Affiliated States of Boreoamerica thread

Are we going to see some similarities between OTL and TTL in this case?
I know it's the ASB, and butterfly slaughter has been allowed in many cases, but I really see no reason why COVID-19 should exist (let alone spread along exactly the same lines as OTL) ITTL. If @Gian wants to make his map (it is nice-looking), that's his prerorogative. Personally however, I'm against making it part of the canon.
 
And in reality creoles and colonial languages form a continuum; a speaker when asked which language they use might not be able to give a simple answer.
In many cases, but not all. Papiamento and the Surinamese creoles aren't part of creole continuums, for instance, as their respective lexifier languages are no longer widely spoken in Suriname/the ABC Islands. IMO there's a few places in the ASB that could lend themselves to a similar situation.

Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean they'd never be identified by the name of their lexifier language. Maybe in some parts of the ASB, the local "English" speakers actually speak a creole that's totally incomprehensible to Anglophones elsewhere.
 
I know it's the ASB, and butterfly slaughter has been allowed in many cases, but I really see no reason why COVID-19 should exist (let alone spread along exactly the same lines as OTL) ITTL. If @Gian wants to make his map (it is nice-looking), that's his prerorogative. Personally however, I'm against making it part of the canon.
I'm ambivalent too. Gian's done a lot of riffs on the ASB world, so it's not a problem as such. And convergent history is nothing new to this timeline, though convergent current events aren't something we've done yet. We'll need some more discussion to decide if this is part of the main ASB timeline.

On the other hand, it's certainly an opportune time to talk about the ASB's health care system. Looking back in time, I would think that individual states were likely to take initiative in setting up welfare systems. Some may have set up universal care systems on their own in decades past - I'm thinking New England and New Netherland in particular. Are some states still behind on that, as the USA is in our timeline? It seems definitely possible, since there still is great economic disparity among the states. On the other hand, being joined in Confederation does breed a certain amount of imitation.

In many cases, but not all. Papiamento and the Surinamese creoles aren't part of creole continuums, for instance, as their respective lexifier languages are no longer widely spoken in Suriname/the ABC Islands. IMO there's a few places in the ASB that could lend themselves to a similar situation.

Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean they'd never be identified by the name of their lexifier language. Maybe in some parts of the ASB, the local "English" speakers actually speak a creole that's totally incomprehensible to Anglophones elsewhere.
That's interesting, what are the places in TTL that would match that situation? I've mentioned a Seminol-influenced English creole in the Bahamas, but standard English is spoken there. Maybe it's actually a Spanish creole? That could be interesting. Otherwise most of the areas I can think of speak the standard language.

As for whether creoles can be considered separate languages, that depends I think on local politics. I think conditions are right in West Dominica (Haiti), Carolina (Gullah), the Bahamas, Iroquoia and adjacent areas, and probably within some of the southern Indian states.
 
That's interesting, what are the places in TTL that would match that situation? I've mentioned a Seminol-influenced English creole in the Bahamas, but standard English is spoken there. Maybe it's actually a Spanish creole? That could be interesting. Otherwise most of the areas I can think of speak the standard language.

As for whether creoles can be considered separate languages, that depends I think on local politics. I think conditions are right in West Dominica (Haiti), Carolina (Gullah), the Bahamas, Iroquoia and adjacent areas, and probably within some of the southern Indian states.
There's also the Mohawk Valley where we might see a Dutch/Mohawk creole with some German influence develop. Although given that that's a Metis population with knowledge of both parent languages it might be better classified as a Mixed Language rather than a Creole, rather like Michif.
 
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Here's what I was able to do with the COVID-19 map before I decided to call it a day (Data is here, where people can still contribute)
 
There's also the Mohawk Valley where we might see a Dutch/Mohawk creole with some German influence develop. Although given that that's a Metis population with knowledge of both parent languages it might be better classified as a Mixed Language rather than a Creole, rather like Michif.
It could still be a creole with influence from more than one source; the distinction would be how much grammar is preserved. Michif, from what I know, is just about totally unique in preserving all the complex grammar and phonology from both languages. The OTL (extinct) language of the Mohawk valley is considered a creole, I believe: it evolved from a simplified trade pidgin. The creole grammar was then sort of built on top of that, in the typical Creole fashion. I had been assuming a form of this language lasted to the present in TTL. (And in that case, TTL really would see a continuum among the speakers; they would use standard Dutch, perhaps with a unique accent, for formal occasions, and as the situation gets more casual they gradually introduce more and more Creole grammar and Iroquois-derived words.) A truly mixed language like Michif would need some more explanation. I'm curious to know whether Michif truly is unique among known mixed languages.
 
Interestingly, one of the other examples Wikipedia gives of a mixed language is Mednyj Aleut, which has Aleut nouns and Russian verbs both preserved in their full complexities, and seems like something that would be right at home in TTL.
 
That's interesting, what are the places in TTL that would match that situation?
Now that I look at it, it looks like I misremembered some things. I was reading about the history of Saramaccan recently. Its history (an English-based creole's speakers are sold to Portuguese-speaking plantation owners in a Dutch-speaking country, and the language survives among maroon populations and their descendants) reminded me of something you had written about slavery in the southern Indian states. There was a post where you mentioned non-Natives buying up land in the "Black Belt" of Chickasaw, Choctaw, etc., and I guess I pictured something along the lines of, say, Carolians bringing slaves to Muscoguia.

Looking back at the post though, I see that you were thinking that the colonial powers involved in each state would be the source of the non-Native settlers. That does make more sense given the political landscape.
 
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Now that I look at it, it looks like I misremembered some things. I was reading about the history of Saramaccan recently. Its history (an English-based creole's speakers are sold to Portuguese-speaking plantation owners in a Dutch-speaking country, and the language survives among maroon populations and their descendants) reminded me about something you had written about slavery in the southern Indian states. There was a post where you mentioned non-Natives buying up land in the "Black Belt" of Chickasaw, Choctaw, etc., and I guess I pictured something along the lines of, say, Carolians bringing slaves to Muscoguia.

Looking back at the post though, I see that you were thinking that the colonial powers involved in each state would be the source of the non-Native settlers. That does make more sense given the political landscape.
You know what, though, that might actually be a working example. In rural Muscoguia there probably isn't very much standard Spanish being spoken; or at least there wasn't before the age of mass media. In that case, the creole-speaking population there would learn the standard relatively late in school, and there would be a pretty sharp distinction between the creole and Spanish. Mass media would mean earlier exposure to the standard and likely more of of a continuum of speech nowadays, but the history means that the creole is recognized as a distinct language.

Now in the other Indian states of the interior (the 3 Ch- states), there was a lot more direct engagement with local colonial powers, including some White settlement in all three. There, standard English and French were always present alongside the respective creoles, and it's possible that the slave creoles have not even survived to the present.
 
And btw, as I'm making the map (and getting almost little (if any) help), I've decided to create this:

the ASB Gazeteer

...basically a list of all the names I conjured up with for the map (as much as I can fit), their OTL equivalents, and some of the rationale behind it. Yes, it's unfinished,but the gazeteer should at least be completed around the same time as the map (if not later). I'll probably also make this easy to edit so @False Dmitri can add his own entries.

EDIT: Is now editable, so there.
 
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And btw, as I'm making the map (and getting almost little (if any) help), I've decided to create this:

the ASB Gazeteer

...basically a list of all the names I conjured up with for the map (as much as I can fit), their OTL equivalents, and some of the rationale behind it. Yes, it's unfinished,but the gazeteer should at least be completed around the same time as the map (if not later). I'll probably also make this easy to edit so @False Dmitri can add his own entries.

EDIT: Is now editable, so there.
Aw, cool! I like it so far.
 
And btw, as I'm making the map (and getting almost little (if any) help), I've decided to create this:

the ASB Gazeteer

...basically a list of all the names I conjured up with for the map (as much as I can fit), their OTL equivalents, and some of the rationale behind it. Yes, it's unfinished,but the gazeteer should at least be completed around the same time as the map (if not later). I'll probably also make this easy to edit so @False Dmitri can add his own entries.

EDIT: Is now editable, so there.
This is right up my alley; I wish I had more time to help with this.

I think there ought to be a column giving a designation for each place. However, this can get quite unwieldy very quickly.

Human settlements have many different designations, with no hard-and-fast rules differentiating them. Usually a village is small, a town is a bit larger, and a city is the largest, at least colloquially. However, depending on how a country organizes its local government and/or census, there can be a massive number of different categories. In Canada, there are dozens: Towns, municipalities, villages, rural municipalities, townships, villes, cities, and parishes just to name the most common ones. Let's say we don't want to get bogged down with the details, and we just want to list the largest cities and the more important towns and villages. The problem arises, what constitutes a city?

Let me use my hometown as an example. I live in Cleveland. Rather, I live near Cleveland, in a different municipality which also has city status. In Cuyahoga County, there are legally 38 cities, but they are all (with exceptions) understood to belong to the Cleveland Area. The inner suburbs are often indistinguishable from Cleveland itself, and many neighborhoods within Cleveland municipality feel like distinct places, such as Ohio City, which was annexed 166 years ago. Obviously, Cleveland is not the same as the City of Cleveland.

The US defines Metropolitan Statistical Areas, or MSAs, to approximate each city's urban area. MSAs follow county lines; there are no counties that belong to more than one. Some adjacent MSAs get lumped into larger Combined Statistical Areas, or CSAs. Cleveland's MSA is officially called the Cleveland-Elyria MSA, consisting of Cuyahoga County and four adjacent counties. The MSA contains areas which are clearly separated from the urban agglomeration surrounding Cleveland, such as Medina, Lorain-Elyria, and Chardon. The associated CSA is termed the Cleveland-Akron-Canton CSA, which includes those three cities and also Sandusky, Ashtabula, Norwalk, and New Philadelphia, none of which would consider themselves part of Cleveland.

It goes further than that. Washington, DC. has half a million people, but its urban area has ten times that many. Hamilton, Bermuda, has less than a thousand people in the city proper, but the attached parish has over seven thousand. Santo Domingo has 1.1 million people, but its metro area is 2.9. On the other end of the spectrum, you have China, where they define a "city" as an urban area and the surrounding countryside; Chongqing, which is defined as a special municipality, has 30 million people, of which only about 6 million live in the actual Chongqing urban area. For this reason, I think it's most useful to consider agglomeration size rather than the population of cities proper.

Canada has Census Metropolitan Areas, or CMAs, which roughly correspond to MSAs in the United States. Canada also defines Population Centres, which are contiguous urban areas with a minimum population density threshold. Some Population Centres, such as those adjacent to Toronto, are all contiguous, but are considered separate as they belong to different CMAs. Canada divides these into three categories: small, having 1,000 to 30,000; medium, having 30,000 to 100,000; and large, having over 100,000.

So we have our big cities. Montreal, Toronto, Boston, New York, Washington, Atlanta, Miami. But there are more than those. What about Laval? Mississauga and Brampton? Cambridge? Jersey City and Newark? Alexandria and Arlington? Sandy Springs? Boca and West Palm? In North America, these are generally known as suburbs, edge cities, or satellite cities. Many of them are not really important enough to name. In my own county, there is Linndale, a village half the size of Vatican City whose sole claim to fame is speeding tickets.

But that isn't nearly all. Concord, New Hampshire, is the capital of that state, and it isn't a big city by any stretch of the imagination. Dodge City, that famous and historic wild west town, is fairly tiny, but it acts as the urban core of Ford county because it's twenty times larger than the next-largest settlement in that county. In addition to MSAs, the Census Bureau also defines over 500 Micropolitan Statistical Areas, or μSAs. Canada calls its smaller cities "Census Agglomerations," although the US seems to have a lower threshold for attaining that status.

Now, look at this map of Canada:



The image includes the following settlements: Calgary, Churchhill, Dawson, Halifax, Hamilton, Iqaluit, Montreal, Ottawa, Prince Rupert, Quebec, Regina, Saint John, St. John's, Sydney, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Whitehorse, Winnipeg.
Included: Provincial and territorial capitals and largest cities
Excluded: Charlottetown, PE; Fredericton, NB, Yellowknife, NT.
Included: Second cities of several provinces and territories, including Hamilton which is directly adjacent to Toronto, and Dawson, Yukon.
Included: Small and Medium-sized cities in more remote parts of the country, such as Prince Rupert, Sept-Iles, and Thunder Bay.
Excluded: Happy Valley-Goose Bay, the largest settlement in Labrador, pop. 8,000 or so.
Included: Churchill, MB, pop. 899, the only non-First Nations settlement on Hudson Bay; Saint John, NB, which is neither the capital nor largest metro in the province but, honestly, probably just fit on the picture better.

Looking at just the map, you can't tell that Toronto is more than a thousand times the population of Churchill, and you wouldn't think that Ottawa is the fifth-largest CMA. You also wouldn't get a sense for what the provinces are.

Now, what is the upshot of all this?

For the purposes of our Gazetteer, I think we ought to have some information about each named place so that someone reading it will have a bit of context about what they're seeing.

In real life, most people are familiar with the names of large cities and locally important towns, but we don't have that. For this reason, I think there ought to be a category corresponding to "size." However, the common city-town-village categorization doesn't quite work, for the reasons I've outlined above.
There ought to be four categories: Tiny, Small, Medium, and Large. Settlements under 5,000 people, I think, shouldn't be included except for unusual cases. Tiny settlements would be between ~5,000 and ~40,000, like Montpelier, VT, or Cockburn Town, TC; Small for cities between ~40,000 and ~300,000, like Sept-Iles, QC, Ithaca, NY, or Nassau, Bahamas; Medium for cities between ~300,000 and ~2 million, such as Quebec, QC, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and Buffalo, NY, and Large for cities larger than that, like New York, Montreal, or Santo Domingo.
I give these numbers as approximations, because I don't think there should be hard-and-fast population rules here. Going back to Cleveland, the Cleveland urban area is actually smaller than the Columbus urban area in terms of population, but because of its longer history and the fact that it used to be larger, it gives the impression of being larger. Similarly, a city like Helena, MT, since it's the largest in its area, might be considered "small" instead of "tiny".

Furthermore, someone reading this gazetteer, assuming they don't quite have the patience to find each settlement on a map, should have an idea of how important this town is and, in some cases, the reason for its importance. I think this would be more important in making the ASB into more of a living, breathing country. However, such a qualitative category has the potential to gain an unwieldy number of sub-categories. For this reason, I've limited myself to
-National Capital: New Amsterdam. A unique identifier for the city's unique status.
-State Capital: Self-explanatory. Should be divided into "core" and "non-core," for states whose capitals are not their main city. This applies to most states in the US; for example, Sacramento would be classified as "State Capital, non-core."
-National Core. These are the largest cities, and the most economically active. Cities that everyone in the country knows a whole lot about, like Los Angeles, Boston, or Chicago. They dominate an area spanning several states.
-Regional Core. These cities may or may not be large, but they are certainly the most important in their neck of the woods. Almost everyone in the country has heard of them, but people in other parts of the country may not know much about them. Charlotte, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, and so on. They dominate a medium-sized state, or maybe just a small part of a larger state.
-Local Core. Not the most important city in its state, unless the state is small, but important enough to stand on its own. Providence, Cape Coral, Toledo, Chattanooga, and so on. If non-locals have heard about it, they don't know much beyond the name and location.
-Satellite. This is a suburb or otherwise completely dominated by a larger, nearby city. Cities like Newark, Arlington, or Fort Lauderdale.
-Special. This city is not an economic powerhouse, but it is known for something else that makes it noteworthy. For example, Ithaca would be Special-Education; Nashville would be Special-Music; Atlantic City would be Special-Gambling, Kiryas Joel would be Special-Cultural, Gettysburg would be Special-Historic, and so on. Obviously, nearly every city would fit into this category in some way, so this should be reserved for cities that are known almost exclusively for one thing. Since this is a spreadsheet, it should be limited to a single word.

I don't think it's imperative to have every city classified by size and importance right away; I just think it would be useful to keep track of these things sooner rather than later.
 
The MSA contains areas which are clearly separated from the urban agglomeration surrounding Cleveland, such as Medina, Lorain-Elyria, and Chardon. The associated CSA is termed the Cleveland-Akron-Canton CSA, which includes those three cities and also Sandusky, Ashtabula, Norwalk, and New Philadelphia, none of which would consider themselves part of Cleveland.
Good to know that MSAs can make as little sense in the small-county east as they do out here. In the West, we have enormous stretches of wilderness that are "metropolitan" because whatever agency refuses to split counties.

I think there ought to be a column giving a designation for each place. However, this can get quite unwieldy very quickly.
Gotta second the bolded part. I could see a whole lot of arguments arising over different place's OTL designations, let alone TTL.

There's this thing I've been thinking of doing for a while now, but I've never quite found the time. It'd be a rundown of major/notable cities of OTL with their equivalents ITTL. The "designations" you've been talking about would in some ways be covered: where they differed from OTL, I'd include a little note about it, and otherwise we just assume it's about the same. For less famous places, I might include a note about its OTL situation. This wouldn't be new content so much as a compilation of stuff that's scattered haphazardly across this thread and @False Dmitri's site. Also, I'd like to do it as a series of posts rather than a spreadsheet.

I don't have a huge amount of time right now, but the Gazetteer's sparked some inspiration. I might knock out the first few cities this weekend. I'm stuck at home either way, so why not :p.
 
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