Fructophilia (was: Changing words)

Gili Bar-Hillel gbhillel at
Sun Feb 8 03:48:11 EST 2004

>I've always thought of satsumas as the small
>baggy ones, clementines as the small tight
>skinned ones

both varieties are called clementinas in Israel, the loose skinned ones that
are sold here are mostly of a breed called "michal".

>and um mandarins and tangerines as
>the big ones.

Mandarins I think of as having thinner skins than tangerines, and a
distinctly different flavor. Tempel oranges (I'm pretty sure they are
spelled this way, they may even be named for Shirley Tempel) are a lot like
tangerines but they have a bump on top. Come to think of it, I haven't seen
them around in a couple of years.

> I can see what you mean with the plums
> (greengages, damsons, bullaces etc) but with most
> of the berries the only thing they seem to have
> in common is the "berry" bit of the name:
> "raspberries, mulberries, blackberries,
> strawberries, gooseberries and bilberries are all
> quite distinct to me in terms of flavour
> appearence and for that matter species and growth
> type. Currants (red and black) and cranberries
> are similar I think and I don't actually know
> what  dewberries and barberries are. Is it that
> some of these aren't available in Israel or that
> they really are considered to be the same thing?

Both. Most berries aren't grown in our climate, and possibly as a result,
there is a lot of confusion in the terminology. There are correct terms for
scientific use, but in popular use, i.e. the labels on packages in
supermarkets, I've seen the same word ("uchmaniot") applied to blueberries,
currants, cranberries and raspberries; blackberries and raspberries are both
called "petel", and distinguished only by color; strawberries and mulberries
are both called "toot" and distinguished by an additional reference to where
they were grown ("field toot" or "tree toot"). I've never even seen
gooseberries or bilberries and I needed to crossreference several sources
for a description of them, as well as dewberries and barberries. The general
term for all berries is "gargerei ya'ar": "fruit of the forest" or "kernels
of the forest". My solution involved using every single synonym I could dig
up, as well as the general term for berries with various qualifiers, and yes
I did the same for the plums, whilst trying my best to keep the whole thing
musical and not too monotonous.

I'm trying to think of an obDWJ, and remembering this bit of poor
translation from "A Tale of Time City":

"One large blacksmith threw four coffins about"... "one got rusty for
smoothing clothes. Two became white in moderately cheap jewelry. Three of
them turned yellow and got expensive, and another four were dense and low in
the tables..."

Trust DWJ to drop the most important clues during the comic relief!

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