Me: painstakingly selects names for every town, mountain, river, etc in my books using lots of research into meanings and associations
The real world:
This has heavy james joyce/finnegans wake vibes lol, the hill builds with each heap of misunderstanding piled upon the last.
For those who don't care for video, I'll try to add an extract of the closed captions to this post as an unlisted and mention-less reply, once I get to my computer.
Closed captions for Tom Scott's video "Hill Hill Hill Hill, debunked, debunked" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUyXiiIGDTo
There are lots of places in the world which have the same name twice.
Places like the Sahara Desert: well, Sahara comes from the Arabic for "desert" so that's the Desert Desert.
Or the River Avon. Avon originally meant "River" so it's the River River.
There are a few triple names like that in the world, but this Torpenhow Hill in the Lake District, in north-west of England is the only place in the world with four words that all mean the same thing.
Tor, Old English for hill.
Penn, Old Welsh for hill How, Old English for a slightly different kind of hill and finally modern English, hill.
I know it's not a massively impressive place, but the name's good.
Except that's a story that's been debunked quite a few times.
Double and triple place names are a thing, that's true.
They tend to happen because centuries ago locals would name the nearby hill, or river, or mountain, or desert, the obvious name like, "the hill" and then when folks with other languages arrived for trade or conquest or exploration they added their word for it as well.
But the trouble here is: there is no Torpenhow Hill marked on any official map.
The name's almost certainly a modern invention.
Someone noticed the village of Torpenhow about a mile away and spotted the three words for hill there and decided to add the modern English "hill" to it as well.
And: tor, penn, and how all have more complicated definitions than "hill".
It's not really "hill hill hill", that village you can plausibly translate "torpenhow" as, well, the land the village sits on: a small rise jutting out from a much bigger incline.
This is just a bump on the side of an actual big hill.
I don't have a drone with me, but Google Earth shows it well enough.
Also... the village's name is "Trepenna". It's spelled "Torpenhow" but the local pronunciation is "trepenna".
So you can tell who's done the research when this is mentioned in a list of weird place names.
In reality, there's just the village of "Trepenna".
Tor-pen-how Hill doesn't exist. That's the debunk.
And so now, I'm going to debunk the debunk.
Because if that's true, why am I out of breath? What did I just climb?
I came up here from the village, it's a slow steady climb on a country road.
The land around this point is lower, and it sits right next to Trepenna-slash-Torpenhow.
Now, I'm not going to colonise the Lake District and tell them how they should be naming things.
But there have been plenty of tourist attractions built around much less than this.
A good map is like a good dictionary: it reflects the real world, it doesn't make it.
If people will go to that one tree in New Zealand that looks good on Instagram just because they've seen other pictures of it they'd probably come to Hill Hill Hill Hill.
People go to Four Corners in the US just to be in four states at once, it's not too weird to think that people would want to visit here.
Sure, the village is "Trepenna", but this can be Torpenhow Hill if enough people want it to be.
And the thing is: as I record this, if you type "Torpenhow Hill" into online maps...
quite a few of them point you here.
Actually, just over there, I'll CG in a giant map marker just to make my point.
The only thing stopping this officially being "Torpenhow Hill" is that there's not enough consensus.
So who decides that?
Because I do worry about coming to places like this.
This is a public footpath, I didn't have to ask permission to be here but I have a duty of care to the locations I visit, and to people who live there.
That one tree in New Zealand is being slowly destroyed by tourism and by vandals.
Now, "Trepenna" is far enough off the tourist trail so, probably only a few geography nerds will bother to trek out here.
But if this did start becoming popular, if tourists did start arriving at Tor-pen-how Hill I do wonder how the locals in the quiet little village would feel.
Because the signpost that says this is a public footpath has mysteriously disappeared since the last time the Google Street View car came by.
I'm not saying anyone destroyed it I'm just saying no-one's bothered to replace it.
So as for how the locals feel?
I probably shouldn't bother them by asking.
For a book I'm planning, one country is named after the word "home". The other country is named after their largest river, whose name can be roughly translated to "river".
@khaos_farbauti I used to live in the city of Village in the nation of Village.
It's hard to top that.
Server run by the main developers of the project It is not focused on any particular niche interest - everyone is welcome as long as you follow our code of conduct!