[OSM-talk] Bilingual street names
Phillip.Barnett at itn.co.uk
Wed Apr 25 13:38:19 BST 2007
A nice overview from Simon - as the husband of a Welsh speaker I'd
completely agree with all the below.
With one caveat - shouldn't we be using the more complete revision of
ISO639-3 instead of ISO639-1 ? In which case we'd use name:cym=placename
Now we just need to prompt the developers to consider languages ....
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From: talk-bounces at openstreetmap.org
[mailto:talk-bounces at openstreetmap.org] On Behalf Of Simon Hewison
Sent: 22 April 2007 21:35
To: talk at openstreetmap.org
Subject: Re: [OSM-talk] Bilingual street names
Barnett, Phillip wrote:
> Hi Tom,
> But doesn't that give the English version the default prominence, as
> were? I know some people who'd be a mite touchy about that :-) -
> use name:en and name:cym rather than just name? And do the renderers
> deal with that OK?
I've been using name and nat_name
where nat_name is the national language name of the place.
Of course, in Wales, the national language, is Welsh. It just so happens
that these days more people in Wales speak English fluently than Welsh.
If you're going to use name:language=placename, then I'd suggest that
within Wales, you use name:cy=placename.
cy is the two letter ISO639-1 language code for the Welsh language.
There are some places in Wales where nobody uses an English placenames,
or there is no English placename, eg. Ystrad Mynach.
There are also some places in Wales where there are no commonly used
Welsh placenames, and Welsh speakers tend to use the English language
place name, eg. Crosskeys.
There are also some places in Wales where the signposted welsh language
placenames are wrong, and were made up by well-meaning but non-Welsh
speaking civil servants after 1971 when protesters had been defacing or
destroying English language only signs, and road signs in Wales were
supposed to include the national language of Wales. An example of this
was Aberdaugleddau, known to English speakers as Milford Haven. There
are some signs about that incorrectly signposted it as Milffordd, though
last time I was there, they had been amended with stickers with the
correct spelling. This example must have been a guess at transliterating
place names, since Haverfordwest was Hwlffordd.
Finally, some places in Wales have English language names that are an
attempted anglicisation of the Welsh placename, so that it's not a
translation, but something easier for non-Welsh speakers to pronounce
and spell. For instance, Caerphilly (English) should actually be spelt
Caerffili (Welsh). In many cases, early English mapmakers attempted to
spell Welsh words using phonetic English and English grammar. The result
is that these forms of names appear all over Wales.
Much of this information comes from
As such, I reckon that you should set the name tag to the Welsh name in
areas where the Welsh language has a high concentration of native
speakers, and use name:en for the English name in such situations.
Ditto for street names. Many street names are signposted in Welsh only,
yet they do have official English translations, eg. Stryd-y-Capel
becomes Chapel Street, but it's never signposted as Chapel Street, and
most English speakers refer to it as Stryd-y-Capel in their address. In
which case, set the name tag to be the Welsh language.
There really is no substitute for local knowledge when doing place names
in mapping. Since Wales has very little decent Yahoo maps coverage,
we're stuck with visiting with a GPS and old maps like New Popular
Edition (which regularly mis-spelt place names in Wales). If as an
English speaker you want to map Wales, go and visit the place. It's a
marvellous place. Speak to the locals, there's mostly friendly,
especially the members of Cymdeithas yr Iaith (Welsh Language Society)
if you show an interest in getting Welsh language placenames on maps
with the correct spelling.
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