As I've explained before, there are a few times in history when places decided to keep their name the same on the map, but start pronouncing them differently. But sometimes the opposite happens: Usually there's a good cultural explanation for this, but inone Danish town resisted spelling Shady lady Farum for purely selfish reasons. Because of its deep harbor located on a small fjord, Aabenraa, Denmark has been an important fishing and shipbuilding town since the Middle Ages.
When in southern Denmark, visit beautiful Aabenraa Aabenraa
Today, it's a charming tourist stop as well, with a small art museum located in restored Brundlund Castle. Aabenraa's name comes from aaben strandor Danish for "open beach. That's how this vowel is written in every other Scandinavian language. Aabenraa wasn't having it.
For one thing, the town, like much of southern Denmarkhad a sizable German minority that thought the new spelling looked weird. Aabenraa, which was accustomed to being the world's very first town alphabetically, was unenthusiastic about moving to the very bottom of Aabenraa Danmark women list overnight and giving up the lead to Aachen, Germany.
Most geographic spelling changes happen when mapmakers switch romanization systems like when Peking became Beijing, or the South Korean city of Pusan became Busan or defer to local languages like when Calcutta became Kolkata.
Sometimes it takes a while, but the new name almost always catches on. To this day, the district's website says "Aabenraa"—in open violation of Danish spelling rules. Last month Kazakhstan announced it would be switching to the Latin alphabet, which means that, technically, the eomen could start spelling its name "Qazaqstan" going forward.
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Unidentified young woman, Aabenraa, Denmark (then Schleswig, Germany), ca. 1885
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Make new friends in Aabenraa at Hot or Not today!. In this week's Maphead, Ken Jennings explores the first town listed in the dictionary.