General Question

bluemukaki's avatar

Lego is an adjective, so what's all this talk of Legos?

Asked by bluemukaki (4332points) June 28th, 2008

Why do people insist on using Lego as if it is the name of a Lego brick? Where does this come from because its never used like this in official Lego products…

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

23 Answers

peedub's avatar

I think it might have something to do with this.

ebenezer's avatar

peedub- is that Excitabike Lego?

peedub's avatar

Totally man.

Randy's avatar

Well why would they use an adjective to name a product? Seems like they were basically asking people to call them Legos, if you ask me.

@peedub- WOW! Nice!

bluemukaki's avatar

@Randy: Dude that makes no sense.

Magnus's avatar

Lego isn’t an adjective, it means ‘play well’ in danish.

jonno's avatar

Well, not only that, but Lego is actually meant to be written in all-caps – ‘LEGO’ – but no one does that either!

Really, the reason why people use it as a noun is because it’s just easier to use the word ‘Lego’ to mean Lego bricks. I bet no one knows that the word is actually meant to be an adjective – I never realised it until I came across your question here.

b's avatar

This is off the subject, but last night I had a dream where LEGO started selling Blacktron again.

jca's avatar

Lego is also a verb as in Lego my Eggo.

Zaku's avatar

Uhh, because they’re sold to children before the children know much about grammar, and they’re a unique type of object and no other name makes more sense? And in an English context, LEGO is nothing so it may as well be any part of speech? Leggo my LEGO LEGOs or I’ll throw my Eggo at you!

morphail's avatar

The company does not make the rules on usage, speakers of the language do. “Lego” clearly is a noun, because it is pluralized.

Knotmyday's avatar

If were discussing the finer points of the Danish language; how does one say “Danish,” referring to the delicious pastry, in Danish? Or “Butter cookie?” I feel this is just as relevant.

I’ll be playing with my Legos while I await an answer

jonno's avatar

According to Wikipedia:

In Denmark, a Danish pastry is called wienerbrødwiener means Viennese, and brød means bread. This is because apparently Danish pastry is from Vienna – this usage is also reflected in France, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

In Vienna, however, it is known as Kopenhagener Gebäck or Dänischer Plunder, just like in English.

On a sort of related note, I’ve heard before that the phrase “Going Dutch” is called “Going American” in the Netherlands, but I don’t know if this is true or not. Wikipedia says that this is only true in some countries in South America, and in Thailand. In Italy, it is called “paying as they do in Rome”, and in Turkey “to pay the bill the German way”.

bluemukaki's avatar

@morphail: The point is that if you treat Lego as a noun, you are referring to the plural. The word ‘Lego’ is the plural. The word for a piece of Lego is just that, a piece of Lego. There is no such thing as a Lego. There is some Lego, or Lego bricks, but never a Lego.

Lego is an adjective because it is used to enhance a noun, Lego Bricks describe the kind of bricks. In Danish it is a contraction of the phrase “play well” so it’s “play well bricks” or in better English “Postive Play bricks” (or something of the sort), you wouldn’t say look at me holding a “play well”.

Speakers of the language are wrong in this case, the company does define how the word should be used because the company are the ones who introduced the word in the first place.

Zaku's avatar

@bluemukaki – That’s very interesting.

So my answer to your question would be about the linguistic culture of children and of Americans. I’ll resist the temptation to comment about British attitudes to foreign words (I especially won’t talk about the contrast with French ;-) ).

1) As I wrote before, young foreign children don’t get the linguistic concept that the only word provided for this unique toy is the wrong concept and/or part of speech. They need an object word, and there is a handy magic word provided that has no meaning for them if they don’t know any Scandinavian languages. Unlike many Scandinavian words (which do have similar English words), there is no similar-looking word in English except “let go”.

2) America is a land of linguistic frontier savagery, where most foreign languages are unknown and unrespected, and even knowledge of English grammar is weakly taught, even to many older children.

wildflower's avatar

@knotmyday: The pastries have different names depending on type. Most popular are: Wienerbrød (Vienna bread), Kringle (pretzel shape), Spandau (round with custard in the middle) and Snegle (‘snail’). The cookies are just Småkager (small-cakes) or by type, one of the most popular ones being Vanilliekrans (Vanilla-wreath).

bluemukaki's avatar

@Zaku: Too true! I feel that people are only to blame for children speaking incorrectly, I hate that people feel the need to talk in such a condescending way to children.

waterskier2007's avatar

but LEGO is a noun because it describes the lego brick, no matter where it came from it also means the bricks, which are a thing therefore lego is a thing aka a noun

wildflower's avatar

To elaborate on Magnus’ point: The name LEGO is a shortening of ‘leg god/godt’, meaning play good/well. It’s common in Danish to shorten ‘god’ (good) to ‘go’’, so it became leg go and then Lego.

bluemukaki's avatar

I want you to ask the Lego gang for the definitive answer on the plural for Lego bricks. Is it, as we Brits say, simply Lego, or is it, as some Americans insist, Legos?
Actually both the Brits and the Americans are wrong—but are all forgiven! “Lego” is an adjective and is not meant to be a standalone name. It should always be Lego bricks, Lego building, Lego products, etc.”- Lego Representative to Gizmodo in article here.

morphail's avatar

@bluemukaki: So should the French define how words borrowed from French should be used, because they introduced the words in the first place?

The Lego company can try to dictate how the word should be used, but English speakers will use the word however they prefer to use it, like they use every other English word. To say that certain organizations have a right to tell the speakers of a language how to use their own language – that way madness lies.

Here are other English words that came from company names or personal names. Should these companies or people tell us how to use these words?

darwinian, jungian, atlas, august, blimp, cyrillic, bowdlerize, boycott.

wildflower's avatar

At least they were nice enough to make English suggestions. I’m pretty sure most native English speakers would struggle with ‘legoklodser’, ‘legohus’ and ‘legovarer’.

girlofscience's avatar

It’s an adjective that’s become used as a noun. Take “swipe card” for example. (Even though “swipe” is usually a verb, in this context, it is an adjective, describing the type of card.) People at my undergraduate institution often referred to their swipe cards as their “swipes,” as in, “Have you seen my swipe?”

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther