how is it decided what names countries, town and cities have in different languages?

“What shall we call Praha?”
“Not into that ‘ha’ bit at the end, let’s call it Prague instead.”
“Ok, next up is Brno.”
“That one’s fine. Next.”
“What is that, wine? Ween? Hate it, Vienna. Next.”
“Wiener Neustadt.”
“Fine, keep it…”


I still call it Pons Aelius. I like to keep things old school.

Remember somebody posted that clip of Paxman pronouncing Don Quixote like “quicks oat” and we’re all having a very nice time laughing at him, tosser that he is. But somebody in the youtube comments had his back trying to claim that Pax was using the traditional English pronunciation because like when the text first made it over to Britain everybody just said it how it was spelled, and it was seen as buffoonish until quite recently to actually pronounce things properly and not just how English people decided it should sound based on the text. And you read that and you’re like ffs there’s just an absolutely infinite supply of really great reasons to hate the English.

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‘Traditional’ can of course fuck off because it’s definitely one of a number that have changed the years. Although, I don’t think we can hold it against people reading a word like that four hundred years ago and just assuming it was pronounced like other English words. I’m sure that’s happened all over Europe loads.

One annoyance for me is that we’ve got ‘quixotic’ from Quixote and no one has ever (that I am aware) pronounced that ‘keyotic’ nor are they likely to so once you say Quixote as close to Spanish as possible, quixotic becomes inconsistent.

I hate that Theydon Bois is pronounced the way it is. Don’t know if that’s relevant.

We also have a Beaulieu Park round here which everyone pronounces bew-lee. Hate it

Everywhere we goooooo
Everywhere we goooooo
It’s the

Making all the noise
Everywhere we goooooo


Wow! One for the slow to realise thread this. I always assumed it was pronounced in the same way as the name. Had to check the dictionary to see if you were joking, but you’re not.


This has long interested/confused me, thank you for making a thread about it.

Thought it was interesting when Russia invaded Ukraine that there was a swift change to using Kyiv rather than Kiev.

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In those cases you’ve described, you’re right that the “y” version is more common, but my point was that for Nijmegen it’s the inverse. I’ve almost never seen Nymegen written anywhere, even though it should have the same ubiquity in theory.

Nijmegen results on BBC news: 105 hits
Nymegen hits on BBC news: 0 hits

The whole thing is wildly inconsistent.

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I think my favourite example of a city name being different in another language is Edinburgh being called Edimburgo in Spanish.


or Edinboro in America

They call Glasgow Glass Cow. Maybe they think there’s some crystal cow sculpture there.


Moss Cow for Russia as well, which makes it sound kinda bucolic

This is my first ever time using the word “bucolic”, feedback welcome

thanks but what i’m seeing in this thread are a lot of examples and not many answers


I like to pronounce Penge as if it were French. And therein lies your answer: people call places what they damn well please, wherever they happen to Lviv.