Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Do you see anything wrong with this sign?

Could it be that the depicted Indian is actually a Cayuga and NOT a member of the Nipmuc tribe? Perhaps the NIPMUC INDIANS ESCHEWED THE USE OF ALL CAPS? Maybe the sign incorrectly overstates the power of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority? Maybe the Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce had nothing to do with the sign.

NO, to all of the above. There IS and error, but it's much more subtle.

Did you catch the misspelling? (Yes, "misspelling" has two "s"s).

Believe it or not, Lake "Chargoggagoggmanchaoggagoggchaubunaguhgamaugg" should actually be spelled Lake "Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg." That means there's actually TWO mistakes, not just one.

Now before you demand that the typesetter at the sign company be fired for being so blatantly incompetent, realize that he CORRECTLY place 43 of 45 letters correctly, which means that at almost 95%, he's likely to have been the salutatorian of his typesetter class. Think you can do better?

Besides, what kind of name is Chargoggagoggaggoggmangg . . . whatever, I'm not getting paid to typeset (it that's even how they MAKE signs, nor am I paid to blog)? As you probably guessed, it is from the Nipmuc (not Chayuga) language for "unnecessarily big name for a relatively small body of water," at least that's what I deciphered it as after my extensive research quick Google search of Nipmuc language. But after a much smarter search of Google, utilizing the "always accurate", I realized that I was off in my translation (so much for using "context clues" like my English teach had taught me so many years ago). Apparently, the translation is different, but no less humorous, than my primitive interpretation. What some "expert" linguists (and conspiracy theorists) believe the name means is "you fish on your side, I fish on my side, and nobody fish in the middle."

What selfish indian fisherman! I why exclude indians with the advanced skill of "boat making" from participating in the "feeding of their belly?" Imagine if I took the same approach to my AP Calculus class, renaming it "AP callcallullaaccittucctticcuus" which would translate in my own, made-up language called "Grumpyoldmanese" into the phrase "Smart people take, dumb lazy people don't take, and everyone else give my $20." Those Nipmuc indians were the original semantical warriors.

Most politically correct experts of the Nipmuc language, whose name is Frredd, claim the name, which is incidentally the longest name of any official place in the Americas, not counting the unofficial name that many students give to calculus of "Calc@##$%&*!!@#*$%$%^&#@*&*%$$#@^&^@#*&^%##**&^@#$%!**$%&*@#$%! . . . (#*&$$^@&*%(!@#*$&%&$&lus," seem to opt for the less curmudgeonly-sounding "Fishing Place at the Boundaries -- Neutral Meeting Grounds," which makes the lake sound more like a meeting for a boring convention rather than a recreational fishing hole.

Then there are some boring, uniteresting people in the nearby town of Webster, Massachusetts who simply refer to the lake as "Lake Webster." These are the same people who eat Hamburger Helper for dinner every single night and know not when (or at what temperature) to serve white wine, primarily because Boone's doesn't make white wine. That type of oversimplifaction not only denies the lake of its cultural legacy and therefore its place on the map and blogs across this great land, but it is the same attitude that failing students of mine have when the approach Calculus as if it were entitled "Adding single digit integers on you calculator"--doomed to scornful looks, derision, and a good laugh. Good thing that THESE type of individual are not the official people in charge of things.

The good news for the lake, though, is that Massachusetts OFFICIAL officials have admitted to the two misspellings and have vowed to have the signs changed to reflect the correct spelling of the lake. State officials have already begun interviewing for the job of making the new sign, beginning with the Valedictorian of the "typesetting class," a Thai student with the successful completion of a sign bearing the the native name for Bangkok, Thailand on his resume:


1 comment:

Freckles said...

I actually knew what that meant! I am pretty obsessed with Gilmore Girls, and there was a reference to this lake in the last episode I watched! I searched all over for a clip (just for you!), but all I could find was this one on google video of the ENTIRE episode. If you're really curious, go to
and click on the first one. You can watch it on the right hand side of the screen. The reference is made between 22:51 and 24:36 :)