March License Plate Report

Not a huge haul for March but a good one: Indiana, Arkansas, Kansas, and North Carolina. I was thinking that North Carolina was seriously overdue, but a quick look at the 2020 map says that it didn’t appear till April last year, and that then as now South Carolina showed up first.

Another surprise from the 2020 map was that Arkansas was my 10th sighting overall: it was here in January. This year I’ve seen it twice, both times in front of the Methodist parsonage on the way into Oak Bluffs, so I’m wondering if it might be around for a while (assuming that it’s still the Methodist parsonage? gotta check that out).

Last year Kansas appeared in May, Indiana in June. Never did see Kansas in 2019, by the way.

Spotting Kansas and Arkansas on the same trip to OB had me pondering their pronunciation on the way home. “Arkansas” is not pronounced “R-kansas” and “Kansas” is not pronounced “Kansaw.” Naturally the internet has an answer for everything: It seems both states take their names from the plural form of the tribe who lived there, the Quapaw, called by the Algonkian-speaking natives of the Ohio Valley the Arkansas. Arkansas’s name came down through the French, which does not pronounce the s at the end of words, and Kansas’s came down through the English, which does.

Not surprisingly, both spelling and pronunciation of “Arkansas” varied considerably. After Arkansas became a state, one of its U.S. senators pronounced it “ArkanSAW” and the other “ArKANSAS.” So in 1881 the state’s General Assembly passed a resolution that the name should be spelled Arkansas but pronounced Arkansaw. And that’s that. You can read the official version here.

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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2 Responses to March License Plate Report

  1. Always interesting — never thought I’d like to follow a monthly license plate report, but I do. Cynthia

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    • I can’t believe I’ve been playing the license plate game for more than 30 years, and blogging about it for (OMG!) 15 YEARS. I started recording my sightings on my website (www.susannajsturgis.com) on January 2, 2006 (I just looked it up), then moved it to this blog in January 2012.

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