Urban Myth spreading: et tu, Reuters?

In a recent Reuters article about Buick renaming the LaCrosse in Canada b/c it is slang for masturbation in Quebec:

C’mon, Reuters. I thought you guys prided yourselves on, you know, checking your facts. Sheesh.

Maybe I’m missing something here; Snopes says they indeed sold it under the name Nova, and it sold well. How is this different from what Reuters says?

Reuters mentioned the often repeated myth that Spanish-speaking people thought it meant “it doesn’t go” - nobody thought that. See the bullet points in the Snopes link.

I just read that article 5 minutes ago and thought the EXACT same thing.

i wouldn’t buy a dinette set called Notable.

I hate that anology in the Snopes article. “No va” is a complete sentence; Spanish for “It does not go”. Not only is “no table” not a literate sentence, “notable” is a entirely seperate word with its own meaning, while “nova” isn’t a Spanish word. A better analogy would be a knife set called “Thesedonotcut”, and I bet you won’t have a easy time selling those.

At no point in the article you linked to does Reuters claim anything of the sort.

pizzabrat: If Nova does indeed mean it does not go' (actually, no go’), then why does Pemex (Petrol Mexico, the Mexican state-owned petroleum concern) sell gas under the brand Nova? And how the hell did it pass through the informal quality control of all of those Spanish-speaking people involved in translating manuals?

(I got both of those straight from Snopes, but you’ve not addressed them yet.)

You are mistaken in many counts. Nova is the Spanish word meaning . . . (are you ready?) . . . Nova! (A newly appeared star) The word comes from Latin and means “new”. It has a positive connotation as something new and flashy. In other words, as Snopes points out, the story is pure BS.

Only a foreign speaker would analyze “nova” and decide it meant “it doesn’t go”. Whether it had any other meaning or was just the name of a model of car, natives would not stop to think those things and it generally takes a comedian to come up with those jokes in Spanish like in English. They may be obvious once you’ve heard them but they do not occur to everyone. there’s a reason David Letterman makes millions: he can do what other people can’t which is to find jokes where other people can’t.

The Reuters story is poorly phrased. Rather than “The mix-up is reminiscent of another GM vehicle with an unfortunate name” it would be more accurate to say it was reminiscent of an urban legend and tell the UL. The GM vehicle did not, in fact, have an unfortunate name. Only in the UL.

They’re repeating the same old myth - GM executives were told that it means “it doesn’t go” but “despite the name” it sold well. I was merely saying that Rueters is repeating this myth - the myth that I personally went on to describe as the one where Spanish-speaking people react to the name. Sorry I didn’t parse my sentence perfectly, The Rya–I mean, Miller.

Actually, they seem to be twisting the myth into a more accurate form. The version I’d always heard (even from people in the naming business, who should know better) was that the Nova sold poorly because of the supposed translation of its name.

The claim that GM was warned that ‘Nova’ could be misread as ‘doesn’t go’ and that they went ahead anyway and met with success, is much more likely to be true.

The facts that we know are that GM sold a car in Latin America called ‘Nova’ and that it sold reasonably well. The speculation is whether or not anyone warned them of possible negtive reactions to the name. When I worked for Interbrand Tokyo, my job was to create new names for products and companies, and part of that job was to sit around with my co-workers coming up with every possible way that the names we’d made could be misinterpreted. We’d also send our names out to the other branches so they could be checked in the same way in as many languages as possible. Since nobody wanted to get tagged with the blame for releasing a disastrous name, the standard cover-your-ass policy was to warn clients of any possible negative meanings or connotations, and let them make an informed final decision. If GM created their names in the same way, I think that the claim that the executives were warned but chose the name anyway (they were probably also warned about th implications of naming the car after an explosion) is very likely to be true.

Dooku, dude, it’s just a thread about a lame Reuters story. There’s no need for that sort of hurtful name-calling.


Hm. I wonder if Detop would mind bopping on down. Se crosser indeed means to masturbate; worse (to my way of thinking), crosser means to swindle. But I was unaware of a substantive la crosse meaning masturbation. La crosse, to my knowledge, means lacrosse.

I am fully prepared to have my ignorance demonstrated.

How about Leviton switches? If I wanted to leviton, I wouldn’t need a switch!

wait, so the Reuters article specifically says ``contrary to popular folklore’’… How exactly does this count as spreading that same piece of folklore???

I’m confused.

I know you already said that crosser meant to swindle, but la crosse can also mean the swindle, as in: la crosse c’est que …[explanation of swindle].

Also, it can be said “c’est de la crosse” to mean that something is a hoax or swindle.

To a lot of french-speaking quebeckers, the first meaning coming up for them would likely be “la crosse” as in “the swindle”. I can’t think of a corresponding example in english at the moment, but if I do I might pop back in.


French Canadian girl checkin’ in.

“Crosser” is the joual verb that mean “to masturbate”

“La Crosse”, in itself, isn’t really slang for “the masturbation”, but certainly will make french canadians chuckle no end.

What happens a lot in Joual (french canadian dialect, really) is that a verb will take on a noun form, and an adjective form: so “crosser” can become “crosseur” (he who masturbates - probably the most common insult based on that word!)… so, conceivably, it becomes “la crosse” if we choose to make it so…

As an example, from real life:

lno’s Gama (grandmother) lives in La Crosse, WI. The first time I heard the name of the place, I nearly died laughing… because I associated it with the joual verb/noun/adjective derived from “crosser”.

Interestingly, on our way there, we cross a town called “Rochester”… lno told me as we drove through it “We are now entering senic Rochester.”

As I was still thinking of “La Crosse” (chuckle), I heard “We are now entering senic Crotch Rester.”

Go figure.

And yes - calling someone a “crosseur” is often used as an insult to someone who has… well, crossed you (okay, so that’s likely a false cognate, but you know what I mean) It’s usually someone who has screwed you over.

Lacrosse, the sport, is spelled in one word in french too. I don’t think that’s the image that would come to the mind of most french canadians when seeing La Crosse as part of a dealership’s name.

I have never heard franco-canadians use “c’est de la crosse” to mean something related to swindling - but I have have heard the French-French (!) use it. Mind you, they also use “les gosses” to mean “the children” while in french canada, it means “the testicles”.

So “nous amenons nos gosses en voyage” means, to us, that you’re taking your testicles on a trip… :wink:

I think the OP is saying that Reuters messed up the scope of the myth.

Reuters says that it’s a FACT that Spanish speakers thought “Nova” meant “it does not go” and that it’s a MYTH that the name hurt sales.

The OP says it’s a MYTH both that Spanish speakers thought “Nova” mean “it does not go” AND that the name hurt sales.

So the OP’s got a point, but it’s a rather narrow one.