home counties

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    (I live in New York). I recently became aware of the idea of "home counties" in England (London suburbs). How did the name "home" (which seems to have a long history) come to describe this region.
     
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The Home Counties are the ones that comprise (what we Americans would call) the greater London metropolitan area. There is no precise definition of the term, and there is not even agreement on which counties, or how many, make up the list.

    Wikipedia offers several origins for the name, none of which are attested, and most of which would require a tortuous etymology to qualify.
    • The counties where the wealthy people in London, including those in the government, maintain a second home.
    • The wealthiest region in the country except for London itself, middle to upper-middle class and reliably conservative--although it includes a few spots of deprivation.
    • The primary source of tax revenue for the government outside of London itself.
    • They have all been at least partially subsumed into the city.
     
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  5. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

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    How about…
    • Places where workers at the Home Office live?
     
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    There is not really any such thing as the "greater London metropolitan area". There is "Greater London" and there is the "London metropolitan area", which is also known as the "London commuter belt", which is forever growing due to improved transport links.

    These do not necessarily include all areas of a county, but only parts, while the Home Counties make no reference to which part of the county you are in: if your definition of the Home Counties include Kent then if you live anywhere in Kent it would apply. Whereas if you live in Dover or on the south coast of Kent then you would unlikely consider yourself within London's commuter belt (although as said, the commuter belt is expanding, so may one day include such areas).

    But you're right in as much as there is no definite list of Home Counties, and no real definition as to why they are considered that, although the one I would tend to favour is that they are the counties in which the members of parliament (in the 17th and 18th Century) would likely have had their homes that they returned to after parliament ended its session. Nowadays they might have homes anywhere, and likely more than one!

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