This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Spot the frippet: something Swiss.

So, what do we associate with Switzerland?

Cuckoo clocks, chocolate, cheese, watches, mountains...

...yodelling... accounts...

The trouble is, none of these things is called Swiss - and the other trouble is, things that are called Swiss tend not to have much to do with Switzerland.

A Swiss ball, for instance:

was invented by Aquilino Cosani, an Italian, and first used therapeutically by Mary Quinton, who was British.

Swiss chard? It comes from Sicily.

The Swiss cheese plant:

is a native of Southern Mexico.

The Swiss Re Tower:

30 St Mary Axe from Leadenhall Street.jpg

is in London; and the swiss roll:

Brazo gitano - cyclonebill.jpg

comes from somewhere in Central Europe, no one's sure quite where, except that it's definitely not Switzerland.

Then there's the Swiss Guard:

which is, of course, to be found in Rome.

It is with some relief that I turn to the Swiss army knife, which has been made in Ibach, Switzerland since 1891.

Before that they were made in Germany.

Spot the frippet: something Swiss. The word Swiss comes from Switzer, from the Alemannic Schwiizer, which means an inhabitant of Schwyz. Schwyz is possibly from the Old High German Suittes, perhaps from suedan to burn, referring to the clearing of an area of forest.

This Spot the Frippet easy for me because I have a worryingly rampant Swiss cheese plant on my landing. Otherwise, any good supermarket should provide numerous examples of Swiss manufacture.

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