Saturday, March 5, 2011

Humor (and a true story) – Indian Place Name

Sometimes the Indian names that were kept for places can be a little daunting.

True Story:

My freshman year of college one of my roommates was from Webster, Massachusetts where this lake is located.  I think we got talking about Indian names for a lot of places in Maine and he told us about this lake in his hometown.  When he recited the name he did it in kind of a sing-song cadence to get through all the syllables, similar to how we are taught to spell all the letters in Mississippi.

He said that it loosely translates as “You fish on your side.  I fish on my side.  Nobody fish in the middle.”  People with no sense of humor say that it more properly translates as “neutral fishing ground” or “boundary fishing ground.”  The lake name was shortened to Chaubunagungamaug, but even that was too long.  It is mostly known as Lake Webster when people need to refer to it.

The original name is the longest place name in the United States and one of the longest in the world.  Read more here.

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