Thursday, January 20, 2011

love those little plastic bricks!

Lego means "play well". I'm going to remind my kids of this often. Here's a little Lego history for you from!

from Danish
This word originated in Denmark
Thanks to those little interlocking building blocks, the whole world plays with the Danish language. They are playing with Lego, a name constructed out of the Danish expression leg godt, meaning "play well."
The company's historians tell us exactly when it happened. In 1932 Ole Kirk Christiansen began manufacturing ironing boards, stepladders, and wooden toys in the town of Billund, Denmark. Two years later, when his company had grown to have half a dozen employees, he gave it the name Lego. It was noticed later that lego means "I study" or "I read" in Latin, but play remained the official interpretation of the company name.
For nearly two decades after that, Lego remained a Danish company, with no effect on English-speaking children or their language. Even in Denmark, Lego was not registered as a trademark until 1954. But in 1956 the company began opening sales offices in other countries; in 1958 the stable stud-and-tube style of brick was introduced; and within a decade children the world over knew the name. From then till now, according to the company, about 190 billion Lego bricks (they call them "elements") have been produced, as well as 11 billion of the Duplo double-size bricks. That's enough for everyone in the world to play well.
Danish is a North Germanic language of the Indo-European family and the national language of the more than five million inhabitants of Denmark. Along with Norwegian and Swedish, Danish is a likely source for such English words as skulk (1225), scoff (1300), ballast (1530), dangle (1590), skoal (1600), troll (1616), walrus (1728), iceberg (1820), and aquavit (1890). Other Danish contributions to English have been from Danes whose names have become scientific designations: Jacobson's organ (in the head, 1885), Gram's stain (for bacteria, 1903), and the Bohr effect (from carbon dioxide in the blood, 1939).

The World in So Many Words, by Allan A. Metcalf. Copyright © 1999 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment