Monday, October 25, 2010

Zanzibar, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Words

Zanzibar is an archipelago off Tanzania. (

It's also the name of a restaurant and pub in Menomonie, Wisconsin: which has its own website, The restaurant and pub, I mean: not Menomonie. Although Menomonie has a website, too. Several. There's the official one,; and another one that claims to be the number one (in bold) source for information about the place,

The latter is more mnemonic, since it's just the name of the town and the familiar ".com" - and it's interesting because Menomonie sounds a little like mnemonic, but doesn't mean the same thing. Mnemonic means "a device (such as a rhyme or acronym) used to aid recall" (Princeton's WordNet). Menomonie apparently means "wild rice people," in Ojibwa. ( And Mahnomen, Minnesota, means "wild rice," in Chippewa ( which seems to be pretty much the same word as Ojibwe. Or Ojibwa.

Please - don't be offended. French, English, and English-speaking Americans have been around the Wisconsin-Minnesota area for quite a while, they're the ones who started writing down what they thought they heard folks say when they asked, 'what's that?' Between creative spelling, local and regional dialects, and time - it's a wonder the names are as close as they are.

In the Lemming's opinion, anyway.

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