Last week, Deb and I discussed “the New York Times‘s increasingly goofy treatment of landscape and horticulture, including their astonishing discovery of the tree lawn, aka the “parkway” (Illinois) or “verge” (Britain).”
This week, it’s The Wall Street Journal that’s on the verge. In an article on the Dictionary of American Regional English, they write:
It’s surprising how many different names Americans have for that strip of ground between the sidewalk and the street: “boulevard,” “grass plot,” “parkway” and “tree bank” are among them. So after a child abductor in the ’90s left a note demanding that ransom be deposited in a trash can “on the devil strip” at an intersection, a forensic linguist used the dictionary to help solve the crime—because the term was common only in a small part of Ohio.
See? Landscape literacy saves lives.