Knowing what to say, V, W, X, Y, Z: Endonyms, Exonyms, and Toponyms

In linguistics, the name used to refer to a place in a foreign language is known as an exonym. The name used to refer to a geographical feature in its native language is an endonym. When visiting a foreign place it would be helpful to know both. Here’s a brief list of toponyms (names of places), some of which I plan to use while I’m in Europe!


Country (exonym) Capital (exonym) Country (endonym) Capital (endonym) Official or native language(s) (alphabet/script)
Vanuatu Port Vila Vanuatu Port-Vila English
Vatican City Vatican City Civitas Vaticana Latin
Venezuela Caracas Spanish
Vietnam Hanoi Việt Nam Hà Nội Vietnamese
Virgin Islands, British Road Town English
Virgin Islands, US Charlotte Amalie English

W, X, Y, Z

Country (exonym) Capital (exonym) Country (endonym) Capital (endonym) Official or native language(s) (alphabet/script)
Wallis and Futuna Matâ’Utu Wallis-et-Futuna Matâ’Utu French
Yemen Sana’a Al-Yaman
(Arabic script)
Zambia Lusaka English
Zimbabwe Harare English


VideoPost: Leaving London

About Tickets

One of the things that I hadn’t thought much about was trains/train companies and the way they decided who used which set of tracks. I’m still really not all to sure, so if you understand it all, I would be happy to hear from you. I have noticed, however, that many of the lines in England have a single service provider. I am to sure if that is a result of certain rights peculiar to certain companies (government contracts for example) or if those companies have delegated those right via group bargaining process between all parties involved. Or perhaps, it is simply a factor of demand and the amount of supply the companies can provide while maintaining efficiency. What if I wanted to start a rail company what would be the process and how would I receive access to the lines, would I pay a private entity or would I be responsible only to the government? I like asking questions like these (sometimes much to the exasperation of those around me at the time). And sometimes the answers to what some of my closest friend would deem as “non-important questions” become all too important for people like me in deciding whether to continue with your travel plans as (half-)planned.

You see, I was made aware that there were only a few options available for me to get from London to Brussels, Belgium that didn’t involve feathers and Icarus-like aspirations or scuba gear and waterproof luggage. Planes involve too much hassle and the prices weren’t looking to good either. However, the epoch of the BritRail pass and British trains had ended for me. No, not because a giant body of water separates the British Isles from the Continent, but because that modern marvel of human engineering, the Chunnel, was serviced by Eurostar and not the British national rail. This meant that that journey would require another train purchase beyond the amounts paid for the BritRail and Eurail passes. Luckily, I had some knowledge of this beforehand and had made provisions in my budget. What may please you as much as it did me was the large discount I got simply from having a Eurail pass when purchasing my Eurostar ticket.

The Justification

As you will learn, I need to justify expenditure to myself through careful examination of alternatives and sufficient understanding of the prices offered for products or services. Going back to musings at the beginning of this post, I researched and saw that the Chunnel had resulted in quite a large cost to the company that had headed its construction and maintenance. The ‘separate jurisdiction’ accorded the Chunnel (i.e., not accepting passes from either of the national territories it operated through) seemed only fair in light of this information and subsequently, I had no regrets in buying the ticket.

The Absentmindedness

I had purchased my ticket about a week before my travel date and had, for the most part, forgotten about my departure. Not smart! The night before I left, I was feverishly packing and searching the internet for tips related to my journey seeing as I wasn’t sure when I would have internet access again. This led to my two-hour bit of shut-eye commencing at 2AM and ending at 4AM. It’s not a good feeling having two hours of sleep for an early morning in which you have to check out of your hostel, walk to a bus top you have never seen, to get to a train station (London Bridge) that did not open until 5:30 (fund this out after I rushed there for 5AM). Through all these worrisome incidents, however, I remained calm and arrived at King’s Cross station just in time to walk across to St. Pancras International Station, which both share practically the same address. Its beautifully ornate red-brick facade was a welcoming sight in the dim dawn light. I was able to quickly find the Eurostar ticket-printing machine and head to the international boarding area. Customs wasn’t too much of a hassle, and I was able to find WiFi a nice seat in the packed waiting lounge…

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Knowing what to say, M: Endonyms, Exonyms, and Toponyms

In linguistics, the name used to refer to a place in a foreign language is known as an exonym. The name used to refer to a geographical feature in its native language is an endonym. When visiting a foreign place it would be helpful to know both. Here’s a brief list of toponyms (names of places), some of which I plan to use while I’m in Europe!

Country (exonym) Capital (exonym) Country (endonym) Capital (endonym) Official or native language(s) (alphabet/script)
Macedonia Skopje Makedonija
(Cyrillic script)
Madagascar Antananarivo Madagasikara
Malawi Lilongwe English, Chichewa
Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Malay
Maldives Malé Dhivehi Raajje
(Thaana script)
Mali Bamako Mali
Malta Valletta Malta Valletta or Il-Belt Valletta Maltese
Marshall Islands Majuro English, Marshallese
Martinique Fort-de-France French
Mauritania Nouakchott Muritanya / Agawec
ⵎⵓⵔⵉⵜⴰⵏⵢⴰ / ⴰⴳⴰⵡⴻⵛ
Berber language
(Tifinagh script)
(Arabic script)
Mauritius Port Louis Maurice Port Louis English
Mayotte Mamoudzou Mayotte Mamoudzou French
Mexico Mexico City México Ciudad de México Spanish
Federated States of Micronesia Palikir English
Moldova Chișinău Moldova Chișinău Romanian
Monaco Monaco French
Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mongol Uls
Монгол Улс
(Cyrillic script)
Montenegro Podgorica Crna Gora
Црна Гора
Montserrat Brades Estate[4] English
Morocco Rabat Amerruk / Elmeɣrib
ⴰⵎⴻⵔⵔⵓⴽ / ⴻⵍⵎⴻⵖⵔⵉⴱ
Berber language
(Tifinagh script)
(Arabic script)
Mozambique Maputo Moçambique Maputo Portuguese


Video Post: Journey to the Heart of London (Part 3)

I hadn’t exactly planned out the day’s sites by the hour and had not thought Buckingham Palace would have been open for the few hours that I was open. So, I missed the changing of the guard (which I had expected to miss) and the tour hours of the palace =(.

But I think that I was able to see what I think is the most impressive square I have ever laid eyes upon: Trafalgar Square in Westminster, London. The layout of the square was simply inspiring and it certainly fulfills its task of reminding visitors of the glorious victory over the Napoleonic forces at the Battle of Trafalgar. At the centre of the square is a massive column bearing a statue of Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, leader of the British forces who died during the Battle.

My Links

On my Facebook fan page, you can find tons of extra photos. Also don’t forget to check the link for the short video clip I made this day. (I have a low-quality version on Facebook for mobile or low-bandwidth readers and a higher quality version at YouTube).

London: Facebook Album 2

Facebook Video

YouTube Video

Journey to the Heart of London (Part 2)

In London I went on my first hop-on-hop-off city bus tour. These are great for people who don’t have a lot of time to see all the historic or important landmarks in a place like London, where they are plentiful and somewhat widely dispersed. These buses have person audio guides that play background music reflective of the historical background/heritage of the particular country/area of operation. The background music for this tour consisted of historic christian (and, British) hymns.

I was reminded of the historical (and persisting) relationship between church and state that most Americans (and most other democracies for that matter) would probably wince at. You see, in England, the Anglican (or Episcopal) church is established by law as the national church. As a public institution, it provides marriages, baptisms, and other services to believing members and non-believers alike. The Supreme Governor of the Church of England is the English Sovereign, whose power is usually exercised through Parliament.

They played pieces such as Now Thank We All Our God and O God Our Help in Ages Past. I also heard Jerusalem/And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time (William Blake), which I kept hearing on TV commercials as well. The words of the hymn appear below. Even if you’re not “religiously affiliated,” it’s interesting to note, simply even for poetic analysis, the interesting nature of the hymn.

And did those feet in ancient time.
Walk upon England’s mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England’s pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England’s green & pleasant Land.

Dripping with patriotic mysticism, this hymn must be one of the most rhetorical I’ve heard yet. With an answer to the first verse in the positive being highly implausible, Blake juxtaposed the fantastical with the metaphorically possible “arrows of desire,” and the idealized reality of England’s “green & pleasant land.” One feels obliged to see the whole thing not as an ode to an unreachable utopia of the future, but as a call to constant vigilance in the creation of idealized (but tenable) peace through mental and physical exertion in the present.

Check out more photos in the extended Facebook Album

Besides the content, the hymn is truly a beauty to hear. I’ve included a link at the end of the post. Hear it here: