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.
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision describes itself as the primary global standard setter for bank regulation. It is based in Basel, Switzerland. When I first started work, the usual English name for the Committee contained the spelling Basle, rather than the German spelling Basel. Pronunciation Oddly, though, although the English spelling contains an <s>,…… Continue reading Is the Committee in Basel or Basle?
In a recent short break in Chester, I learnt that it is easy to confuse the Welsh names of Chester and of another town 130 miles away in Wales. It can be hard to decipher medieval texts when it is not clear which of these two important sites is under discussion. Chester Chester stands at…… Continue reading Confusing name for Chester
Here is a link to a map of German in which the place names have all been translated into pseudo-English. Some I particularly like: Frankford-on-the-Other = Frankfurt an der OderColne = Cologne / KölnCosersludder = Kaiserslautern (I’ve been told the American troops stationed near Kaiserslautern call it K-Town.)Charlesrow = KarlsruheSlot Newswanston = Schloss NeuschwansteinBath-Wirdberry =…… Continue reading Anglicised Germany
UK news organisations have reported the outcome of a centuries-long dispute about how to pronounce the name of the river 10th longest river in the UK. People in Northampton pronounce the name Nene as Nen. People in Peterborough pronounce the same written form Neen. The croquet teams in the two towns decided to use their…… Continue reading How do you say the name of that river?