Le présent billet a été rédigé par Jonathan Goldberg, que je remercie. Une traduction en français sera publiée prochainement sur ce blog.
My mother, who spoke Welsh, used to declaim the name of a small town in Wales, which she said was the longest place name in the world:
On a recent visit to Wales, I visited the town, whose name means St. Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool of St Tysillio of the red cave.
My mother’s claim was accurate when comparing names of towns, but according to the Guinness Book of World Records, which compares all place names, the 58-letter name of the little Welsh village is only number two in the list of all long location names. It is trumped by the 85-letter name of a hill in the North Island of New Zealand:
This Maori name means: The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one.
In the competition for the world’s shortest place names, there are many contenders. There are several municipalities in Norway with the name Å. There are rivers, castles and mountains in France, England, Japan, the United States, Denmark and other countries with a single letter. For example, Y is the name of a commune in the department of Somme.
Amongst the most humorous place names are Frogsuck in Wyoming and its sister towns Toadsuck in Arkansas. To see some funny signs, click here.