Wednesday, October 24, 2007


With these terrible, absolutely terrible fires in our region here, I notice lots of interesting Spanish place names thrown around here and there. California has undoubtedly a Spanish/Mexican past, and so here's a bit of interesting toponymy from the Southern California areas affected by the flames:

Las Vírgenes Road - meaning "the virgins", a long windy road into Malibu.

Puerco Canyon - this ugly word means "pork/pig."

San Diego - "Saint Didacus." Yeah, I like the Spanish name better too.

Santiago Canyon - an interesting word in honor of "Saint James."

Escondido - meaning, "hidden."

Agua Dulce - "sweet water."

Chula Vista - literally means, "pretty/beautiful view."

Calabasas - misspelling of the original calabazas, which means, "squash/pumpkins."

Rancho Santa Fe - A romantic name meaning, "holy faith ranch."

Las Flores Canyon - ya give "the flowers" to mom on her b-day.

Soledad Canyon - "loneliness/solitude."

La Jolla - a misspelling of what should be la joya, which means, "the jewel."

El Cajón - literally means, "the box."

Ventura County - u win the lottto, meaning you have good "fortune/luck."


Todd said...

So what's up with the crazy chicken ranch?

Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

And there's nothing worse than the Spanglish pronunciation of these names. I remember the first time I went to Central Coast and properly pronounced Paso Robles and got a bunch of smirks from the locals who call it "Pass OH Robe Bulls".

Scot said...

What a big word you have WAT (toponymy).

Oh, JT, have you ever tried to pronounce Los Gatos to people from the San Jose suburb? Loss Gat Us I always thought it was where gangsters lost a gun.

mrpeenee said...

Are you sure San Diego is the Spanish form of Saint Didacus? I always understood Santiago and San Diego were two spellings of the same saint's name. Like Santa Claus and Saint Nicholas.

Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Scot - Yes, it's funny that such a ritzy suburb sounds so crass when the locals pronounce it. They also laugh when I say "Los GAH-Toes".

WAT said...

Mr. P: No, they are totally different saints.

Bill German said...

blue oyster cult

Christopher said...

I too thought that 'Diego' translated to 'James'.

Dolfin said...

I thought La Jolla was a bad spelling of "la hoya"- a pit, grave, or basin. Of course who'd want to live there then?

Oh, and did you know the mission San Diego de Alcalá is the site of the first public execution of the area, in 1778. Yeah Christianity!

Crazy Eddie said...

You forgot "Lambe Chocha and Bicho Mas Grande...

Love you WAT baby!! I'm trying to visit more often. I forgot how much I missed you...

(By the way... I've seen you on XTUBE. Hope I didn't blow anything up for you...)

I'm proud of you kid...