November 05, 2003

Once King, always King

A bitter campaign to name a road after Dr Martin Luther King has been abandoned in San Jose, California. But curiously, the road to be renamed is called... King Road. A former police officer, Ken Stewart, fought for three years to get it named for Dr King (etymologically, at the moment it commemorates early San Jose settler Andew King), collecting 600 signatures of people on King Road who agreed with him, and turned the whole affair into a nasty blacks-versus-chicanos battle. Internalist semantics could really have saved a lot of trouble here. Change the conceptual structure without changing the overt linguistic form: just think about Martin Luther King when you drive down King Road.

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum at November 5, 2003 05:42 PM