Teesside Snog Monster (jiggery_pokery) wrote,
Teesside Snog Monster

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A bark for a mark, a holler for a dollar, a sound for a pound and a tune for...

OK, let's intersect the history of currency with the euphonic joy of silly-sounding words.

There are several instances where multiple currencies around the world use different currencies with the same name, or a very similar name. I might hazard a guess that some of these occur for colonial or imperial reasons, others due to other historical accidents of common linguistic background. For instance, not just Britain calls its currency the pound, but also countries including Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan and Syria. (*) Before the introduction of the Euro, France was proud of its franc, with currencies of similar names not just used in Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland but also in Madagacar, Mali and Rwanda. Finland and Germany both used the Mark, many South American countries have local versions of the Peso (where it's easy to hazard a guess at some sort of derivation from the Spanish Peseta), Dinars are spent from Tunisia to Croatia to Bahrain and I shall wildly speculate at historical similarities between the Albanian Lek, the Romanian Leu and the Bulgarian Lev. (Quite possibly some of these are alternate transliterations of a similar phoneme.) Let us not forget the many different Dollars out there, and respectfully smile at those countries that have changed their currency from their local Pound to their local Dollar.

(*) Digression: would it also be reasonable to compare the pound's derivation from a translation of "librae" in librae, solidae, denarii to the derivation of the old lira in other languages?

There is one other currency family I have not yet considered, though: you can spend Krona in Sweden, Krone in Denmark and Koruna in the Czech Republic. (As well as Slovakia.) I mention this because I was delighted to recently learn that the currency of Estonia is the Kroon. If the k-sound is considered amusing in the English language, and words ending in -oon have some jollity to them (cartoon! spoon! Walloon!) then you've got to go a long, long way to come up with a better currency name than kroon in my book. No, the Vietnamese Dong doesn't beat it. Much.

The other wonderful thing about the Estonian Kroon is its abbreviation. The Great British and Northern Irish Pound is referred to as the GBP, the United States Dollar the USD, the Japanese Yen the JPY and so forth. Want some Estonian Kroons? EEK!
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