Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Brooklyn grows in Brooklyn

Jonathan Lopes has built a Brooklyn of Legos.

Correction: “of LEGO® blocks.” See Comments.

Thanks, Seth!

comments: 7

Matt said...

Michael - as some of your posts in the past have touched upon language, I'd be interested in your comments on the use of "Legos" instead of the (to my mind, at leasr) more accurate "Lego".

My three and a half year old has lots of lego at home, but he certainly doesn't have lots of legos. And he plays with Lego, not Legos.

One could argue (and I will) that the correct usage here should be "Jonathan Lopes has built a model of Brooklyn out of Lego."

Shorter version: "Jonathan Lopes builds Brooklyn out of Lego."

Nowhere on the Lego.com site do they use the word "Legos" as plural. Lego is singular and plural.

I'm interested in whether this is an American thing, or at least a non UK thing. Any thoughts?

Neil McKeown said...

That boy Matt sounds like he has tpp mush time on his hands.

Michael Leddy said...

Matt, thanks for raising this question. I just looked at documents at the company’s UK and US websites, which have this to say:

“The LEGO brand name should always be written in capital letters

LEGO must never be used as a generic term or in the plural or as a possessive pronoun, e.g. “LEGO’s”.

When the LEGO brand name is used as part of a noun, it must never appear on its own. It should always be accompanied by a noun. For example, LEGO set, LEGO products, LEGO Group, LEGO play materials, LEGO bricks, LEGO universe, etc.

The first time the LEGO brand name appears it must be accompanied by the Registered symbol ®.”

So I suppose I should have written “a Brooklyn of LEGO® blocks.” When my kids were younger, we played with these blocks often, and they were always Legos, period. So I’m going to preserve that non-corporate-approved usage in my post.

As you might guess, there’s an ongoing debate about LEGO/Lego at Wikipedia.

Michael Leddy said...

Neil, I didn’t see your comment until after I posted mine. I wonder what you’d say about me. :)

I do think LEGO® poses an interesting question about corporate branding and usage.

Daughter Number Three said...

Personally, I refuse to cooperate with any company that insists its name be rendered in all caps, unless it's an acronym. It is a typographic abomination, an imposition, and a myopic, insider's insistence that is not customer-focused.

I also refuse to put in any ® symbols unless I am writing formal copy for a print use, or for a web use on a company or organization's official site. Never in any type of personal writing unless, like James Lileks, you are joking about your Child®.

I am more sympathetic to the company's wish for people to say Lego bricks, etc., rather than Legos, but even there, they should just embrace the fact that their product is iconic and be sure to require the capital L at the beginning, but nothing more.

Michael Leddy said...

Well said!

I’d guess that they have the histories of “coke” and “kleenex” in mind. But I still want to say that forming a plural is the people’s right. Priuses, says I.

Seth Raab said...

And that's why I use Mega Blocks. So much easier to write about. ;)