The City


The City

The City as a linguistic term is a generic name used in various contexts to refer to a particular city. The "City" being referenced may be apparent from context, or it may invariably refer to one particular city in certain English-speaking regions, depending on the variety of English used.

The City as the City of New York

"The City" is (especially in the United States) often used as a synonym for New York City.

The City as the City of London

The most widespread usage of "the City" to refer to a particular City refers to the City of London, a relatively small area that forms the central legal and financial district of London. Because of the impact of this geographically small district on legal, business, and cultural life in the United Kingdom "The City" generally refers that specific district or to the London-based financial industry that occupies much of it (in much the same way that "Wall Street" is used to refer to the New York based financial industry) [http://cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/business_city/The+City+UK.htm] . Similarly, terms such as "City lawyer" or "City banker" are usually recognisable as referring to the sizeable legal and banking fraternities which practice in the London financial markets. When the term is used outside the United Kingdom, this second meaning is likely to be intended.

The City as the nearest urban center

The "City" referenced in speech and in print usually refers to the nearest city. The particular city being referenced is usually obvious from context. Nearly every city of size has this distinction at some time or other.

In general, in a rural or semi-rural environment, "The City" tends to be a nickname used by local residents for the nearest large conurbation. Similarly, in a suburban or inner-city environment, "The City" tends to be used by local residents and municipal agencies to refer to the much smaller area of the central business district, or the part defined by the official city limits. Similarly, in a sprawling urban area composed of several cities, one particular city may carry a name that also characterizes the region, such as San Francisco, which is known throughout the Bay Area as "The City." (Another example is that of the "Twin Cities" of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in Minnesota; local residents often refer to them and the entire urban region as "The Cities.") Either usage, often with "City" or both "The" and "City" capitalized, sometimes appears in articles in mass-media publications that are targeted to residents of a major metropolitan area, and may reflect longstanding and deep-seated civic pride held by people who live in that region. In one notable instance, such pride manifested itself in "The City" being emblazoned on the uniforms of the San Francisco Warriors professional basketball team, from 1962 to 1971. In the New York metropolitan area, the term "the City" is often used to refer to Manhattan.

A dialect survey done by Bert Vaux, an associate professor of linguistics at Harvard University, indicates that this phenomenon is widespread—nearly all 9965 American participants in the study associated "the City" with a particular city, but the specific city they had in mind varied widely. Specifically, the study found that 46.99 percent identified New York City as "the City," while 4.57 percent identified Chicago, 2.6 percent identified Boston, 2.25 percent identified Washington, D.C., and 1.88 percent identified Los Angeles. The remaining respondents (41.72 percent) identified another city as "the City." [http://www4.uwm.edu/FLL/linguistics/dialect/staticmaps/q_95.html]

In fiction

In some cases of media, such as fiction works, The City may be used as the name of a city, rather than identifying the city by the name of real-life cities in the same general location. One example of this is The Tick franchise, which focuses around the superhero The Tick and other superheroes and supervillains operating in the ambiguously-located city referred to as "The City."

Retail Store

The City also is used in reference to recent retail stores opened by Circuit City, Inc. that are said to have a redesigned format for consumer electronics sales. [http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/circuit-city-hopes-city-concept/story.aspx?guid={B4D42657-0B4B-4FC0-A4CA-8C2FE6B2DFFD}&dist=morenews_ts]

ee also

* The City (Transmetropolitan)

References


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