What kind of name is "Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu"?! For this week's RANDOM WEDNESDAY column, we bring you some of the longest (and kind of weird) place names from all over the world.
1. Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, a hill located in New Zealand
It may seem like a long jumble of random letters to you and me, but Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu is actually the Māori name for a hill in North Island, New Zealand.
At 85 letters, it has been listed in the Guiness World Records as the longest official place name in the world.
The name translates loosely to "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".
If you're wondering how the name is pronounced, listen here.
2. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, a village in Wales, Britain
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (a.k.a. Llanfair PG) is a village situated on the island of Anglesey in Wales, Britain. The name earned its place in the Guiness Book of Records for being the place with the longest place name in Europe.
Invented in the 1860s by a local tailor as a publicity stunt to develop the village as a commercial and tourist centre, the name means "St Mary's church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the fierce whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio of the red cave" in Welsh.
The sign above provides an approximate guide of pronunciation for English speakers. Sounds simple enough, but due to the nature of Welsh phonetics and pronunciations, the proper way to say the name might sound completely different from what you think it is.
3. Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, a lake in Massachusetts, US
Containing 45 letters, Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg is often cited as the longest place name in the United States. It also known as a slightly shorter version, Lake Chaubunagungamaug.
The name is so bizarre that even the authorities couldn’t spell it. Many road signs pointing to Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg have spelling mistakes in them, like the one above.
Today, the lake is more commonly known as Webster Lake, but some (including many residents of Webster), take pride in reeling off the longer versions.
The lake's name comes from Nipmuc, an Algonquian language from a subfamily of the Native Americans, and is believed to mean, "Fishing Place at the Boundaries - Neutral Meeting Grounds".
4. This is going to blow your mind. The official name for Bangkok is actually - wait for it - Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit
With a whooping 176 letters (!!!), Bangkok's full ceremonial name came into use during the reign of King Mongkut Its full ceremonial name, which came into use during the reign of King Mongkut in the mid-19th century.
In Thai, the name is written as "กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยา มหาดิลกภพ นพรัตนราชธานีบูรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์". Listen to the full pronunciation here.
The name, composed of Pali and Sanskrit root words, translates as "City of angels, great city of immortals, magnificent city of the nine gems, seat of the king, city of royal palaces, home of gods incarnate, erected by Visvakarman at Indra's behest."
Thai school children are taught the full name, although few can explain its meaning as many of the words are archaic, and known to few.
5. Tweebuffelsmeteenskootmorsdoodgeskietfontein, a farm in the North West province of South Africa
The name Tweebuffelsmeteenskootmorsdoodgeskietfontein follows a format typical of Afrikaans place names in South Africa, meaning "The spring where two buffaloes were killed with a single shot" in Afrikaans.
The literal translation is "Twee buffels" = "Two buffaloes", "met een skoot" = "with one shot"; "morsdood" = "stone dead"; "geskiet" = "shot"; "fontein" = "spring (river source)" or "fountain".
At 44 letters, is it the longest one-word place name in Africa.
6. Äteritsiputeritsipuolilautatsijänkä, a bog region in Lapland, Finland
35 letters long, Äteritsiputeritsipuolilautatsijänkä is the longest place name in Finland and the 2nd longest in Europe.
Although the name has been confirmed as genuine, no one seems to know what the it means apart from the word "jänkä" ("bog" in Finnish). It is possible that the name was probably never intended to be anything else other than alliterative gibberish.
A pub in Salla was named Äteritsiputeritsipuolilautatsi-baari after this bog region. According to an anecdote, the owner of the pub tried two different names for it, but both had already been taken. Frustrated, he registered the pub under a name he knew no one else would be using. The pub also has the longest name of a registered commercial establishment in Finland. The bar was in practice known as Äteritsi-baari. The pub was closed in April 2006.wikipedia.org
7. Pekwachnamaykoskwaskwaypinwanik, a lake in Manitoba, Canada
Located just southeast of Red Sucker Lake in northeastern Manitoba, Pekwachnamaykoskwaskwaypinwanik has the longest place name in Canada with 31 letters.
According to John Robert Colombo’s book 1001 Questions About Canada, the name is Cree for “where the wild trout are caught by fishing with hooks.”
8. Venkatanarasimharajuvaripeta Railway Station in Andhra Pradesh, India
Venkatanarasimharajuvaripeta, also known as its longer version Venkatanarasimha Rajuvaripet, has the distinction of having the longest name among all train stations on the Indian Railway system.
In Telugu, the name simply translates to "Venkatanarasimharaju's city". It is sometimes referred to with the prefix "Sri", or by its actual longer name "Venkata Narasimha Raju vari Bahadur vari Peta".
9. Mamungkukumpurangkuntjunya Hill in South Australia
Believed to be the longest official one-word placename in Australia with 26 letters, Mamungkukumpurangkuntjunya means "where the devil urinates" in the regional Pitjantjatjara language.
10. Gasselterboerveenschemond, a hamlet in the Dutch province of Drenthe, Netherlands
With 25 characters, Gasselterboerveenschemond is the longest place name of the Netherlands that is written as one word. It is also a mere one character longer than Gasselternijveenschemond, which is only a few kilometres away.
Listen here for pronunciation.
Random fact: On 18 July 2011 there was a huge fire in the only chickenfarm of Gasselterboerveenschemond, in which 170.000 chickens died.
11. Dolores Hidalgo Cuna de la Independencia Nacional, a municipality in Guanajuato, Mexico
More commonly referred to as Dolores Hidalgo, the municipality's full name Dolores Hidalgo Cuna de la Independencia Nacional actually means "Dolores Hidalgo Cradle of National Independence".
The city was a small town known simply as Dolores when Father Miguel Hidalgo uttered his famous cry for the independence of Mexico (the Grito de Dolores) there in the early hours of September 16, 1810, in front of his parish church. After Mexico achieved independence, the town was renamed Dolores Hidalgo in his honor.
12. Muckanaghederdauhaulia, a townland in the civil parish of Kilcummin in County Galway, Ireland
Muckanaghederdauhaulia is derived from its original Irish name "Muiceanach idir Dhá Sháile", meaning "ridge, shaped like a pig's back, between two expanses of briny water".
It was formerly regarded as the longest place name (in English) in Ireland (22 letters), but awareness of longer names has challenged Muckanaghederdauhaulia.
In Life: A User's Manual by Georges Perec, it is one of the ports visited and painted by the character Bartlebooth, who believes it to be the longest port name in the world. An 1830s boundary survey uses the spelling Mwickanaghedderauhaulia, which is 23 letters long.wikipedia.org