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1500 California Place Names: Their Origin and Meaning Paperback – 17 Nov 1998

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Product details

  • Paperback: 174 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; New Ed edition (17 Nov. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520212711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520212718
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 1.3 x 18.1 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,034,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"The definitive guide to the etymology of California's geographical names . . . updates the state's poetic vocabulary and gives compelling proof that place names are not the fixed road-map landmarks that so many assume them to be."--"Santa Cruz Sentinel

About the Author

William Bright is Professor Adjoint in Linguistics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and author of numerous books including A Coyote Reader (California, 1993). He edited the four-volume International Encyclopedia of Linguistics (1991), as well as the revised, unabridged California Place Names (California, 1998).

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
ABALONE (ab uh LOH nee) POINT [Humboldt Co.]. The abalone, an edible shellfish, has given its name to several places in California. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 7 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Fun Book for California Buffs 24 Sept. 2000
By Joshua D. Hamilton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is not for the serious researcher, but is tremendously interesting for those curious about the sometimes zany history of California's place names. Most entries include an interesting tangle of history and culture and the usual mispronunciation of Native American names by early white settlers. Its a fun book that would make a great stocking stuffer and should brought along on any California road trip. Two thumbs on this one.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Stunned by the tiny histories and lacking depth 2 Aug. 2010
By Rough Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered this book as well as the book on NM place names, "The Place Names of New Mexico" by Robert Julyan, and they arrived same day. If you want to see what a great book on place names looks like, get the NM place name book above. The CA place names book is tiny in physical size and has 170 pages. Compare with the NM book which is massive and has 385 pages. The reviews in the CA book are tiny...most are three lines that tell how the town got its name with little passion. The NM book has large reviews on most town and place names, 6 to 12 lines that are told with some passion and interest. Take an example from the CA book for the town name Dulzura- Spanish for sweetness, from dulce "sweet". that's it! Not much passion or interest in the descriptions!
One would think with the physical size of California, compared to the smaller physical size of New Mexico that California would have made a better showing. I noticed many CA towns were NOT included in the book, French Gulch being one.
Save your money on this one folks.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Place Name Books 18 Mar. 2007
By Richard E. Kimmel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am using this book as a source of information for some railroad travel guides I am putting together, and it is very helpful, in that it is not merely a "list of place names," like so many other similar books I have seen are. This book actually has historical information and useful material which I can incorporate into my guides, which will make train travel passing through the places listed in the book much more enjoyable and interesting. It is an excellent resource!!!
A must for California Residents Who Want to Know Why 17 Nov. 2013
By Jerry of San Francisco - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The answer to every one's question "How did it get it's name?" An encyclopedia of place names. I no longer have to wonder.
Okay 12 Sept. 2013
By DBignell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is okay, includes what you would expect. I feel this book is way overpriced for what it is...
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