English placenames
June 16, 2006 2:55 PM   Subscribe

What are some placenames that are recognizably English-language in places that are definitely non-English? The only example I can think of is Bluefields, Nicaragua.

I mean place names that are official and used by the locals, so something like "Camp Wolfpack" in Iraq wouldn't count.

Other striking uses of placename in other languages would be interesting. There's no need to recite all the Spanish placenames in the Southwest U.S. and French placenames in Canada. Are ALL Japanese town names of a Japanese origin? Are ALL French town names of French origin? To my (limited) knowledge, it seems that way.
posted by chef_boyardee to Society & Culture (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Incidentally, I recently met a man from Bluefields. Turns out that the Carribbean coast of Nicaragua was initially settled by the British, and that they speak English there.

So your one example doesn't really fit what you are looking for.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:58 PM on June 16, 2006

One answer to the original question.

Dikson, in Siberia.

Two answers to the broadened question

Trelew, Argentina - founded by Welsh immigrants.

I don't know if Togliatti, Russia is cheating, since it was named in the Soviet days for an Italian Communist.

Are ALL French town names of French origin?
Biarritz definitely sounds Basque and is in the right place for it to be, too. Marseille and Nice are Frenchified Latin names, but then French can be considered Frenchified Latin!
posted by xetere at 3:25 PM on June 16, 2006

Victoria Falls.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:26 PM on June 16, 2006

Trinidad and Tobago has an amusing an amusing mish-mash of town names.
posted by fleacircus at 3:38 PM on June 16, 2006

posted by fleacircus at 3:38 PM on June 16, 2006

Butterworth, Malaysia.
posted by borkingchikapa at 3:39 PM on June 16, 2006

English names in Quebec, like Lennoxville. (Also native names in Canada, like Shawinigan, Madawaska, Saskatchewan.)
posted by joeclark at 3:53 PM on June 16, 2006

England has quite a range of foreign-language names, mostly French:

* Beaulieu (Hampshire) and Bewley (Wilts)
* Belsize Park in London was originally Belle Assise.
* California (in Norfolk, Suffolk, Birmingham, Falkirk and Stirling)
* Etruria (Staffordshire)
* America, Shropshire ("Danger Area" according to the OS map)
* Furneux (Hertfordshire)
* Lots of places with 'le' in the name (Chester-le-Street, Hamble-le-Rice, Newton-le-Willows)
* Chesham Bois (Bucks) and Theydon Bois (Essex)

One that looks foreign but isn't is Hainault (Essex), which is not named after the area of Belgium, but is a contraction of Hynd Holt.

And, of course, there are all those marvellous Cornish names in Cornwall: Perranzabuloe, Crows-an-Wra, Barripper, Perranuthnoe, Gwinear, Carharrack, Trevarrian, Polmassick, Nanstallon, and (my favourite) Praze-an-Beeble.
posted by athenian at 3:57 PM on June 16, 2006

I think just about any colonial establishment of the English that later became a larger city has preserved it's "non-local" name. Georgetown, Malaysia, for example. San Pablo, Philippines. East London, South Africa. Etc.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:01 PM on June 16, 2006

Er, and I know the British didn't colonize the Philippines. :) My point still stands.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:02 PM on June 16, 2006

Not place names but there are many soccer teams that have English names. In Italy, for example, the Milan teams are called Milan and not Milano, Genoa is called Genoa and not Genova, etc. In Argentina there are Boca Juniors, Newell's Old Boys, River Plate and others. I am sure that the same applies in other non-English-speaking countries.
posted by TheRaven at 4:06 PM on June 16, 2006

posted by goo at 5:00 PM on June 16, 2006

As C_D said, but the first one I thought of was Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.
posted by jtron at 5:29 PM on June 16, 2006

Japanese place names in British Columbia: Oyama, Ikeda.
posted by Rumple at 5:51 PM on June 16, 2006

A group of towns and villages in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan merged a couple of years ago into a city. The new name is Minami Alupusu-shi (in Romanizes Japanese) - Minami Alps City.

The Alps part is written in katana, the script Japanese uses for loan-words. I lived there at the time, and people kept talking about how it was the first city in Japan to use katana in the name.
posted by ArsncHeart at 6:05 PM on June 16, 2006

One of my favorite strange uses of names is two counties in Massachusetts: Norfolk and Suffolk. The names are taken from British regions, of course, but what's odd is that Norfolk county is south of Suffolk county.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:20 PM on June 16, 2006

A few years ago, many cities in Japan merged to become bigger ones (financial and efficiency reasons, to put it really simply), and a Minami Alps City came into existence (South Alps City). As I recall, it was the first city (shi) in Japan that officially used a katakana place name (in other words, a word that's not inherently Japanese, in this case, "alps"). Since then, a few others along similar lines have been named, I think, but on the whole, my impression is that many Japanese people still have an aversion to such place names, and prefer to use names that have historical significance or Japanese meaning. (Last year, when an international airport near Nagoya opened, the city that it's located in was very close to becoming Centrair City, from the name of the airport created by jamming the words "central" and "air" together. But the residents hated the idea and voted against it by a landslide and the plan never came to be.)
posted by misozaki at 1:42 AM on June 17, 2006

Are there any Welsh speakers in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania?
posted by macdara at 2:39 AM on June 17, 2006

In south Bohemia somewhere there's a Paris (Paříž) and a New York (Nový York) - though they're really just two tiny clusters of houses on the highway whose owners have a typical Czech sense of humour, so I suppose it doesn't count. Cute, though.
posted by xanthippe at 3:52 AM on June 17, 2006

There's an "American Mura" in Osaka, and an "America Mura" in Wakayama, with western-style homes built by fisherman returned from living in Canada and the U.S. There is a Sunny Town near here in Ibaraki City. In short, there are a lot of english place names in japan.
posted by planetkyoto at 4:06 AM on June 17, 2006

There's an area in the Buenos Aires barrio of Palermo called "Palermo Hollywood".
posted by candyland at 5:37 AM on June 17, 2006

« Older How do I patent a jump-to-conclusions mat type...   |   Bio info about designer Friedrich Hermann Ernst... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.