Armchair Field Trip: Down by the Shores of Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg

Mary
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There are actually two Gs on the end of the 45-letter name for this lake in beautiful Webster, Massachusetts, but don't blame us for it not fitting in the subject line -- we never expected to have to deal with words that long. Specifically, Chargoggagoggmanchaugga- goggchaubunagungamaugg is the longest place name in the United States. (People who can't spell prefer to call it "Webster Lake.") The name is often said to mean "you fish your side of the water, I fish my side of the water, nobody fishes the middle" -- but that's just an urban (rural?) legend started by a local newspaper reporter in the '20s. It actually means "Englishmen at Manchaug at the Fishing Place at the Boundary," or something to that effect. You can hear it pronounced -- in song, no less! -- here. Scroll down to "Videos" and click on "The Lake Song."

By the way, the longest place name in the world spelled in English is Krungthepmahanakornamornratanakosinmahintarayutthayamahadilok- phopnopparatrajathaniburiromudomrajaniwesmahasatharnamornphim- arnavatarnsathitsakkattiyavisanukamprasit in Thailand. You probably know it as "Bangkok."

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September 26, 2006 - 4:10am
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