toponymic query

Wed Nov 12 20:58:12 UTC 2003

        As Abigail Zitin suggested, the closest specifically geographic term is endonym.  From the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names Glossary of Toponymic Terminology (vers. 4.1 Feb. 2000),, endonym is defined as

        >>Name of a geographical feature in one of the languages occurring in that area where the feature is situated. Examples: V_r_nas_ (not Benares); Aachen (not Aix-la-Chapel­le); Krung Thep (not Bang­kok); al-Uq_ur (not Luxor); Teverya (not Tiberias).<<

        However, endonym is not pronunciation-specific, so I think that shibboleth is still closest to what he's looking for.

        Of course, the smart-alecky response to the literal question is "if anyone, a linguist or lexicographer."

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: Geoffrey Nunberg [mailto:nunberg at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU]
Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2003 2:59 PM
Subject: toponymic query

>What kind of scholar would be able to tell me the word for which the
>definition is "the special pronunciation of a proper noun, often a city
>name, used by the people who live there, separating the natives of a place
>from outsiders."?  An example is Cairo, Illinois, which is pronounced
>KAY-ROW by its citizens, and usually mispronounced "KEYE-ROW" by outsiders.

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