Abbreviations of place names

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Cecilio, Nov 4, 2006.

  1. Cecilio

    Cecilio Senior Member

    Valencia, Spain
    Spanish, Valencian/Catalan
    I have noticed that in colloquial American English it is very typical to use abbreviated forms of place names. For example:

    - NY: New York
    - Frisco: San Francisco
    - LA: Los Angeles
    - Cali: California

    Is this also common in other languages or countries?

    The only example I can think of in Spain is "Barna", which is sometimes used as a short form of "Barcelona".
  2. Etcetera

    Etcetera Senior Member

    St Petersburg, Russia
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    In Russian, abbreviated forms of place names aren't very common.
    St. Petersburg is often called just Peter (Питер). Some natives find this disgusting, but I don't see anything wrong about it. The diminutive Питер was widely used by writers, journalists and literary critics ib the 19th century.
    Leningradskaya oblast' (Leningrad region) is very often just Lenoblast'.
    Yekaterinburg is sometimes shortened to Ye-burg (Е-бург), but this form is very, very informal because of some connotations...
    Novosibirsk may be called N-sk (Н-ск). This abbreviation reminds of the so-called "город Н.", where the action takes place in some 19th century novels.
  3. Ilmo

    Ilmo Member Emeritus

    In Finland, the capital Helsinki is quite often called Hesa.
    The secong largest town Tampere is called Manse, which is an abbreviation of Manchester; they say that this Finnish industrial town is in some way the "Manchester of Finland".
    The abreviation Frisco (San Francisco) is quite well known also in Finland, thanks to the seamen.
    We have Finnish names for many of the best known capitals, and for instance Kööpenhamina (Copenhagen) is often abbreviated Köpis.
    I've heard some people speaking about Nyk and meaning New York.
    Even L.A. is sometimes used, pronounced in that case El-ei
    I guess those are the most of them. at least no other names cross my mind at the moment.
  4. jester.

    jester. Senior Member

    Aachen, Germany
    Germany -> German
    In my region, the city of Aachen is often abbreviated as AC.

    That is the abbreviation used on the number plates of the cars in this region.

    But I doubt that anyone who is not from here would understand it.
  5. You have given away the secret by now:D
  6. moldo

    moldo Senior Member

    Dutch, Netherlands
    In the Netherlands the fans of the Rotterdam soccer club Feijenoord call Amsterdam (the city of Ajax), 020 because they do not want to say the name of that place.
    020 is the city telephone code of Amsterdam.
  7. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Lx: Lisbon
    Fx: Funchal
  8. Cecilio

    Cecilio Senior Member

    Valencia, Spain
    Spanish, Valencian/Catalan
    Are these just written forms or are they also used in oral language?
  9. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    For German:

    NY (New York) is understood when written.
    LA (Los Angelos) is understood when spoken or written.
    HH (Hamburg) is understood when written.
    DD (Dresden) is understood when written.

    Towns starting with Bad Li... are often referred to as "Bali."
  10. Cecilio

    Cecilio Senior Member

    Valencia, Spain
    Spanish, Valencian/Catalan
    I have heard some hip-hop songs where they say NY (pronun. [en-why]) to refer to New York, but I'm not sure if it's a very common use.
  11. pickypuck Senior Member

    Badajoz, Spanish Extremadura
    Extremaduran Spanish
    Portu = Portugalete.
    Sanse = San Sebastían de los Reyes.
  12. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    In Polish We don't use many of them, perhaps locals have some abbrevations of their cities' names but they are not widely used. The few I know are:
    Wawa -- Warszawa
    Wrocek -- Wrocław

    Also, when a city has a compound name people very often use just one of the words that make up the whole (most often the first part).

  13. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    I was speaking about German, not English. :)
  14. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    When spoken, I think only BH (Belo Horizonte, in Brazil) is used.
  15. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Just written.
  16. spakh

    spakh Senior Member

    Anatolian Turkish
    Gaziantep= Antep
    Şanlıurfa= Urfa
    Kahramanmaraş= Maraş
    Afyonkarahisar= Afyon (karahisar means black fort)

    I think these towns can be good examples.
    gazi, şanlı and kahraman are titles given to those cities as a reference of their inhabitants' glamorous struggles (and their great success) against bloody French invasion in south-eastern Turkey after the WWI. They mean great, glorious, dignified, etc.:)
  17. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    There are lots of local abbreviations in spoken, colloquial, English, for example:

    Donny (Doncaster)
    Macc (Macclesfield)
    Ilson (Ilkeston)

    Don't tell me you haven't even heard of the official versions!
  18. ronanpoirier

    ronanpoirier Senior Member

    Porto Alegre
    Brazil - Portuguese
    We have POA for Porto Alegre, but it seems that the only ones who know that are us :) It's rarely used at the spoken language but it's understood anytime. But people from other states don't understand eve nthe writen form. :)
  19. MingRaymond Senior Member

    HK Cantonese
    In Chinese, there are many of them.

    For example, the city Guangzhou(廣州) is 粵, Shanghai(上海) is 滬. For provinces, Guangxi (廣西) is 桂, Fujian(福建) is 閩. Nearly every provinces have abbreviations, some of them have more than one.

    In Hong Kong, people like to creat trendy names for places. It is abbreviations too. For example, 尖沙嘴 becomes 尖嘴,旺角 becomes MK(from the English name Mong Kok).
  20. Ilmo

    Ilmo Member Emeritus

    In Sweden, on the coast of Bay of Botnia, there is a small (and old) town with a rather long name Örnsköldsvik, that may be difficult to pronounce even for the Swedes themselves. That is for sure the reason that the natives themselves call their home town in a short way only Övik.

    Örnsköldsvik means literally Cove of Eagle's Coat of Arms.
    Övik means only Island Cove.
  21. Chazzwozzer

    Chazzwozzer Senior Member

    NY: New York
    LA: Los Angeles

    İst: İstanbul
    Ank: Ankara:
    Ant: Antalya
  22. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    In Russian we seldom abbreviate but there are some common exceptions:

    Санкт-Петербург- Питер (Петербург)
    Sankt-Peterburg (St. Petersburg) - Piter (read: Pe-ter), also Peterburg (dropping Sankt)
    Владивосток - Владик
    Vladivostok - Vladik
    Нижний Новгород - Нижний
    Nizhni Novgorod - Nizni
    Мурманск - Мурман (I heard this long ago, not sure if it's still used?)
    Murmansk - Murman
  23. olivinha Senior Member

    Português, Brasil
    Rio = Rio de Janeiro
    Sampa = São Paulo
    Belô = Belo Horizonte

    Tijuana = TJ
  24. samanthalee

    samanthalee Senior Member

    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    Chinese abbreviation for their province is the most illogical of all other languages. We have
    Guangzhou = Yue
    Shanghai = Hu
    Guangxi = Gui
    Fujian = Min
    Hainan = Qiong
    Anhui = Wan
    Hebei = Ji
    Hubei = Er
    Henan = Yu
    Hunan = Xiang
    Jiangxi = Gan
    Shangdong = Lu
    Shangxi = Jin

    by the way, they are used on car plates too...
  25. Cecilio

    Cecilio Senior Member

    Valencia, Spain
    Spanish, Valencian/Catalan
    That's interesting. Why do you have abbreviations which are so different from the original word, like "Min" from "Fujian"? Do people in general know these abbreviations and use them in everyday conversation?
  26. samanthalee

    samanthalee Senior Member

    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    Hmm...I have no idea why it is so...

    I guess people in China will know these abbreviations. But us in Singapore just have vague knowledge of them.

    These abbreviations are usually used as adjectives. For example "Yue Drama" is the name we give to the Chinese Opera form well-loved in Hong Kong, because it originates from Guangzhou. (In English it is called Cantonese Opera because Guangzhou used to be spelled as Canton in the old days, like Beijing was Peking)
  27. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    I know this

    Budapest = Bp. (only written)
    Amsterdam = Adam
    Bratislava = Blava (spoken)
  28. federicoft Senior Member

    In Italian provincial codes are often used in written form.

    Rome - RM
    Milan - MI
    Naples - NA
    Turin - TO

    Probably there are some slang abbreviations used in spoken language, but I can't think of any right now.
  29. Ajura Senior Member

  30. mcibor Senior Member

    I know that some people from Szczecin, when writing to other people from Szczecin refer to our town as Sz-n.
    But it's not Poland-wide.

    I heard also
    Jadę do Zakopca instead of Jadę do Zakopanego
    But it's not very common.

    PS. LA and NY is known in Poland
  31. filoutjie Member

    Sydney, Australia
    Australia, Afrikaans
    I can think of a few in South Africa: Port Elizabeth = P.E., Durban = Durbs., Bloemfontein = Bloem., Amanzimtoti = 'Toti. Johannesburg = Jo'burg. We also sometimes called it Johies and I think I've heard it called Jozi.
  32. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I think in Flanders we do not abbreviate names of towns or cities while speaking. There is a tendency to shorten them in informal written texts, I think: BxL, A'pen (Antwerp), G'bergen (Geraardsbergen). But this is quite different from what Americans do.

    I cannot think of other abbreviations now...
  33. OldAvatar Senior Member

    In Romania, there are 41 counties. The abbreviations has entered into the common language from the ones used in car number plates and they are similar with the ones from USA, formed by two letters, except Bucharest which has only one letter.
  34. Mišo Senior Member

    Preßburg aka Pozsony
    Austrian German & Hungarian
    Our capital city has nice nickname - Blava. ;)
  35. kusurija

    kusurija Senior Member

    Lithuania, K. city
    Lithuania Czech
    In former Czechoslovakia (and some time later) was in use these "abbreviations" on the number plates of the cars:
    Banská Bystrica: BB, BC
    Bardejov: BJ
    Benešov: BN
    Beroun: BE
    Blansko: BK
    Bratislava(hl.m.=capital, abbr.: Blava): BA, BL
    Bratislava-vidiek: BH, BY
    Brno-město: BM, BS, BZ
    Brno-venkov: BI, BO
    Bruntál: BR
    Břeclav: BV
    čadca: CA
    česká Lípa. CL
    české Budějovice: CB, CE
    Český Krumlov: CK
    Děčín: DC
    Dolný Kubín: DK
    Domažlice: DO
    Dunajská Streda: DS
    Frýdek-Místek: FI, FM
    Galanta: GA
    Gottwaldov: GT, GV(newly: Zlín: ZL)
    Havlíčkův Brod(abbrev.:Havlobrod) HB
    Hodonín: HO
    Hradec Králové: HK, HR
    Humenné: HN
    Cheb: CH
    Chomutov: CV
    Chrudim: CR
    Jablonec nad Nisou: JN
    Jičín: JC
    Jihlava: JI
    Jindřichův Hradec: JH
    Karlovy Vary(abbr.:Vary): KV, (KR)
    Karviná: KA, KI
    Klatovy: KT
    Kolín: KO
    Komárno: KN
    Košice-město: KE
    Košice-vidiek: KE
    Kroměříž: KM
    Kutná Hora: KH
    Levice: LV
    Liberec: LI, LB
    Liptovský Mikuláš: LM
    Litoměřice: LT
    Louny: LN
    Lučenec: LC
    Martin: MT
    Mělník: ME
    Michalovce: MI
    Mladá Boleslav: MB
    Most: MO
    Náchod: NA
    Nitra: NI, NR
    Nové Zámky: NZ
    Nymburk(abbr.:Nbk) NB
    Olomouc(abbr.: Olmík): OC, OL, OM
    Opava: OP
    Ostrava (abbr.: Ova): OV, OS, OT
    Pardubice(nickname: Puchov): PU, PA
    Pelhřimov: PE
    Písek: PI
    Plzeň-město: PN, PM
    Plzeň-jih: PJ
    Plzeň-sever: PS
    Poprad: PP
    Považská Bystrica: PX (cf.:příbram)
    Praha(abbr.:pha)hl.m.=capital) AB, AC, ...-AZ
    Praha-východ: PH, PY(Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav)
    Praha-západ: PC, PZ
    Prachatice: PT
    Prešov: PO
    Prievidza: PD
    Prostějov: PV
    Přerov: PR
    Příbram: PB
    Rakovník: RA
    Rimavská Sobota: RS
    Rokycany: RO
    Rožňava: RV
    Rychnov nad Kněžnou: RK
    Semily: SM
    Senica: SE
    Sokolov: SO
    Spišská Nová Ves: SN
    Stará Ľubovňa: SL
    Strakonice: ST
    Svitavy: SY
    Šumperk: SU
    Tábor: TA
    Tachov: TC
    Třebíč: TR
    Uherské Hradiště: UH
    Ústí nad Labem: UL, US
    Ústí nad Orlicí: UO (not 魚! )
    Veľký Krtíš: VK
    Vranov nad Topľou: VV
    Vsetín: VS
    Vyškov: VY
    Zlín: ZL
    Znojmo: ZN
    Zvolen: ZV
    Žďár nad Sázavou: ZR
    Žiar nad Hronom: ZH
    Žilina: ZA, ZI
    other abbreviation: Poděbrady: Pdy...
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2008
  36. javiskefka New Member

    English - Mid-Atlantic
    The capital city of the United States, Washington, DC (which stands for District of Columbia), is commonly called just DC. Locally we also say 'The District'.
  37. Dymn Senior Member

    Catalan, Catalonia

    Written abbreviations:
    Barcelona - BCN
    Tarragona - TGN
    L'Hospitalet - L'H
    Sabadell - SBD

    Spoken abbreviations:
    Barcelona - Barna
    Sant Cugat - Santcu
    Santa Coloma - Santaco (often spelled as Santako?)
    Castelldefels - Castefa
  38. Messquito

    Messquito Senior Member

    台灣台北 Taipei, Taiwan
    Chinese - Taiwan 中文 Taiwanese Hokkien 臺語
    As what is mentioned above, Chinese likes to assign a single syllable for a place.
    For province abbrevs, they:

    1. Assign a name of an ancient state or one of the ancient nine provinces in the same area:
    Ancient states:
    山西省(Shangxi), used to be where the Jin state was during the Warring States period, that's why it's called 晉(Jin) now as it's short name
    Other examples: 山東省(Shangdong)-->魯(Lu), 湖北省(Hubei)-->鄂(Er),
    Nine provinces:

    2. Take a character out of it's official name,
    e.g. 北市(), 寧省(), etc.

    3. Choose a representative river/mountain in the area,
    e.g. 湖南省(Hunan) is famous for 湘江, so it has 湘(Xiang) as it's abbreviation.
    Other: 福建省(Fujian)-->閩(Min), 廣東省(Guangdong)-->粵(Yue), 廣西(Guangxi)壯族自治區-->桂(Gui), 安徽省(Anhui)-->皖(Wan), 海南省(Hainan)-->瓊(Qiong), 江西省(Jiangxi)-->贛(Gan), 重慶市(Chongqing)-->渝(Yu)

    As to Taiwan, we assign abbreviations to our place names, too, but usually only when we refer to them in group:
    北北基地區(The area of Taipei 台, new Taipei 新 and Keelung 隆)
    桃竹苗地區(The area of Taoyuan 園, Xinju 新 and Miaoli 栗)

    We Chinese-speaking people also assign one-character abbreviations for country/continent names:
    港澳台(Hongkong, Macau and Taiwan)
    菲=律賓(The Philipines)
    紐奧=西蘭與澳大利亞(New Zealand and Australia)
    俄德法美日奧義英(羅斯、意志、蘭西、亞利哥、本、地利、大利、格蘭) (aR-Russia, Deutsch, France, America, Nihon, Austria, Italy, England)
    以巴衝突(色列和勒斯坦的衝突)(Israeli-Palestinian conflict)
    伊戰爭(Lit. double I's war)(拉克、朗戰爭)(Iran-Iraq war)
    歐美(洲及洲)(Europe and America)

    Also, for some frequently occurring states in the US:
    華府=盛頓哥倫比亞特區(Washington D.C.)
    北卡=北卡羅來納州(North Carolina)
    南卡=南卡羅來納州(South Carolina)

    And we do have a set of Romanized abbreviations for places in Taiwan, but most of us don't even know:
    TPC= Taipei City
    CIH= Chia Yi County
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
  39. DrChen

    DrChen Senior Member

    As for France, I can only think of the nickname we French people give to Paris :
    It is not an abbreviation at all tho :eek:
    Sorry guys, I thought maybe it could possibly be interesting, by any tiny chance?
  40. ilocas2 Senior Member

    So Barça is only nickname for FC Barcelona, not for the town?
  41. Dymn Senior Member

    Catalan, Catalonia
    Exactly. If someone calls the city "Barça", it's a foreigner :)
  42. ularkusut New Member

    Indonesia - Indonesia
    in my country, Indonesia, usually we never say it in short word, because the word already short. but when we write, we can use a short word.
    Jakarta : JKT
    Bandung : BDG
    Pekanbaru : PKU
    Batam : BTH (not BTM :D)
    Medan : MDN
    Surabaya : SBY
    Padang : PDG
    Bali : Bali
    Tanjung Pinang : Tj. Pinang
    Semarang : SMG
    Pontianak : PTK

    and so many other.
    but we never say the short word, we only use those word at texting.
  43. Stoggler

    Stoggler Senior Member

    Sussex, GBR
    UK English
    In the UK, we don't have many shortened versions that are often used (at least nationally), but Birmingham is one, and it's often called Brum. Aberystwyth is called Aber locally.

    Some counties have shortened versions, e.g. Nottinghamshire - Notts; Staffordshire - Staffs. Or the 'shire' element of the name is missed off completely if the context makes it clear. And a lot of the counties have abbreviated forms that are (or more likely, were) used in (some) written language: e.g. Oxfordshire - Oxon, Sussex - Sx.

    A town I lived in for a little while three or four years ago, Littlehampton, is often (humorously) referred to as LA by locals. And the city of Chichester /ˈtʃɪˌtʃɛstə/ is sometimes called Chi /tʃɑi/. These names are only used locally so wouldn't be understood outside a small radius.
  44. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Maybe I was confused by the word abbreviation, but in Czech there are many names consisted of 2-3 words, but you seldom use that in colloquial Czech.

    Hradec Králové - Hradec
    České Budějovice - Budějovice
    Mladá Boleslav - Boleslav
    Karlovy Vary - Vary
  45. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    České Budějovice - Budějce
    Valašské Meziříčí - Valmez
  46. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    I also recall:
    Ústí nad Labem - Ústí
    Mariánské Lázně - Mariánky

    I wonder if there was something for "Gottwaldov" :)
  47. franknagy

    franknagy Senior Member

    Debrecen = Db. (only written, and used only the inhabitants of this town)
  48. bvphat New Member

    In Vietnamese, we also use short word for city/location... too:
    Ha noi: HN
    Viet Nam: VN
    Ho Chi Minh City: TPHCM
    Da Nang: DN
    Hai Phong: HP
  49. HilfswilligerGenosse Senior Member

    German, High German
    In Germany, it is not idiomatic to abbreviate any city name in common speech. I have read, though, that the locals of the small town "Radevormwald" call their town "Rade" (-vormwald means "in front of the forest")

    The city of Kaiserslautern was called "K-Town" by American soldiers, though. And in football journalism, you often refer to the cities by a river or region:
    "Die Weserstädter" would mean Werder Bremen, for example. "Die Kraichgauer" for 1899 Hoffenheim. But this is limited to football journalism.

    What we Germans do like is calling a country by the name of its capital: Washington hat ein Einreiseverbot für sieben muslimische Staaten erlassen.
    Teheran hat eins auf den Deckel bekommen.
    London will aus der EU aussteigen.

    And another thing we Germans love is to build swear words/derogatory sentences out of car licence plates. Especially by children, but even adults do it on long journeys:
    FFB (for Fürstenfeldbrück) can become Führerschein für Bekloppte, Fürsten, Freiherrn und Barone or Fahrer fährt blöd
    RV (for Ravensburg) is interpreted as Rindviech
    BC (for Biberach) as Bauernclub
    GF (for Gifhorn) as Gefährlicher Fahrer
    etc. etc.
  50. Holger2014 Senior Member

    I can't think of any examples of commonly used abbreviations of German town or city names either but it is quite common to abbreviate the name of the Bundesland/federal state of Nordrein-Westfalen/Northrhine-Westfalia to NRW. Another example (only used in casual speech): Mecklenburg-Vorpommern > Meck-Pomm.

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