Sunday, December 24, 2006
This entry is mostly an excuse to post a picture of the pretty (and, in person, pretty imposing) Christmas tree at Rockefeller Centre, which Better Half and I visited a week ago. This was the first time I'd been to New York City during the (AmE-preferred) holiday/(BrE-preferred) festive season, and I was excited to watch the ice skaters in the rink below the tree. But when we got there, all I got was an opportunity to teach Better Half an AmE (or, as the OED puts it, "Chiefly N. Amer.") word: Zamboni. This is a proprietary name for a machine (in vehicular form) used to resurface ice in ice rinks, introduced in 1962 (patented in 1965) by Frank J. Zamboni & Co. of Paramount, California. BH had never seen one before, however he was not content to watch it do its job for more than 10 minutes before declaring that we weren't going to see any ice skaters. Instead, we merried ourselves with the fantastic light show at Saks Fifth Avenue.
A few days later, in a (AmE) book store/(BrE) bookshop, I spotted a children's book called Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet, illustrating that in AmE hockey refers to a sport played on ice. In BrE, one must say ice hockey to refer to that sport, and hockey refers to what Americans would call field hockey.
Merry Christmas from Better Half and me!