Talk:Places with unusual names

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Developing this article[edit]

Imagine if we could have this one as FTT someday :D But in that case the article sure needs more to it than just a list of places. I'm wondering what more we should add to the article, I already created an Understand and a Respect section. Perhaps a Buy section with notable souvenirs from places with unusual names? ϒpsilon (talk) 16:57, 11 August 2017 (UTC)

I know that "I love Intercourse" hats are popular among visitors to Lancaster County, and apparently you can get bumper stickers in Llanfair PG and "Hell freezes over" postcards in Hell (Norway). I'm also reminded of the "I ❤️ BJ" shirts you can buy in Beijing, although that doesn't quite fit this article. I think at least postcards and these kinds of playful joke-y souvenirs would be worth mentioning. —Granger (talk · contribs) 11:17, 12 August 2017 (UTC)
The article is already usable! Perhaps markers and a dynamic map are the next thing to be added. ϒpsilon (talk) 05:30, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

Bland, Australia[edit]

I know that Dull and Boring have an established town twinning and also hold "Dull & Boring days" but has Bland joined in on the fun? Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:11, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

I looked in the internet and found this: Griffindd (talk) 13:45, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

Should we add names that are funny in the local language?[edit]

I know some of those are based on being funny in English (and not necessarily anything out of the ordinary for locals) but what about place names that are funny in the local language or unusual for locals? Weidmannsgesees (Waidmann = old word for hunter Gesäß = "polite" term for the lower backside) anybody? Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:10, 22 August 2017 (UTC)

Hunter's Buttocks? We usually prefer direct language to euphemism, to ensure the meaning is clear. K7L (talk) 15:26, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
I added Grand Teton a while ago. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:06, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Respectful listings?[edit]

I get why some destinations have names that might sound humorous to some when compared to a similar sounding English word.

I have to question though why names such as Ouagadougou are listed. Surely that is just making fun of the local language? Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:23, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

I agree with your point in the example you give. I also find the Malaysian/Indonesian names with "Air" in them stupid. "Air" in Malay/Indonesian is pronounced like the English word "I" and means "water". Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:00, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
I still do think the "Air" destinations sound funny. :( --ϒpsilon (talk) 05:39, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
Why is Solo such a funny-sounding name? I mean, maybe if it were "Chamber Group", but Solo? Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:05, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Also, if you all really think every multi-syllabic name with repetition or assonance sounds strange, that's kind of chauvinist in the original sense, or at least prejudiced against foreign languages (consider the Australian examples as being from Aboriginal languages), but they're very common in Malayo-Polynesian languages and beyond. You'll never find all of them, but you can start with Pago Pago, Bora Bora, Molepelole, Kankakee, Ho-Ho-Kus...Are these all so unusual? What is a reasonable scope for this article, even though it's lighthearted? Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:41, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
"Solo" is also a word meaning "alone", as in "going solo". I think if it were the actual name of the place it would definitely be worth including; since it's just the nickname, I'm not sure. —Granger (talk · contribs) 10:47, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
As for "Kakamega" at least in German the first two syllables are used to mean the end-product of the digestive tract and "mega" can mean great or grand, so to a German at least it might seem mildly humorous (which is of course the maximum extent which German humor ever reaches) Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:03, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, folks, I didn't realise there was a discussion here before I removed Ouagadougou and Kakamega; if someone wants to restore them until the discussion is complete, go ahead. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 14:33, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

(unindent) Frankly, I've been wrestling with myself for a while on the question of whether this article should exist. Beyond mere cultural or linguistic insensitivity, isn't "unusualness" an inherently subjective factor? God help us if this article should ever come to the level of attention that English language varieties has, or else it would just be a miasma of endless, pointless debates over whether such-and-such a name is really all that unusual. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 14:37, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Yes, unusualness is subjective, but I expect there are lots of things, places, customs that are described as "unusual" on Wikivoyage. That's just a product of the cultural biases each writer has. If we want to tackle that, there should be something more broad-brush than just deleting a single article.
However, wanting to avoid the level of interest English language varieties gets is a very bad reason for deleting this. The "miasma" (is that all our opinions are worth?) from lots of editors got it to the stage where it was worthy of being an FTT. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 14:48, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
It's not that hard to deconstruct every single entry on the list, one by one, if you want to. But if this is the way people look at the article and the topic (and per this discussion it apparently is), the question is why we should keep it in the first place?
Of course, if this article is deleted, the poor IP editors would need to find other articles to water down. --ϒpsilon (talk) 16:59, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Yes, every Wikivoyager has their cultural biases, but on the other hand this is the only article I can think of where the topic itself - the criteria for inclusion of any given content - is entirely based on the whims of those biases. The question remains: who's to say what's "unusual"? There have never been any American bison living in Western New York since the dawn of recorded history yet there's a city there named after them; does that mean Buffalo should be listed in this article? What about Salt Lake City, which is located a good twenty miles away from the shore of its namesake lake? And hey, don't Mississippi, Tallahassee, and Winnemucca kind of sound funny? These are all pretty flimsy arguments, sure, but every place name probably sounds unusual to somebody, and unless we're going to throw open the floodgates for every place under the sun to get mentioned here, we have to (and, if you scroll up on this talk page, you'll see that we're already beginning to) descend into the inevitable debates about whether this place name or that place name truly qualifies as unusual. By the very nature of the topic, it's something for which there will never be an objective litmus test, and so it's a recipe for, yes, a miasma.
And I say "miasma" not to devalue others' opinions, but to signify my next point, which is that even if we were to somehow all come to an agreement on what constitutes an unusual place name, the very act of engaging in the debate and coming to the agreement still has no practical purpose vis-à-vis the end user. At least when all is said and done, English language varieties contains information that's of practical use to travellers. Contrast that with the question of in what possible way would the experience of a visitor to, say, Ouagadougou be affected by the fact that some people find its name funny? Assuming I do find the name funny, what enjoyment would I get out of actually visiting the place that I wouldn't have gotten by simply spotting it on a map and snickering to myself? Perhaps Fucking, Austria, whose "Welcome To..." road sign on the outskirts of town is a popular place for gratuitous gag selfies, but that's honestly the only example I can think of. Frankly, I would argue that this article is, at best, trivial and of dubious usefulness to travellers, smacks of cultural insensitivity at worst, and if it were ever nominated for FTT, I would vote "oppose" for those reasons.
-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 17:32, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo... until about 1795 or so.
There were buffalo not far from Buffalo, according to Wikipedia's map of their demise; as this was near the edge of their range, they were depleted relatively early. As for "Kakamega", the metric prefix "mega-" (one million) and the term "caca" (as an infantile word for excrement) most certainly do exist in at least English, French and Spanish. K7L (talk) 18:42, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
But that doesn't address any of the salient questions I posed. First of all, who's to say that infantile terms for excrement are inherently funny? That, too, is subjective. Secondly, if you do find the word "Kakamega" funny, what further amusement do you get from actually visiting the place that you can't get from reading the name somewhere and laughing? I mean, sure it's a beautiful African rainforest rich with native plants and wildlife, but what does that have to do with poop? -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 18:51, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
I think that second point is important. It seems like if this article is going to follow ttcf, it should probably be limited to places whose unusual names could in some way make them more interesting or entertaining to visit (even if only for a photo opportunity with a highway sign, a clever jokey Facebook status, or an unusual postcard). So places like Pool, Weed, and Llanfair PG should stay for sure. Places like Å and Truth or Consequences probably should too. But maybe not Hospitalet de Llobregat or Joensuu, for instance. There are a few places on the list (such as Mustvee and Hohhot), where I don't even understand what's supposed to be interesting or funny about the name to an English speaker. —Granger (talk · contribs) 19:46, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

[unindent] I would suggest not deleting this article but moving it to "Jokes and other deleted nonsense" and moving on. This is not a serious article, nor do I think it's a valuable one, but if you want to have fun, I'd suggest doing it outside of articlespace. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:59, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

I wanted to say that I really didn't want to judge anyones' sense of humor, nor argue against the existence of this article. It was really just saying some of the items came off as disrespectful. Hope we don't really have to to over-analyse this. Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:12, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) To build on Granger's points above, in the case of places like Weed, Llanfair PG, and Truth or Consequences I think it's fine to mention the unusual name, and any opportunities deriving therefrom to take pictures next to road signs or whatnot, in the respective destination articles themselves. But the act of listing these places as a travel topic seems to posit the existence of people who might plan an entire multi-destination trip around cities with funny names, which IMO is a stretch, to say the least. (I think Ikan's suggestion above is fine, btw.)
Also, to briefly address Andrewssi2's comment which was posted ahead of mine while I was still typing out the above: as I said, the doubts that I'm expressing here about this article pre-date your remarks above by a long time. I simply thought this was an opportune time to share them, in the spirit of similar though not identical doubts that many other editors have shared in this discussion.
-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 21:17, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
I agree that it's unlikely someone would plan a whole multi-destination trip around places with unusual names. But I can imagine a situation where someone was (for example) planning a road trip across the US anyway, decided it would be fun to take some pictures with unusual highway signs, took a look at this article, and decided to swing by Weed, Liberal, Mars, and Intercourse on the way. Or I can imagine someone in, say, Barcelona who might decide to look and see if there happen to be any places with unusual names nearby, and take a day trip to Roses where they can combine a day at the beach with some clever Facebook pun. This kind of thing wouldn't be of interest to most travellers, but it must be of interest to some, because places like Fucking and Llanfair PG get more visitors than they otherwise would. So I don't think this article is totally useless to travellers. —Granger (talk · contribs) 21:36, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Sorry I'm late to this discussion, but I must affirm that yes, some people do plan trips around places with unusual names, and have produced highly-acclaimed bodies of work from such trips. I think there is some value to the article, even though it's English-centric. –StellarD (talk) 22:11, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
It is a well known and indisputable fact that puns, combining eloquence, humor and intelligence, are the height of human achievement. Furthermore, I don't believe that place names which become puns in English reasonably could be taken as offensive. The joke is not on any other language or culture, but rather at the double meaning of these names when read/spoken in English. I therefore believe that we can keep any places whose names are funny/unusual in virtue of being homophone or homographic of some English word (or commonly used name, such as Batman) with good conscience. Others, such as Ouagadougou, could be removed. MartinJacobson (talk) 00:35, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
Like a few others, I have concerns with the ultimate purpose of this page. If this page had some sort of objective criteria, such as destinations with very long names, e.g. at least 20 letters long (something along the lines of wikipedia:List of long place names) or names that are clear puns in the English language, it would be fine. But as it stands, it is a mishmash of everything including the subjective "What I think is funny" which is also inadvertently offensive. Gizza (roam) 02:01, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
Maybe we could change the criteria to 'interesting names' rather than 'names that sound like poop'? The only issue is that there are currently very few things listed that are 'interesting'. Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:20, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
For that matter, is there some reason why Mustvee, Estonia would sound like "must pee" or is this a bit of a stretch? Are we laughing at Sofia, Bulgaria for no better reason than that it bears a woman's name? If so, why? A joke of this calibre about "BATH ME" would be reverted in a New York minute because it's a US destination, but we titter about place names from the rest of the world for even less or even for no apparent reason at all. I could make a joke about Washington, D.C. and "washing", saying it's where that country hangs out its dirty laundry, but if that's not funny enough to be a reason to give that place a visit, make a detour or make a special trip (the criteria from le bonhomme Michelin's ratings) I wouldn't bother listing it here. K7L (talk) 13:50, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
Is there a reason why anything at all needs to be listed in the article!? Jesus Christ, this discussion has probably surpassed the length of it. Already about 24h ago it became clear that a sizeable portion of the community mildly put disapproves of the concept of the article so why hasn't it been vfd'd by now? Also, the question is why they haven't said anything earlier, the article has existed for half a year and been extensively edited for more than a month now — in that way the rest of us wouldn't have wasted time working on it.
Was seeing this article (and learning that it was not written by a single vandal but by several long-time users) such a shock that people need a peer support group like this thread where everyone is nominating places they want to have removed from the list? And after a week of this, I suppose the article will be left as an outline with one or two destinations as some kind of warning example to future editors who might otherwise feel tempted to start articles about questionable topics? I mean, let's just freaking delete the article and call it a day.
And yeah, of course nobody travels to the other end the world to visit a place only because it has a funny (does it say anywhere that a place cannot be listed unless it's "funny"?) or unusual name. But if that today has become a requirement for justification of travel topics, then probably half of all our travel topics could be flushed down the toilet when we're at it. ϒpsilon (talk) 15:53, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

Just pointing out that wikipedia has an article on the subject. Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:39, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

The Wikipedia article is somewhat better because it has criteria and categorizes why a name is unusual, such as sounding like a swear word in another language. It's not clear at all why Hohhot, Taxila, Biobio, Sofia, Joensuu, Lake, Titicaca, Hue, Holland (in Michigan), Kakamega (since removed) or Wooloomooloo are "unusual". Surprised that nobody has added Bangkok, Cockburn Town, Wales, Virginia, The Bottom, Isle of Man, and Uruguay. Gizza (roam) 01:07, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Bangkok and Phuket are good destinations for sex change tourism. K7L (talk) 16:03, 17 November 2017 (UTC)

Just how buzzkilly do we want to be?[edit]

I fear that sometimes what are clearly humorous asides are excised because they may or may not be slightly misleading to someone whose humor has been surgically removed at an early age (as of course is tradition among ze Germans). I know that some are opposed to the mere existence of this article (though that was interestingly never expressed during the stint of this article on "Requested Articles" and has only arisen shortly in the past) but if we have it and cannot make even the smallest even remotely risible aside, why have it at all? Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:36, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

I think we should avoid including false statements in this article, partly because of the risk that someone won't realize they're false, and partly because some of these places do have strange-but-true stories behind their names, and if we include a bunch of strange-and-false stories too, readers may not realize that the true stories are actually true. Humorous asides are fine (though they shouldn't be the main focus of the article), but let's not mislead our readers. —Granger (talk · contribs) 23:59, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
I never wanted to impose my sense of humor on the enthusiastic contributors to this page. If however it is a choice between being seen as a 'buzzkill' and showing some minimum respect to people then I'll be happily counted as a buzzkill.
Do you think a resident of Kakamega would want to contribute to Wikivoyage if we publicly joke that their town's name sounds like faeces? Andrewssi2 (talk) 04:44, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
For that matter, is it appropriate to mention that a name means something negative or silly in the local language? The bad bay, for instance. K7L (talk) 16:03, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
K7L - Probably not, because the connection wouldn't be apparent to English-speakers (at least those who don't also speak French). -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 17:27, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
I don't think places that have some unusual meaning in other languages but not in English should be added, when even ones in English seem to require a paragraph of explanations. ϒpsilon (talk) 17:53, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
There are plenty of intended humorous English names in Australia. Eggs and Bacon Bay in Tasmania, but also Nowhere Else, Milkshake Hills, Bob’s Knobs and Precipitous Bluff. There are also plenty of Aboriginal names, but they are not supposed to be humorous. Andrewssi2 (talk) 07:30, 18 November 2017 (UTC)