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Showing posts from June 24, 2009

Linguistical musings: Bookish, Bibliophilic, Literary

It's sometimes illuminating to work in a neighborhood where a large percentage of our customers speak languages other than English -- that is, SoHo, a major shopping destination for European tourists. (Why they buy books in English when they don't seem to speak it fluently is something I've always wondered -- but we're not complaining.) Recently I noted, not for the first time, the tendency for Spanish speakers to call the bookstore a "library" (leading to a certain amount of confusion since there is a New York Public Library around the corner). This makes sense, though, since the Spanish word for bookstore is libreria . The word for book is libro , and - eria is where an item is sold ( zapateria for shoes, tabaqueria for smokes, etc.) The Spanish word for library, on the other hand, is biblioteca -- which also sounds familiar and logically related to books, for its similarity to bibliophile or bibliography. So what, I asked the ALP (Adorably Litera