Monday, December 01, 2008

What's in a name

As mentioned once or twice before, sometimes at work non first language English speakers ask me questions about English. I always try to help and explain as best I can, but often I am forced to just tell them, that is how it is. There is no reason why it is like that.

One recently asked me why Warragul and Warrigal are differently spelt. Here are a few more that come to my mind.

Warragul and Warrigal

Armadale and Armidale

Surry Hills and Surrey Hills

Waverly and Waverley

Any more to add?


  1. Broadmeadow (Newcastle) and Broadmeadows (Melbourne).

  2. Williamtown (NSW?) and Williamstown, Vic. How's that. Golly, no wonder all his darlings get confused when dreaming of Uncle RH.

  3. Balaclava (Vic) and Balaklava (SA).

  4. Baklava and Balaclava must be quite confusing to our turkish friends ... and to bank security chaps.

    ... oh sorry that was SO bad!

    Much as it galls me to say it, there is one pronunciation issue where the Septics have gotten things right and don't confuse non first language English speakers.

    Potato and tomato.

    That said, one swallow does not a mynah bird make ... or something totally unike that.

  5. Different spellings came about with barely literate quill pushers writing the names down as they heard them, mostly guessing at the spellings.

  6. Three more on the list. Thank you.

    Whachoo talking about Tezza? I say potarto. And never walk into a bank with baklava on your head, lest there be a verbal misunderstanding among the staff.

    Jayne, most of these would be because of what you suggest.

  7. Altoona, Altona!

  8. In PA Ian? Suppose it is allowed.

  9. Ah yes, in PA, frames of reference surely must be global in this day and age?, though there is a wine on the market here in the States labeled Altoona Hills, South Australia of which I can find no reference of other than the winery, so maybe that place doesn't exist other than on wine labels in America.

  10. I cannot find it either Ian. I will go out on a limb and suggest that the name of the winery was a marketing ploy for the US.