I had a strange thought this morning as I was lying in bed about why we label things with their nationality. This may sound obvious, but the Spanish refer to the Spanish Inquisition as simple “la inquisición”. This odd thought led me to ask my other half what an “English breakfast” is called in England (since I can’t remember). He thinks it’s called a “fried breakfast”, although I have a feeling that it is also called an English breakfast in hotels where it is differentiated from a “continental breakfast”. This stray thought took me to another nationality tag – German u-boats. I suppose the Germans just called them “u-boats” – and then I started to wonder whether we label things with their nationality when they are unpleasant and we want to distance ourselves from them.
However, perhaps when you are proud of something you keep the nationality label. Some evidence for this idea is the “American dream”. The Americans also call it the “American dream”, not just “the dream”. That’s because want to make sure everyone knows it’s American! We don’t have an “English dream” do we? But we do have an “English country garden”. That’s something we’re proud of. Other nationalities don’t have (as far as we’re concerned) country gardens as nice as ours.
There’s a lot more scope for this line of thought, which I might pursue when I wake up tomorrow morning.