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I saw these billboards today:

enter image description here

Turkey home of Istanbul
Turkey home of Nemrut

Nemrut is a mountain in Turkey with prehistoric monuments, and I think home of is the new slogan for Turkey.

My instincts shouted: "Turkey, home of Istanbul" was wrong, it didn't sound right. It felt it should be "Turkey, home to Istanbul", especially if the sentence is indicating a city. Of course I asked Google to see whether home of or home to was more often used for cities. And home to is more common.

For instance:

  • France, home of Paris
  • France, home to Paris

My instincts tell me "France, home to Paris" and "France, home of the Eiffel Tower" are both correct usages, but "France, home of Paris" does not sound correct. Google concurs, "France, home to Paris" is more frequent.

Perhaps the determiner makes a difference? If the sentence was "Turkey, home of the Turks", it would be correct; but, without the determiner, "Turkey, home of Turks" wouldn't be correct usage, but "Turkey, the home of Turks" might be; the, the determiner, dictating the preposition.

I feel "Turkey, home of" is therefore a bad slogan because some contexts will call for "Turkey, home of", while others will necessitate "Turkey, home to".

Which one do you think is the correct usage? Is there some kind of rule for this? Are my instincts on to something?

  • My initial response is that either would be correct - I don't have a problem with either Turkey: Home to/of Istanbul/Nemrut. Is there any reason you think it's incorrect? Also, a google search isn't the best way in this case, as you may be picking up different syntactic frames. – jimsug May 9 '14 at 6:58
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I'm not convinced by either "Home of X" or "Home to X" when X is a geographical location. People, sports teams, orchestras, animals, plants, even companies... sure, those can all be X.

But when X is a city or a mountain, the message that screams out at me the loudest is "I was written by someone who thinks their English is much better than it actually is!"

It's much more logical for a city to be the home of/to an organization or some type of (living) organism than for a country to be the home of that city. In my view, a city is simply too multifarious, too much its own creation, and too independent an entity to be capable of being successfully shoehorned into the concept of a larger 'home'.

I just can't imagine, for instance, the English Tourist Board promoting their country's capital with this slogan:

England. Home of London.

Whoever devised the Turkey slogans would have done a lot better if they'd come up with something along these lines instead:

Turkey. Land of Nemrut

and

Turkey. Where Istanbul welcomes you

Of course, in another context "Home to London" does have a meaning, but an entirely different one:

"Come on kids! It's time to get back in the car! Home to London!"

  • This is an advertisement. By using "home to/of Istanbul" they try to make "Istanbul" sound smaller/cosier and more welcoming while making turkey more homely, and thus also more welcoming. "Turkey. Land of Nemrut" may evoke a "and who on earth is Nemrut? Do I care?" and "Turkey. Where Istanbul welcomes you" - "who is Istanbul? Do I want him to welcome me?". "home to/of Istanbul" - "I don't know (or care) who Istanbul is, but hey it's a 'home' - 'home' is positive" – msam May 9 '14 at 7:55
  • 1) If your contention is that nobody knows or cares who or what Nemrut is, then "Turkey. Home to Nemrut" is just as meaningless as "Turkey. Land of Nemrut". 2) Almost every adult who has the necessary intelligence to be able to turn on a TV can surely be expected to know what Istanbul is. – Erik Kowal May 9 '14 at 9:05
  • no contention, just pointing out that "marketing speech" is not always logical and relies on keywords such as "home". "home" is welcoming , "land" might be used to show "grandness"; I've seen "Egypt: Land of the Pharaohs". Indeed, most people should know what Istanbul is, so they will know it's a huge city, and huge cities aren't normally associated with welcoming. That puts 2 contrasting images: "big city" and "welcoming", in the same phrase. Not saying it can't be used, it's just a different option. – msam May 9 '14 at 9:20

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