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Old 04-25-2006, 03:48 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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What do you call the space between two buildings?

I'm just curious...is the term "gangway" wholly a Chicago term, or even confined to certain neighborhoods in Chicago? That's what we always called the space between two buildings on a city block. These spaces are about, oh, about six feet or so wide. Some of the older folks on my block would jokingly call them "Bohemian air conditioners" because of the substantial draft experienced in gangways.

I'm guessing this is a very regional term, given that it's not explicitly defined in any dictionary I have. Does anyone else use this word, and are there any other terms for this?
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Old 04-25-2006, 03:51 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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I'd call what you describe as an alley or alleyway. In fact, I can't off-hand think of any other term I'm immediately recognise to mean such a place.
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Old 04-25-2006, 04:23 PM
DooWahDiddy DooWahDiddy is offline
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This dictionary specifically calls it a "passageway"--"a passage between rooms or between buildings". But in casual conversation I've never used anything other than "alley".
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Old 04-25-2006, 04:43 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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For us Chicagoans, an alley or alleyway is where your garage and trash is. It's sort of an access road for cars parking in the garage and garbage trucks.
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:01 PM
Ice Wolf Ice Wolf is offline
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I haven't ever come across the word "gangway" used in terms of a passageway between buildings. We'd say "lanes" here, even in 19th century Auckland. "Gangway", according to what I've read online comes from Old English roots, whereas "alley" comes from 13th century Old French.

How interesting that "gangway" is in use in Chicago. I wonder why that is?
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:06 PM
Cunctator Cunctator is offline
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I've heard "lane", "laneway", "alley" or "alleyway" used here fairly interchangeably.
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:36 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice Wolf
I haven't ever come across the word "gangway" used in terms of a passageway between buildings. We'd say "lanes" here, even in 19th century Auckland. "Gangway", according to what I've read online comes from Old English roots, whereas "alley" comes from 13th century Old French.

How interesting that "gangway" is in use in Chicago. I wonder why that is?
I really don't know. It came up in conversation today with a friend, and I realized that I had never heard anyone from outside Chicago use this term. Leafing through a dictionary confirmed my suspicions. I did find a reference to it in Wikipedia:

Quote:
A gangway is the walkway between apartment buildings, a term most commonly used in Chicago.
It seems to imply that the term is used elsewhere. As to why it's centralized here, I dunno.
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Old 04-25-2006, 08:06 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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I'd use it pretty interchangeablly with "alley" and "walkway", although I'd wince a little inside, knowing that it's not precisely an alley.

WhyNot,
Chicagoish
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Old 04-25-2006, 11:13 PM
bob_loblaw bob_loblaw is offline
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here in toronto, it depends. if you can drive a car through the space, it's most likely gonna be called an alley. if a car won't fit through the space, it will likely be called a walkway. though, if the space is a dead end, it'll often be called an alley regardless of the width.
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Old 04-26-2006, 01:26 AM
Rayne Man Rayne Man is offline
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In the UK it seems that every town has its own name for this space. Some examples are :- Alley , jitty, jennel, jetty,ginnel, twitchel, twitten, bacskie, wynd, close, entry, eight-foot and ten-foot

I bet other UK dopers can come up with even more names.
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  #11  
Old 04-26-2006, 01:49 AM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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I had always heard that gangway was a Chicago regionalism. (I grew up in the 'burbs, so ours was a "side yard," but my cousins near Chicago (who had grown up in Indiana) often remarked on the use of "gangway.")

Alleys were always the narrow not-quite-streets that ran behind the houses parallel to the real streets so that the trash truck could come through without having everyone put their trash out on the front lawn. They were only found in cities.
I have heard the place between houses called an "alleyway" (not "alley") around Detroit, occasionally, but I could not say that I heard it frequently.
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