Date: Thu, 3 Mar 1994 07:58:32 -0800
From: David Prager Branner charmii[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Subject: Re: Local pron. of toponyms
In Chinese dialects you often find placenames whose MEANING and
not only phonology are totally different in dialect from those of the
characters used to write them in the "standard" (?) language. This is
more complicated than "Avenue of the Americas" in Manhattan being called
"Sixth Avenue". For instance, the city of Longyan ("dragon-rock") is actually
called "dragon-forest" in older Longyan dialect, as well as in Amoy.
[liong2-na~2], instead of *[liong2-ngam2]. The nearby town of Longmen
("dragon-gate") is called by this learned name, [liong2-mui~2], everywhere
but in the town itself, where it is known as [lium2-mui~2] "the Lium2
(Mandarin Lin2) family gate". There must be hundreds of examples like this in
every prefecture, though Chinese have not studied them very much.
Does anybody know of comparable examples in English?