Traveling through the United States soon? Thanks to the Native Americans, you’ll notice a plethora of pretty unique city names. Any guess on how to pronounce Cuyahoga? (Maybe. If you’re from Ohio.) There’s one place name that stumps most people, though… including the people who live on or near it. While not an actually city, this Webster, Massachusetts lake has the longest (and probably hardest to pronounce) one-word place name in the U.S. All together now: Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg.
Pretty sure you messed it up? Don’t fret. Even the city can’t get it right. As a matter of fact, in 2009, Webster made international news when they finally decided to update city signage which misspelled the lake’s name. On the sign, the 45-letter lake name had one “o” where a “u” should be and an “h” where an “n” belonged. When you consider that the name also contains 15 instances of the letter “g.” you really can’t blame the sign maker for the two small screw-ups. To make matters more confusing, there are actually three semi-official spellings of the name.
So, what is the actual longest city name in the U.S.? The title goes to a small town in Michigan called “Village of Grosse Pointe Shores, A Michigan City.” Of course, not all city names have to be the absolute longest to be interesting. For instance, the longest named city in Alaska is called, “Russian Mission.” What?
If you stray outside the U.S. and into foreign territory, the place names get even longer and harder to pronounce. There’s a town in Wales called “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.” With so many consonants, if you don’t know Welsh, your best bet is probably just to avoid trying to pronounce that at all. Been to New Zealand? If so, you might have heard about the infamous hill called, “Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu.” Assuming, that is, you had any idea what they were saying when they tried to pronounce it.
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