Sunday, 27 April 2014

Le pub, El pub, Der pub, O pub, Bu pub, Il pub……

….. or simply Pub (the last is Polish) are all clear references to the English pub. Whilst thinking of how English pub names have a language all their own, it did occur to me there are a number of pub names in England which are not English. Undoubtedly the most common is the Fleur de Lys, most likely an heraldic reference to France and traced to at least the time of Edward III who did declare himself King of France – the name translating as ‘flower of the lily’. Yet there are others, more than I ever thought likely. The following are just a few examples.

Another comparatively common example is the German origin of Bierkeller, easily seen as meaning ‘beer cellar’ and probably not a true pub name in the traditional sense.

The same lack of tradition is probably true of the Bodega which is simply the Spanish for ‘tavern’.

Another Spanish name is the Posada, again it is probably stretching the point to see this as a traditional pub name as it simply means ‘lodging’.

De Hems is from Dutch but does not have any real meaning, other than it being taken from the surname of a former landlord.

Rai d’Or does qualify as a true foreign language pub name for this is the French for ‘ray of gold’.

Tir na nOg is an Irish name, one translating as ‘land of the young’.

Bibendum is from the Latin phrase Nunc est Bibendum meaning 'Now is the time to drink (also celebrate)'.

Having noted some of the unimaginative naming and renaming of pubs in recent years, perhaps the answer lies in using other languages as a source.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. My favourite Norwich pub name is/was "The Barking Dickey" or so it was popularly called. In fact it was "The Light Dragoon" but the sign was so badly painted that it looked like a braying donkey.