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?