[LMB] was: Language

Harvey Fishman fishman at panix.com
Thu Aug 15 19:54:04 BST 2019


On Thu, 15 Aug 2019, Howard Brazee wrote:

> One of my favorite word changes is the word ?tarmac?.    During the Raid on Entebbe, we heard the BBC mentioning the hostages being lined up on the ?tarmac?.   Americans use the word asphalt but never tarmacadam, tar-Macadam, nor even MacAdam road.   So we saw that they were lined up on the airport apron, and inferred its meaning. 
>
> I have read novels with space ships landing on the tarmac.   We talk about airplanes taxiing on concrete tarmacs.    I?m curious how much that new word has expanded around the world.
> --
> Lois-Bujold mailing list message sent to fishman at panix.com

Well Howard, when I was young the streets of New York City were paved with "asphalt", which was
an asphaltic concrete with a very fine aggregate and asphalt or bitumen used for the binder.
This was produced and applied by the City. But asphalt had to be applied and rolled hot, needed
extensive facilities to be produced, and did not lend itself to repairs. These days, the City
has closed down its facilities for the manufacture of asphalt and instead uses tarmac, which is
a mixture of a much coarser aggregate and tar as the binder. Perhaps YOU don't use the word
tarmac, but I sure do because that is what streets are paved with now. It has the advantage of
being able to be applied as patches and repairs. And much of the surfaces of streets are done
by contractors cleaning up after utility repairs since the City made them responsible for this.

A proper New York City street has a two foot bed of trap rock covered with a six inch layer of
portland cement concrete and finally a six inch layer of tarmac. The City seemed to stop
rebuilding streets about twenty years ago for ecomomic reasons. They now mill off the top
layer of tarmac, patch the concrete where required, and lay a new top layer. This is done every
ten years or so. And the streets are worse off for it.

Harvey

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  Harvey Fishman   |
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