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Sunday, May 18, 2008

WHEN YOU SAY CHARGOGGAGOGGMANCHAUGGAGOGGCHAUBUNAGUNGAMAUGG, YOU'VE SAID IT ALL.

Massachusetts and New England has some interesting
geographical names and I thought I'd occasionally write about
some of the more unique ones. And if I'm going to do that, I
might as well start right at the top:

Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg.

No, I'm not gargling.

That is the original Nipmuc Indian tribe name as well as the
offical name for a lake that is also known as "Lake Webster"
because of the town where it is located. When I was a kid and
we drove by it once my folks told me the name meant "You
fish on your side, we'll fihs on our side, and nobody fishes in
the middle." but according to the Wikipedia article here,
that definition was a humorous attempt by a local writer to
resolve the arguments over the meaning of the word.

The Nipmuc Indian Association of Connecticut (Webster is
close to the Connecticut-Massachusetts border) website says
the name incorporates the name of a local Nipmuc village of
Monuhchogok but there also seems to be some reference
to a "meeting place" in the name.

The word has several distinctions. It is often cited as the
longest place name in the USA and the 6th longest in the
world. The letter "g" is used 16 times which is the most
times any letter is used in any word in the English language
and the letter "a" is used 9 times, again the most times for
that letter in the language.

I think the Nipmucs would have preferred to keep their
beautiful lake and forego the linguistic distinctions.

It is a mouthful, though, isn't it?

Do any of you fellow geneabloggers have a unique place name
near you? Write about it on your own blog and let me know
and I'll post the link here!

UPDATE:

Randy has commented with "Funny Place Names"

Jessica has as well with "Speaking of Funny Place Names..."

2 comments:

Lisa said...

Can't top that one, Bill! Can't pronounce it either... :)

Lisa
Small-leaved Shamrock
A light that shines again
100 Years in America

Randy Seaver said...

Excellent!!! My father was from Leominster, and always told us about this lake's name, but he couldn't remember the Nipmuc name, only the English translation. You got it right!

Thanks -- Randy