We aren’t usually surprised if the spelling of a place name diverges from how we pronounce the name today. This often happens because of major sound changes long ago. But I recently came across a spelling that shortened radically less than 200 years ago. The name of the southern English seaside town Brighton was still…… Continue reading Brighthelmstone by the sea
The Snowdonia National Park Authority decided in November 2022 to use the Welsh names Yr Wyddfa (for the mountain Snowdon) and Eryri (for the region of Snowdonia). This will apply ‘in both Welsh and English contexts’. https://snowdonia.gov.wales/paper-on-place-names-principles-approved-in-order-to-safeguard-and-celebrate-welsh-place-names-within-the-national-park/ According to a press report, the Authority will: in Welsh correspondence, use only Welsh names; in English texts,…… Continue reading Goodbye Snowdon, hello Yr Wyddfa
Collins Dictionary has selected permacrisis as Collins Word of the Year 2022 (for English). Collins defines it as ‘an extended period of instability and insecurity, especially one resulting from a series of catastrophic events’. This is one of 10 words Collins highlights. They all relate to continuing crises faced by the UK and the world.…… Continue reading Collins words of 2022
The Welsh national football teams have always been known internationally by the English name Wales. According to news reports this week, the Welsh Football Association now intends to change the teams’ official name to the Welsh name Cymru. The Welsh FA plans to make this change after the men’s World Cup in Qatar, which starts…… Continue reading Rebranding the Welsh national football teams
An English commercial property lawyer from Manchester has drafted a set of legal covenants that property vendors can insert in property sale contracts to prevent buyers replacing the Welsh name of the house or place. He did this after becoming incensed about the name of farmland called Banc Cornicyll (‘ridge for lapwing or for plover’).…… Continue reading Keeping Welsh place names
In their 1983 book, The meaning of Liff, Douglas Adams and John Lloyd created new words for ‘common experiences, feelings, situations and even objects for which no words exist’. All the words are place names: ‘spare words which spend their time doing nothing but loafing around on signposts pointing at places’. Here are 5 examples:…… Continue reading Meaning of Liff
What do you call the principal shopping street in a town? I’ve always thought of the High Street as distinctively British but Main Street as distinctively American. There are, though, some Main Streets in parts of England. I recently came across some in the north of Nottinghamshire, for example in the villages or hamlets of…… Continue reading Main Street or High Street?
A village on the island of Anglesey in North Wales is famous for having the longest place name in the British Isles. Reciting the full name was the favourite party trick of a boy who was in my class in the first year of secondary school. Name and history This is the name: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllandysiliogogogoch English…… Continue reading That Welsh place with the long name
Transport for London finally opened the Elizabeth Line today. It is only 3½ years late and £4 billion over budget. And this after TfL and the project managers announced proudly 6 months before the originally planned opening date that this project was a unique example of how large-scale public works really could be delivered on…… Continue reading The Elizabeth Line line and Battersea Power Station station
On a train from Paris to Lausanne in 2018, we came across the world’s most inconsiderately named rail junction. The train crew told some Chinese tourists they would need to change at Frasnes. (The first ‘s’ is silent.) They kept thinking they were being told to change in France.