You Say “Pelf”, But I Say “Cabbage” ………….

                People and cultures assign many names to objects that are important to them. Take for example, the indigenous Sami people of the frozen arctic. Their homeland  largely encompasses the northern most regions of Norway, Finland, Sweden, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia – by all accounts – a very cold, icy, and snowy region of the world. Many of the Sami find work as fur trappers, coastal fisherman, sheep herders, and my favorite, reindeer herders. Laplanders has been a name (although not preferred by the Sami) used to refer to the approximately 100,000 people who make this region their home.

                Since the Sami live in such frigid conditions, they have assembled a language containing hundreds of words for all types of snow from snow that will barely hold a person, snow with a rugged crust, and the light fluffy variety. Virgin snow, untramped by man and reindeer alike, is referred to as åppås. I’m from Minnesota, so I can relate. A book aptly entitled, Snow, chronicles the many varieties of the white stuff. Snow is an important part of the life of the Sami people and their language reflects as much.

                Well, what does the above have to do with us Americans? Frankly, a lot. Just as snow is an integral part of the Sami lifestyle, it appears that money plays a similar role in the U.S. “Pelf” and “Cabbage” are just two of the many names we use to refer to money. How about …. Scratch, grub, cheese, cheddar, dinero, scrilla, dough, moolah, greenbacks, coin, bread, green, dead presidents, Benjamins, change, bills, cash money, chalupa, rhino, spondulicks, sawbuck, fin, Jackson, c-note, scrip, bacon, clams, twankie, chips, potatoes, grand, wampum, wad, bankroll, lucre, stash, chump change, Missouri bankroll, loot, simoleons, and mazuma to name but a few. Did I miss any?

                It’s clear from the above that money plays an important role in our lives – maybe too important? Spondulicks – really? Your thoughts or words for money that need to be added to our list?

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5 Responses to You Say “Pelf”, But I Say “Cabbage” ………….

  1. Camille says:

    That is really interesting about the Sami! Plus, there are a lot of names for money that I have never heard of! I find your blog extremely interesting! Keep up the good work!

  2. jim_roberts says:

    Thanks for your kind comments regarding my blog. The Sami are an interesting people who have come up with many unique names for snow, much the same way Americans have come up with many creative names for money. I think this analogy between the Sami and Americans is very telling.

  3. Austin Smith says:

    Very interesting article. Excited for the book to come out and lecture has been very interesting lately.

  4. Julianna says:

    It’s always interesting to see what things are important enough to a culture or language to have several words devoted solely to describing it.

  5. Tori Moore says:

    I remember you talking about this particular blog in class! It really is interesting! And I definitely did learn some new names for money!

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