Wolfe
www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com
www.spunkonastick.net
www.thecircleoffriends.net

Helen Ginger said...

"Let's have intercourse" is the Indian translation for Loleta? That on struck me as odd. I can see the mountain as "shakes himself." Could be it's prone to small quakes.

Helen
http://straightfromhel.blogspot.com

Karen Walker said...

How interesting. Love this post and the new information it presents. The best thing about this book blog tour class is meeting so many diverse people and discovering their interests. Thanks for sharing.

Karen
http://www.karenfollowingthewhispers.blogspot.com

N A Sharpe said...

Wow - very interesting blog, I've always wondered about a lot of the names around here (I'm from Florida too and there are a lot of places with native American names) Going to click on your link for the interactive map now and play a bit!

NA Sharpe
http://nasharpe.blogspot.com

Nancy J. Parra said...

Wow- very interesting. Thanks for the link and the translations. Now I'm off to play on the map...

TGIF!

Galen Kindley said...

I do love words, and their origins. This map is way cool. I learned that my uncles, aunts and cousins from Kokomo, actually live in Bear Chief, Indiana. Think I like Kokomo better, though.
Galen
http://www.galenKindley.com

Angela said...

That's really cool. I'll have to check it out. Some of those names will inspire stories, I'm thinking.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Interesting! I agree with Diane that you could really use the info for setting research. Or maybe you could have a character who is an etymologist? Or a character who's like Cliff on "Cheers..." who knows it all and works bits and pieces into everyday conversation.

Elizabeth
http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com/

Ted A. Brooks said...

How funny! Guess this is one post I'll remember for awhile. Might be trivial but sure is interesting. So glad I found your blog.
Angel Blessings

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world