[Tagging] Creating shop=caravan

Kevin Kenny kevin.b.kenny at gmail.com
Mon Jan 14 01:15:10 UTC 2019

On Sun, Jan 13, 2019 at 7:54 PM Dave Swarthout <daveswarthout at gmail.com> wrote:
> Nope, a mobile home is not the same as an RV or travel_trailer. Have a look at the illustrations on the Wikipedia page. It is, as the Wikipedia definition says, a prefabricated structure meant for permanent living. It has wheels, hence the mobile part of its name but it's moved very infrequently, sometimes only from the factory to its location inside of a, here's another American term, trailer park.

In fact, it's not at all uncommon that one of these, on arrival in a
trailer park, will be jacked, lowered onto piers, and have its wheels
and axles removed. That way, it's not resting on its tyres and having
them go out of round. If it needs to be moved again, a set of axles,
brakes and wheels can be reattached.

> An aside: As I consider this thread and the problems we're having with terminology I came to the realization that most countries don't have such things as we do in the U.S. Some of the motorhomes you see on American highways are behemoths based on a full-size bus chassis, powered by big rear-mounted diesel engines. I'd be willing to bet that no other country has anything even approaching the sheer size of these things. And they are quite common here. And are they expensive? Yep. 100 to 200K USD and up.

And the self-propelled or fifth-wheel 'motorhome' that Dave just used
in that paragraph isn't the 'mobile home' that would be
(semi-)permanently installed in a trailer park. There are many people
who live permanently in the units that are drivable, though. Often
they take seasonal employment in construction or toourism and move the
unit a couple of times a year to where the work is. They may rent a
space in a trailer park, or at a campground, or simply set up in the
parking lot of a Wal-Mart and occasionally visit a campground to take
on water and pump out sewage. Other more wealthy individuals might own
such a behemoth to spend holidays in, and count part of its expense
against the expense of a hotel room and restaurant meals (and the
drawbacks of restaurant meals versus home-cooked ones).

> Anyway, how best to describe the plethora of such vehicles, in the U.S. especially where they are so common, in one word? The term motorhome fits such monsters and works for many other smaller vehicles like your garden variety Winnebagos and extended van conversions but cannot describe unpowered trailers or, in British vernacular, caravans.

Just to be a little pedantic, 'motorhome' would also fit the big
fifth-wheel units towed behind a monstrous great pickup - or at least
the truck-trailer combination. Once you've outfitted a pickup chassis
with the fifth wheel, the brake lines, the auxiliary transmission oil
cooler, and the electrical system, you've pretty much created a
special-purpose vehicle for towing the thing! And that's before you
get into the ones that need a diesel semi.

Most Americans would not recognize that 'van' is an abbreviation of
'caravan' nor recognize a 'caravan' as being anything but a camel
train or a group of marching refugees. And most Britons would be
puzzled that American 'van's are always self-propelled.

> Where do we go from here?

Recognize that Brittania and her colonies are sundered by a common
language, and that the crazy Yanks need some words that are never
heard in the UK - to describe vehicles that are never seen in the UK.
The mandate to use UK English in tags breaks down when UK English
lacks the vocabulary!

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