a question for all you nice Americans

andrew markworthy

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I'm writing a journal article for an American readership at the moment and I need help in making a cultural reference. In the UK, there are several towns which are famous for being places where people go to retire (Frinton or Bournemouth being the prime examples). Are there any similar places in America? [Before anyone offers info about the 'snowbird' phenomenon, I know about it, but it's centred around a particular state or at least a specific part of the country rather than a specific city isn't it?].
 

Michael Reuben

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The cliche is usually Florida. Several towns are famous for their retirement communities: Palm Beach, Boca Raton. I hear Miami Beach is making a comeback, but that also attracts a younger crowd.
In California, I suppose it would be Palm Springs, though that's famous for a number of other things as well (how many other towns have streets named after Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Gerry Ford)?
a particular state
I am shocked, SHOCKED that a proper British author would commit such a linguistic faux pas. It is geometrically impossible for anything to be centered "around". Things are centered "on" a single point, "around" which they revolve. We Americans have utterly corrupted this usage with our inveterate sloppiness, but that's no reason you Brits need follow suit.

M.
 

James Q Jenkins

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As said before, the state of Florida is known as a retirement Haven here in the states. The entire state, not just a town.
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Rich Malloy

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Arizona and New Mexico are also popular retirement states, but south Florida is the classic golden years destination.
 

Hugh Jackes

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Florida
aka God's waiting room
aka The checkout zone
Or, here in Southern California, Leisure World:
aka Seizure World
aka Leisure Prison
[Edited last by Hugh Jackes on September 27, 2001 at 02:29 PM]
 

Ted Lee

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two places popped into my head when reading your question. florida and palm springs.
it's almost a running joke that retired people go there.
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[Edited last by Ted Lee on September 27, 2001 at 02:52 PM]
 

andrew markworthy

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Thanks for the rapid responses, guys.
Michael, interesting point, and I am aware of the distinction. However, a couple of years ago, I decided to throw caution to the winds re: 'centres round', for two reasons.
First, the phrase has entered into common usage to the extent that rather like 'hopefully', it has arguably lost its original meaning and the style guides I've consulted have as much as admitted that its use is unlikely to cause offence.
Second, I think that I can justify 'centres around' as a valid phrase with a meaning distinct from 'centres on'. It's true that 'centres on' is better if you strictly mean 'centres' as a synonym of 'targetting', and in such circumstances I would use that phrase. However, arguably 'centres round' means something rather different - you are not saying 'it is focused precisely here and everything else revolves around [i.e. is dependent on] it'. Instead you are saying that 'somewhere around here is the greatest concentration of the factor in which we are interested'. In the example in question, I was saying that I knew that the geographical centre of the phenomenon was 'round about' there, but I did not wish to commit myself to citing a specific location as a centre of activity. Hence the need for a different phrase.
 

Michael Reuben

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Oh well, I guess you can't stand in the way of progress, whether it's technological or linguistic.
M.
 

LarryDavenport

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I wonder if Florida is an East Coast thing and Arizona is a West Coast thing.
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Glenn Overholt

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A lot of doctors here once recommended that some of their elderly patients move to Phoenix, where the air was really clean and dry. I think its still dry, but it has grown so big that the clean part no longer works. An interesting footnote.
Glenn
 

Eric Scott

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Andrew, You Brits are are just too gracious. Sometimes I wonder if your just being sarcastic? (ie Topic question)

Here's the link you need to really check out.
http://www.money.com/money/bestplaces/bpretire/
Sarasota, Florida is a monumental middleclass retirement spot.
Here's a little tid-bit. The best kept secret in retirement towns is Cape Cod. Not commonly known for the high number of retired government agents.
[Edited last by Eric Scott on September 27, 2001 at 04:34 PM]
 

Scott H

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Florida and Arizona. I think that would be a fair analogy to town references in the UK. It's a little harder to specifically reference cities here, in light of the scale and population.
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Dennis Reno

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Another (un-PC) name for Florida:
The Elephant Graveyard
Now before anyone flames me, my Grandfather (who will be 80 next year) came up with the name. He refuses to move full-time to Florida because, in his words, "I'm not ready to die." He and my Grandmother have a winter home in Florida. It is hysterical to listen to his description of the "old, cranky SOBs".
In many ways, youth is a state of mind...
 

andrew markworthy

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Thanks for all the input. I think I'll just use 'Florida'. Curious how to the average Brit, Florida is seen as one giant amusement park (at least outside the hurricane season) - the idea of it being associated with older adults is an alien concept.
 

Ricky Hustle

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Vegas.
There are many retirement communities here, and the old folk just love hanging out at those nickel slot machines all day long.
 

Seth Paxton

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the idea of it being associated with older adults is an alien concept.
Not once you visit there and spend every day behind people going 20 mph with their turn signal on.

It's quite the running gag in the States. However, I always thought of the curve as the panhandle meets the rest of the state (on the Gulf side) as being one of the bigger retirement sections.
South FLA may be a retirement area, but it's also such a PARTY area that it balances out. Some of the other areas of FLA are for retirement ONLY it seems.

Phoenix for the reasons mentioned above. Hell, I'd move there, it's freaking beautiful AND LOTS OF BASEBALL year round. Spring training, D'back, summer rookie leagues, etc.
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TheoGB

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I'd have to say Andrew that while Bryson supports your 'hopefully' stance in 'Troublesome Words' he would still take you up short on 'centres around'. 'Course, I'd have probably said the same thing myself.

Theo
 

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