Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cairns and Vanity

With so many people calling them "cairns", vanity compels me to use the word here to bring in the Google searchers. Cairns, Cairns, Cairns. I grew up thinking cairns were what you have to mark a trail above tree line in the White Mountains; and it seems like the wrong term to use for a humble, low to the ground, rock pile. For large and magnificent structures, it seems more appropriate. Then there are people who pronounce the word as "karn". Where does that come from?


Tim MacSweeney said...

You seem to be correct about cairns in many ways. And I find that "karn" pronunciation comes from the language of our ancestors!

Anonymous said...

There is an interesting site on my land and the land surrounding my home. It has been brought to the attention of two tribes and both have referred to them in conversation as mounds - burial or ceremonial.

It's like the old expression, potato or a patato, tomato or tamato. Mound or cairn...

Rock piles is a neutral reference - a common ground between the mound people and the cairn people.

Walk the woods, find the features and share them.. be they mounds or cairns..

We should be united in concept rather than divided in nomenclature.