Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Name Of The Store Is ALDI

The band Talking Heads once released an album called The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads perhaps to silence those fans who kept calling the band "The Talking Heads".  Apparently, the band disliked having "The" attached to their name.  The Beatles, of course, felt differently and always included the "The".  Then there's the band just called The The.

And then there's the grocery store called ALDI, which everyone almost always calls "ALDIS" or "ALDI'S" (we'll get to the spelling issue in a moment).

I've always found this little linguistic phenomenon fascinating.  I suppose that many people are used to shopping at a grocery store which has an "s" at the end.  Say, Ralphs or Albertsons, or, closer to me, Heinen's.  As a result, perhaps they apply the "s" to the name of any grocery.

This theory would make sense except that no one calls Giant Eagle "Giant Eagles" (well, no one I know of anyway; someone somewhere probably does), so perhaps the grocery also has to have a one word name (say, Joe) and seem like a name that should take a possessive (with the hypothetical example producing Joe's, short for Joe's Grocery--not Trader Joe's, a store ALDI is connected to).

Thus, ALDI ends up getting called "ALDI'S".

I've never met anyone named Aldi though.  According to The New York Times, the name came about from "Albrecht Discount," with Albrecht being the surname of the brothers who started the store in Germany, so part of ALDI is a name, so making the store name possessive isn't completely wrong in that sense.

Perhaps Language Log will do a post on this someday.  I'm surprised they haven't already, but maybe they're paid better than I am and don't shop at ALDI.

I still haven't figured out the capital letters, but I suspect that's just a corporate affectation.  So far, the store hasn't weighed in on the "s" being added to its name, so unlike Talking Heads, it apparently doesn't care what you call it as long as you shop there.

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