University of Cambridge > > Cambridge Language Sciences Annual Symposium > Sunnyside


Add to your list(s) Download to your calendar using vCal

If you have a question about this talk, please contact jaw75.

Registration is required for this event

The Oxford English Dictionary’s first reference to eggs sunnyside up is 1901. Sunnyside was the title of a Charlie Chaplin film of 1919, in which Charlie works as a farmhand. Keep Your Sunnyside Up, Up was a hit from the film Sunny Side Up of 1929, written by Buddy De Sylva, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson, as was On the Sunny Side of the Street, written by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields, 1930, both depression-era songs being about maintaining optimism in the face of adversity. Sunnyside is a common British house-name, associated with suburban nineteen-twenties and thirties semi-detached housing. The British Royal Mail database available to the public for looking up postcodes (that is, not to linguists searching for house names) presently returns 14,703 hits for Sunnyside in the UK. Yet prior to 1859, so far as I can discover, there were no houses called Sunnyside in London at all.

There is no scholarly history of British house names. Place names have been studied for nearly a century by the English Place-Name Society (begun by the great Sir Allan Mawer (1879-1942), son of a commercial traveller in fancy trimmings from Bow) but the Scottish and Welsh Place-Name Societies are very new and even the English volumes have included farm names only sporadically. Writing the history of a house name is therefore a challenge in that sources have to be found.

My talk will be about the extraordinary history of Sunnyside, a seemingly semantically transparent name, which, it turns out, has been hiding in plain sight. I begin by identifying the early adopters in London, finding what they have in common, and following those avenues back to earlier users. Said avenues lead far away both in place and in time, to outside the British Isles, and into prerecorded history.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Language Sciences Annual Symposium series.

Tell a friend about this talk:

This talk is included in these lists:

Note that ex-directory lists are not shown.


© 2006-2021, University of Cambridge. Contact Us | Help and Documentation | Privacy and Publicity