Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
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Long Toponyms

Liam Dutton nails pronouncing Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Known as Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, Llanfair PG and Llanfairpwll, the small community of 3,000 on the island of Anglesey has the longest single word toponym (place name) in Europe. The name means "Saint Mary's Church in a hollow of white hazel near the swirling whirlpool of the church of Saint Tysilio with a red cave."

The longest toponym in the world is a New Zealand hill named Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu.

Tags: place, language, toponyms.

Antonios Vitaliotis's curator insight, September 23, 2015 2:27 PM
After a few drinks...ask your friends to say: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
John Puchein's curator insight, November 6, 2015 7:40 AM

The city in this is featured in our text books. I know this guy practiced it for a while just to say it on TV! 

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Teenage Girls Have Led Language Innovation for Centuries

Teenage Girls Have Led Language Innovation for Centuries | Geography Education |
They've been on the cutting edge of the English language since at least the 1500s
Seth Dixon's insight:

Popular culture and those most closely tied to it are innovators. 

Tags: language, culturediffusion, popular culture.

Woodstock School's curator insight, September 8, 2015 1:22 AM

Do we speak their language?

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, September 8, 2015 1:03 PM

unit 3

Chris Costa's curator insight, September 9, 2015 2:37 PM

I find the social aspect of this absolutely fascinating; gender may be entirely a cultural construct, but we can see its influences in every aspect of human life. Women are responsible for 90 percent of linguistic changes that occur over the course of our lifetimes- because men resist such changes due to their (mostly) feminine origins. A good, witty read for those interested.

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American Curses, Mapped

American Curses, Mapped | Geography Education |

"Americans love to curse. The question is, which bad words are favored where? Who says “*#@&” the most? Who says “$%*#” the least? Is there a “*#$” belt? (As it turns out, yes: From New York City down to the Gulf Coast.)"

Tags: language, culturediffusion, popular culture, mapping, regions.

Seth Dixon's insight:

If you don't want to hear potty talk, this is not the set of maps on linguistic geography for you...I'm just sayin', you've been forewarned.  An isogloss is a line that separates regions that use different words for the same object/concept.  Thing of isoglosses as linguistic contour lines...are there any swearing isoglosses?  Swearing regions?     

Jamie Strickland's comment, July 21, 2015 3:03 PM
I f-ing love this!
Erin McLeod's curator insight, August 6, 2015 11:00 PM

If you don't want to hear potty talk, this is not the set of maps on linguistic geography for you...I'm just sayin', you've been forewarned.  An isogloss is a line that separates regions that use different words for the same object/concept.  Thing of isoglosses as linguistic contour lines...are there any swearing isoglosses?  Swearing regions?     

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Language in the Media

"Ever notice how the media treats black protesters & white rioters differently?"

Seth Dixon's insight:

Some food for thought on how language in the media frames the narratives that most people receive.  Do you feel that the media treats all people and all groups fairly?  Can you think of some examples to make your case?  Can the media be free from all bias?


Tags: Languagemedia, race, class, culture.

LEONARDO WILD's curator insight, June 24, 2015 12:03 AM

The Eternal Subtext.

Thomas Johnson's curator insight, November 29, 2015 4:31 PM

The anchors are noticeably racist towards blacks.

Harsher language is used when referring to blacks.

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Utahns, Mainers and Wyomingites: The ultimate guide to what to call people from each state

Utahns, Mainers and Wyomingites: The ultimate guide to what to call people from each state | Geography Education |

"For most states, you’re safe adding an –n, and maybe a few other letters, to the state’s name – a la Coloradans, Nebraskans and Californians. For three states, Wyoming, Wisconsin and New Hampshire, the correct method is to add an –ite. For a handful of states in the northeast, the style is to add an 'r' – New Yorker, Vermonter, Mainer, Marylander, Connecticuter and Rhode Islander."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Having lived in New England for 6 years now, I still haven't found a polite term to refer to people from Massachusetts.

Michael Amberg's curator insight, May 26, 2015 10:21 PM

This is a really interesting view on a map projection and shows how many possibilities there are for differences.  

Shane C Cook's curator insight, May 27, 2015 9:17 AM

This map has data allocating what people are called based on their region. What concerns me is that there is no information depicting what one would be called depending on which city you are from. For example I am from Austin, Texas so you would call me an Austinite but since I am from Texas you would call me a Texan.

MsPerry's curator insight, May 27, 2015 9:31 AM

Intro-Ch 1 Toponyms

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Linguistic Geography: My Fair Lady

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a most decidedly dated reference for pop culture, but a great movie for making explicit the idea that the way we speak is connected to where we've lived (also a good clip to show class differences as well as gender norms). The clip highlights many principles and patterns for understanding the geography of languages.

Tags: Language, class, gender, culture, historical, London, unit 3 culture and place.

Mrs. B's curator insight, May 2, 2015 9:03 PM

LOVE this clip! #Unit 3

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The world’s languages, in 7 maps and charts

The world’s languages, in 7 maps and charts | Geography Education |

"These seven maps and charts, visualized by The Washington Post, will help you understand how diverse other parts of the world are in terms of languages."

Tags: language, culture, infographic.

Caitlyn Christiansen's curator insight, May 26, 2015 10:35 AM

The world is extremely diverse in its spread of native languages. Yet only a handful are commonly spoken by the majority of the world, about 2/3. Over half of the world's languages are expected to go extinct because of the extreme diversity and the minimal distribution which means that in some places almost every person speaks a completely different language and many are dying as their last speakers do not pass it on to their children.


This article is relates to cultural patterns and processes through the geographic spread of languages around the globe and the increasing acculturation that causes the loss of many of these languages in our increasingly globalized world.

Michael Amberg's curator insight, May 26, 2015 10:35 PM

Its interesting to see just how many people speak the languages we speak everyday, and to see just how many people DONT speak it.

Shane C Cook's curator insight, May 27, 2015 5:34 AM

It is amazing to see all main languages in perspective to the world. Mandarine holding the top spot with 1.39 Billion surprises me but at the same time doesn't. There are 1.3 billion people living there in the first place.

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Cultural Code-Switching

Cultural Code-Switching | Geography Education |

"The way we mix languages and speech patterns is an apt metaphor for the way race, ethnicity and culture intersect in our lives."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Who we are, and how we behave is often dependent on the the circumstances and the cultural norms that govern those situations, places and relationships.  All of us, including President Obama, fit into many distinct cultural environments and the picture above shows a quick moment, when he can slip in and out of cultural settings (this was spoofed by Key and Peele). 

Questions to Ponder: When do you 'code switch' and how come?  What does this mean for society at large and for the intersecting cultural groups with which we personally might identify?  When is this being fake or culturally inauthentic? 

Tags: culturelanguage, race, unit 3 culture.

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This Louisiana radio station likes their news 'en Franglais'

This Louisiana radio station likes their news 'en Franglais' | Geography Education |
For more than half a century, one small commercial radio station has been keeping French alive in the bayous of Louisiana.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This PRI podcast on Louisana's cultural geography goes nicely with this NY Times article on the same topic.    

Tagslanguage, folk cultures, culture, podcast.

Eden Eaves's curator insight, March 22, 2015 7:24 PM

Unit 3

Since 1953, this small radio station located in Ville Platte has been working to make sure the French speaking population in Louisiana does not deplete anymore; going from about one million in 1960 to less than 200 thousand in 2010. The station is interactive receiving calls from people sharing stories of their childhood and old memories that relate to the word or phrase of the day.


I think this is a great way to preserve the culture and common language of a community in a fun, interesting way that will keep listeners "tuned in" for years to come.   

Alex Lewis's curator insight, March 23, 2015 10:07 AM

This radio station is promoting the cultural history or Louisiana. Louisiana was originally French,  but was given to America in the 1700s. Most people in Louisiana could speak French fluently. Now, only roughly 175,000 native speakers are present. KVPI speaks in French and English, which keeps the French language alive in Louisiana.


Caitlyn Christiansen's curator insight, March 23, 2015 11:47 PM

In Ville Platte, a small, most French speaking town in Louisiana, a radio station, called KVPI (Keeping Ville Platte Informed), is trying hard to keep the language alive. Since French was banned from the classrooms in the 1920s, the decline of the unique Louisiana dialect has increased. KVPI speaks in a combina of English and Louisiana French in hopes to fight the downward trend and pass on the language to many more generations.


This is article is related to cultural patterns and processes through folk culture and language, by addressing these issues and the attempts to solve them. The traditional language of the area, which is part of the folk culture, is being replaced by the common language of the country as a whole, English. The English language has been spread with pop culture across the world through globalization and the smaller languages and cultures are often lost in the switch. KVPI has made it their goal to defend against that, so the unique folk culture of Louisiana will continue.

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These Amazing Maps Show the True Diversity of Africa

These Amazing Maps Show the True Diversity of Africa | Geography Education |

"African countries are also quite diverse from an ethnic standpoint. As the Washington Post's Max Fisher noted back in 2013, the world's 20 most ethnically diverse countries are all African, partially because European colonial powers divvied up sections of the continent with little regard for how the residents would have organized the land themselves. This map above shows Africa's ethnographic regions as identified by George Murdock in his 1959 ethnography of the continent."

Tags: Africacolonialism, borders, political, language, ethnicity.

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 27, 2015 4:51 PM

We have seen the repercussions of ethnic tensions play out in the Balkans, the Middle East, and even in the United States, and Africa is no exception. Arbitrarily drawn national borders- the remnants of European colonialism- means that there is often significant ethnic diversity within many African nations. Although this creates interesting blends of language and culture, it has often bred violence in many countries, perhaps most notably in South Africa and Rwanda. Although many members of the West like to lump the entire continent into a single category, this could not be further from the truth. The second largest continent with extreme biodiversity, it has bred thousands of languages and hundreds of different cultural backgrounds, sometimes within a single country. It is important for the West to understand the complex make-up of the African continent in order to avoid the Eurocentric assumptions many Westerners make when discussing the continent. There isn't a single "Africa"- there isn't even a single "Nigeria," but rather a multitude of different peoples and cultures, equally as complex as those found in other regions of the world. This map does a very good job at illustrating the complexity and richness of the continent.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 30, 2015 7:20 AM

People often underestimate how diverse Africa really is. We often have the tendency to lump all Africans together in one large ethnic group. The actual number of different ethnic groups in Africa is rather staggering. This map can also be used as a partial explanation for the amount of ethnic conflict in Africa. Often times, these ethnic groups are squashed together in states with poorly drawn borders. Under that situation, ethnic conflict becomes inevitable.

Patty B's curator insight, February 11, 2016 4:52 PM

This map of Africa not only shows the true diversity of the African continent, but it represents the diversity that truly exists everywhere on a global scale. In many ways, people are the same everywhere you go. But people are also vastly different in a multitude of ways. In a highly globalized society it has become easy to focus on the similarities between the people of different countries, but the fact of the matter is that no matter how far reaching a corporation’s influence is, we are always talking about and dealing the individual lives. Towns, cities, states, countries, continents are all comprised of individuals and our society today makes it difficult to remember that by focusing on group statistics and other forms of impersonal data (not to say those tools are useless, there just needs to be a balance between the tools used). Each person that falls within any group being examined or categorized is vastly unique in a variety of other ways and I think this map brings that notion to light. As someone born in the U.S., I would never think of Africa as such a diverse place. Not even close as a matter of fact. It really is easy to examine Africa as a country instead of a continent. I think that goes for many continents, including Europe. We often think of the U.S. as being the melting pot and the most diverse place, but the article points to the fact that 20 of the world’s most diverse countries happen to be in Africa. 

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In Louisiana, Desire for a French Renaissance

In Louisiana, Desire for a French Renaissance | Geography Education |
From a long-running radio show to bilingual street signs, efforts are being made to preserve a vernacular once repressed by law.

This radio show is part of a conscious effort to sustain an iteration of French that followed its own evolutionary path here, far from the famed vigilance of the Académie française.  Many now believe Louisiana French to be endangered, even as other aspects of the state's rural culture flourish amid the homogenizing forces of modern life.  "We're not losing the music.  We're not losing the food," Mr. Layne said from his office, Ville Platte, a city of 7,500 about two and a half hours west of New Orleans. "But we're losing what I think is the most important thing, which is language."  

Tagslanguage, folk cultures, culture.

Matthew Connealy's curator insight, March 22, 2015 6:03 PM

A family owned radio show in Louisiana entertains their audience with many ways and efforts to maintain the French roots they have evolved from. Despite keeping their food and music in the French culture, the language is the one left hanging to dry, for the language is slowly dwindling from the state. The homogenizing of areas and the influx of pop culture has led to this loss of folk roots in the jazz state. Along with this influence, a mandate in the Constitution disallowed the use of any other language besides English in public schools.There was a Cajun and French movement in the 1960's to try and spur the culture back on its feet, but many people believe that it is too late to go back and fix this change in culture.


This article surprised me on the fact that the loss of folk culture can happen anywhere, and is especially prevalent in the U.S. due to instant communication and social media. Folk culture is essential in understanding how an area got started, and this topic of study intrigues me to conduct further research in other areas. This fits right in with folk and pop culture along with language and communication of the syllabus.

Emma Conde's curator insight, May 26, 2015 10:30 PM

unit 3: cultural patterns and processes


This article starts off describing a man who runs a local radio show in Louisiana completely in cajun french. This is an effort to preserve the heritage that the cajun people were once forced to let go of and assimilate in many aspects by the American government. Many conservative cajun parts of Louisiana are now pushing for a revival of their culture that has continued to be passed down through speaking at home, and old books, music, and traditions passed down to them by grandparents and great grandparents.


This shows a push for revival of a folk culture, which is very uncommon in this time especially in the United States where pop culture dominates. Revivals of folk culture like this should continue to be encouraged. 

Emerald Pina's curator insight, May 26, 2015 11:33 PM

This article is about Ville Platte, Louisianna where the people want to bring back the language French. They have set up a French radio station. The article talks about how the people want to bring back the culture and their language. 


This article relates with Unit 3: Cultural Patterns and Proccesses because it talks about how the Cajun people was forced to assimilate and speak the English language. However, today the language and people thrive through a preservationist group. The group is fighting for their culture back, and has already set up a radio station. This article is an example of a folk culture.

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London's second languages mapped by tube stop

London's second languages mapped by tube stop | Geography Education |

"Walk along the streets of London and it’s not uncommon to hear a variety of langauges jostling for space in your eardrums. Step inside a tube carriage on the underground and the story is no different.

Oliver O’Brien, researcher in geovisualisation and web mapping at University College London’s department of geography, has created a map showing what the most common second language (after English) is at certain tube stops across the capital.

Using a map of tube journeys and busy stations that he had previously created, O’Brien used 2011 Census data to add the second most commonly spoken language that people who live nearby speak."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This map is an excellent way to introduce the concept of ethnic neighborhoods and show how they spatially form and what ties them together.  This other article shows how the spatial arrangement of London's population has changed from 1939 to today. 

Tags: London, urbantransportation, ethnicitylanguage, culture.

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, April 6, 2015 9:29 PM

This made me think of how this could be done in New York City.  I imagine results would be similar.  You could map out the languages for sure.  

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Why the ‘Coffee’ Words Are Not Cognates

Why the ‘Coffee’ Words Are Not Cognates | Geography Education |

"A former student of mine drew my attention to a recent article in Slate written by Alyssa Pelish and titled 'The Stimulating History of Coffee: Why You Hear This Word Around the World'."

Tagslanguage, culturediffusion.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, January 23, 2015 12:15 PM

unit 2

Tyler Anson's curator insight, February 23, 2015 10:41 AM

This article also shows the diffusion of language. The word "coffee' has diffused and although it is spelled differently in different languages, it pronounced in almost the exact same way. This goes to show how different languages most likely diffused from the same common ancestor langauge.

Caitlyn Christiansen's curator insight, February 24, 2015 9:45 PM

The word "coffee" is a loan word that has been borrowed by languages for centuries. It is sometimes mistakenly called a cognate, but is actually a simple sound alike because it does not come from a common language root. A cognate always, always a word that comes from a common language root. "Coffee" is borrowed and does not meet the standards to be a cognate.

Words diffused along trade routes as people would  travel from place to place and share the names of items they wished to sell. Before reliable travel, the names would change from place to place as people remembered them differently or pronounced them differently according to the languages.

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Fuzzy Borders

TagsCanadalanguage, social media, images, placeculture, landscape, tourism

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Mount McKinley officially renamed Denali

Mount McKinley officially renamed Denali | Geography Education |
To hear the White House describe Alaska, the state has become the canary in the climate change coal mine, complete with raging wildfires, accelerating ice melt in the arctic, vanishing glaciers and whole villages forced to relocate away from rising seas.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Most Alaskans already have shed the Mount McKinley name for over a generation, but as this National Geographic article points out, naming conventions matter and are filled with meaning.  Some of you might be wondering how it ever got called Mt. McKinley in the first place, but this action is still causing some political commotion.  Denali is a spectacularly gorgeous place, and there are a few other prominent mountains that some want to change to previous indigenous names although these changes are unlikely because they don't have the same local support and regular usage.     

Tags: place, language, toponyms, indigenous.

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Esperanto Is Not Dead: Can The Universal Language Make A Comeback?

Esperanto Is Not Dead: Can The Universal Language Make A Comeback? | Geography Education |
A hundred years ago, a Polish physician created a language that anyone could learn easily. The hope was to bring the world closer together. Today Esperanto speakers say it's helpful during travel.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Can an invented language designed to be a Lingua Franca be someone's mother tongue?  Of course it can be, even in the accents might carry some regionalized variations.  

Tags: podcast, languageculturetourism,

Cultural Infusion's curator insight, July 15, 2015 7:58 PM

Are there still people who speak Esperanto? Discover it with us!

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Do We Talk Funny? 51 American Colloquialisms

Do We Talk Funny? 51 American Colloquialisms | Geography Education |
American English has a rich history of regionalisms — which sometimes tell us a lot about where we come from.

Tags: languageculture, English.

Fred Issa's curator insight, October 5, 2015 4:14 PM

I found this article most interesting, having lived in RI, NJ, GA, IN, MD, and TX. After awhile, you will start to pick up certain words, while dropping other similar words that I have used all of my life. The words and phrases both tend to change from one state to another. Read the article, it is enlightening. Fred Issa,

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Behind the Dateline: ‘Kathmandu’ Becomes Times Style

Behind the Dateline: ‘Kathmandu’ Becomes Times Style | Geography Education |

"When a terrible earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, our correspondents quickly began to report from the battered capital, Katmandu. By the beginning of this week, we were still reporting on the quake’s aftermath, but under a slightly different dateline: Kathmandu.  Why the switch?

There are many examples of foreign place names with more than one English rendering, especially if the local language uses a different alphabet, requiring the name to be transliterated for English. For Nepal’s capital, the 'Katmandu' spelling has long been widely used in English-language publications, and may still be more familiar to some American readers. But 'Kathmandu,' with an 'h' in the middle, has become more widespread in recent years, reflecting the preferred local usage."

Tags: place, language, toponyms, Nepal.

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Sixty Languages at Risk of Extinction in Mexico—Can They Be Kept Alive?

Sixty Languages at Risk of Extinction in Mexico—Can They Be Kept Alive? | Geography Education |
Sixty of Mexico's native languages are at risk of being silenced forever—but many people are working to keep them alive, experts say.
Seth Dixon's insight:

If a language dies, an entire culture dies. Every year more and more languages and threatened and it gets worse as more people try to keep up with the demand of globalization. "Mexico isn't the only country losing its voices: If nothing is done, about half of the 6,000-plus languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century."  Endangered Languages are going to be all the more common.  

TagsMexico, language, folk cultures, culture, globalization.

Chris Costa's curator insight, September 20, 2015 10:28 PM

Monolingualism is great in the sense that it facilitates greater communication across a wider range of people, creating a sense of unity among those same people. However, lingual differences are one of the most beautiful aspects of human culture and civilization, with thousands of specific idioms and uses pertaining to each language shaping a millennium of various human experiences scattered across the globe. I often must explain to my friends that something that sounds good in one language I speak (I am moderately fluent in Portuguese) does not translate well in the other when each individual word is translated rather than the sentiment of the phrase as a whole. It is sad to think that this collection of specific nuances and experiences pertaining to a multitude of languages could be lost by the end of the century; in our desire to be closer to each other, we are losing the best of what we have to offer one another.  I hope that efforts to reverse this trend are successful. On a more light-hearted note, I did chuckle a little while reading that two of the last speakers of one of these indigenous languages in Mexico are two old men who refuse to speak to one another. They have the power to save something much larger than themselves, and yet are unable to do so because of petty, earthly rivalries. Humans are a complicated bunch.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, September 22, 2015 8:29 AM

The demise of a language is a truly tragic event. I am heartened to see that there are efforts being undertaken to preserve these historic languages. New technologies  will hopefully aid us in this effort. I imagine that the United States probably faces similar issues when it comes to language loss. We should coordinate some sort of national policy in how to deal with the issue. The current state of political affairs will probably hamper  the cause, but it is still worth a shot. I am in full support of all efforts that might preserve these classic languages.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 2, 2015 9:29 AM

This is one of the reasons that when immigrants come into this country its important they keep their native language going as well as learning to speak English. The sharing of culture, and language is indeed very important. Lots of people come to America and are told to speak English and eventually they lose their native language as well as culture. The English speaking only citizens of this country lose out on a good education about someone's native country. Its too bad. Just think music, language, food, values etc...there is a lot to learn.

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Lindström gets Swedish double-dot umlaut back

Lindström gets Swedish double-dot umlaut back | Geography Education |

"The state transportation authority relies on federal guidelines that outline what it can put on signs, and these rules say signs must use only 'standard English characters, so when we replaced the sign, we didn’t put the umlaut in.'  On Wednesday, the state’s governor put his foot down: The dots were coming back."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The cultural landscape isn't just passively 'there.'  It is purposefully created, defended, protected and resisted by national, regional and local actors.  This example might seem laughable to the national media, but this was a serious matter to those locally that pride themselves on the town's Swedish heritage.  Many want to preserve it's distinctively Swedish characteristics as a part of it's sense of place, but also it's economic strategy to appeal to tourists. 

Tags: place, language, toponyms, culturetourism, English, landscape.

Julie Cidell's curator insight, April 18, 2015 9:56 AM

Missing umlauts aren't just a problem on the Internet.

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"How well do you know your Saskatchewan slang? At Insightrix in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, we've got the prairies down flat!"

Seth Dixon's insight:

Here's an entertaining clip on different regionalized vocabularies and a hint of accent confusion thrown in there.  The portrayal is over the top, but it's all local vocabulary that life-long residents certainly understand.  Here's 320 more Canadian slang terms for you (scroll to the bottom).    

TagsCanada, language, fun.

LEONARDO WILD's curator insight, March 29, 2015 11:14 AM

Live languages are never as straight forward as the Royal Academies of Language would like them to be. Rules are crystallizations that get shattered in daily use.

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What’s in a Nickname? In the case of Chiraq, a Whole Lot

What’s in a Nickname? In the case of Chiraq, a Whole Lot | Geography Education |

"Nicknames are important branding strategies used by civic boosters, and Chicago’s namesakes are frequently employed to market the city and its surrounding region as 'The Jewel of the Midwest' and 'Heart of America.' At the same time, urban monikers can arise from the wider public and they have sometimes been used to draw attention to negative qualities of Chicago life."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Is it Londonderry or just Derry?  Xinjiang or Eastern Turkestan?  The Sea of Japan or the East Sea?  Persian Gulf or Arabian Gulf?  Names and nicknames have political and cultural overtones that can be very important.  As the author of this AAG article on the Chicago's nickname, Chiraq says, "city nicknames are more than a gimmick; they can define geographies of violence, marginalization, and resistance."

Tags: Chicago, urban, place, language, toponyms.

Norka McAlister's curator insight, March 15, 2015 8:07 PM

Illinois has been stigmatized by many negative nicknames such as "Killinois," "Shot-town," and "Chiraq." Urban crime hs always been a problem in the city of Chicago, and the most remarkable areas are on the south side of Chicago. High unemployment, poor neighborhoods, and lack of parenting/mentoring, and failing school districts all contribute to the number of young people turning to steet crime in order for survival. With so many gangs acitivities on the street, Chiraq is a city of violence and war. Chaos on the street and the killings of many innocent people increasing, government  officials needs to react with strict regulations in order to stop this violence. Poor economic status has played a significant role in the deterioration of the city. Citizen who were once classified as middle have become a part of the poor class. The relocation of housing projects in proximity to wealthier communities has instilled fear of the expansion of gang violence and activity within residents of these communities.

Lauren Quincy's curator insight, March 19, 2015 12:53 PM

Unit 3: Cultural Practices and Processes


This article is about how Chicago's many nicknames represent its culture and people's sense of the place. Many people have began to call Chicago by the name of "Chiraaq" and mixture of Iraq and Chicago. This is due to the violences in the city and resemblence to the action in Iraq. The nickname’s power, politically, is the way in which naming functions as a form of shaming and the name has been advertised on shirts, posters and even songs putting it into the category of pop-culture. As suggested in research, place names are not confined to official nomenclature on maps, but also include competing, vernacular systems of naming. Chicago’s many nicknames provide insight into the different ways that people frame and reconfigure the image of the city for the wider world.

This relates to unit 3 because it deals with vernacular regions and popular culture. The different names of Chicago are often not defined with a definite boundary of the city, rather an individuals opinion or idea of the area. They are often very vague with the names such as "Paris on the Prairie" that not only include Chicago but neighboring towns and cities as well. Or the opposite, where the name "Sweet Home" may only be referring to a portion of the city rather than the entire city of Chicago. The names, such as Chiraq, also fall under pop-culture when they become a widely known idea and are adopted by many sources. The advertisement and use of the nickname in songs and merchandise shows the wide range of distribution for the nickname. The use of the word is often changing and will be popular for a short period of time as popular culture is always changing. 

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Robert Macfarlane on rewilding our language of landscape

Robert Macfarlane on rewilding our language of landscape | Geography Education |
For decades the leading nature writer has been collecting unusual words for landscapes and natural phenomena – from aquabob to zawn. It’s a lexicon we need to cherish in an age when a junior dictionary finds room for ‘broadband’ but has no place for ‘bluebell’

Tags: language, culture, English, toponyms, landscape.

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32 Mispronounced Places

32 Mispronounced Places | Geography Education |

"There’s nothing more irritating to a pedant’s ear and nothing more flabbergasting than realizing you’ve been pronouncing the name of so many places wrong, your entire life! Despite the judgment we exhibit toward people who err in enunciating, we all mispronounce a word from time to time, despite our best efforts. Well, now it’s time we can really stop mispronouncing the following places."

Seth Dixon's insight:

I've only been mispronouncing 8 of them, but many of these toponyms (place names) are chronically mispronounced.  Some of these have curious local of pronouncing the name, while others show that translating one language into another can be quite difficult since many sounds don't naturally flow off the tongue of non-native speakers.    

Tagslanguage, toponyms, culture, tourism.

Kristen McDaniel's curator insight, February 20, 2015 11:37 AM

So interesting!  I knew Louisville, only because my husband of almost 18 years is from there and taught me very early in our relationship that it was "Luh-vull".  ha!  

Savannah Rains's curator insight, March 24, 2015 3:14 AM

This fun article is telling people about common places that we butcher the names of. Some of the reasons that we say them wrong is because they are in different languages so we shouldn't be pronouncing everything perfectly. But the ones that we say everyday like Colorado, is because we ALL mispronounce it so it becomes the norm. This article really sheds some light on the way that languages can be misinterpreted or changed because of people.

Claire Law's curator insight, April 26, 2015 2:16 AM

I love discovering I've mispronounced a word, particularly place names. Most of these are in the US but the few international examples are interesting (and the mispronounced variations are perplexing, perhaps we're blessed in Australia with journalists who can pronounce tricky foreign toponyms). I'm surprised Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) and Uluru (NT, Australia) don't make the list.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

10 American English Words and Phrases British Expats Eventually Adopt

10 American English Words and Phrases British Expats Eventually Adopt | Geography Education |
As a British expat who has lived and worked in the U.S. for over five years, I remain very much in favor of embracing the various wonderful nuances this country has to offer. However, there was one aspect of my move that—during the initial settling-in period—I secretly feared: the gradual Americanization of my vocabulary.
Seth Dixon's insight:

While this list was created for English speakers in the UK, I will invert the list to show some terms that Americans rarely use, even if we understand their meaning: rubbish, mobile, motorway, petrol, car park, you lot, maths, pavement, football and fizzy drink.  If this interests you so will this list of 10 British insults that American don't understand

Tags: language, culture, English, UK.

tentuseful's comment, January 17, 2015 4:16 AM
Thats stunning
Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, January 23, 2015 12:07 PM

unit 3