Misbeliefs: A Linguistic Look at a Beloved New Orleans Fruit

May 08, 2021 354

BY: Laura Guccione

The residents of New Orleans have a history of creating unusual pronunciations of words. Local street names provide common examples of New Orleanians’ inventive pronunciations, such as Burgundy Street (pronounced bur-GUHN-dee, not BUR-guhn-dee) and a cluster of Uptown streets named for the nine Greek Muses, including Urania, Thalia, Euterpe, Calliope, Clio, Erato, Melpomene, Terpsichore, and Polymnia Streets.

Another lesser-known example of the city’s linguistic creativity can be found with “misbeliefs,” the fruit of the Eriobotrya japonica tree, that New Orleanians also refer to as Japanese plums or loquats. Misbelief trees can be found throughout New Orleans. Although the tree is native to China, it thrives in southern Louisiana’s climate. One example of a misbelief can be found at 1226 Royal Street, a portion of the French Quarter highly populated by Italian immigrants in the late nineteenth century.

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SOURCE: https://neworleanshistorical.org

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