Upon entering the town, you can’t help but notice the sign – “You are now at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch”. No, I didn’t just stroke out while penning this article. “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch” is 58 letters long and locals don’t mind if you refer to it as just Llanfairpll or Llanfair PG to speed things up. The town is located on the island of Anglesey in Wales and recently made headlines when a weatherman in the UK pronounced it perfectly during a live weather report.
The little village has the longest name in Europe and the second-longest town name in the world (a town in New Zealand has a 85-letter name). The town has only 3,100 residents and the name is technically 51 letters since in Welsh, “ch” and “ll” are considered single letters. The village was originally known as “Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll” and is sometimes still referred to as Llanfairpwllgwyngyll and was given its long name in the 19th century in an attempt to develop it as a commercial and tourist center
As for the meaning of the name, it basically tells you the town’s exact location, standing for “Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave”. In other words, Parish [church] of [St.] Mary (Llanfair) [in] Hollow (pwll) of the White Hazel [township] (gwyn gyll) near (go ger) the rapid whirlpool (y chwyrn drobwll) [and] the parish [church] of [St.] Tysilio (Llantysilio) with a red cave ([a]g ogo[f] goch).
Interestingly, the music group Super Furry Animals named their debut E.P. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgoger-ychwyndrobwllantysil-iogogogochynygofod (in space), Yeasayer referenced the town in their song “Red Cave,” and it is featured in movies like Barbarella and The Road to Hong Kong. Actress Naomi Watts briefly lived there with her grandfather, and can pronounce the name of the town perfectly.
How to pronounce Llanfairpwllgwyn-gyllgogerychwyrndrob-wllllantysiliogogogoch
LAN – FAIR – PWLL – GWYN – GYLL – GO – GER – YCH – WYRN – DROB – WLL – LLAN – TY – SILIO – GO – GO – GOCH
LLAN – Pronounce this segment as you would do the Scottish word “clan”. The “ll” is indeed an unusual sound and you’ll have to find a recording to accurately reproduce it – it’s near impossible to explain in English language.
FAIR – Pronounce this segment as you would the English word “fire”.
GWYN – Yep, pronounce it “Gwyn”.
GYLL – First say the english word “gil” (like a fish gill”). Then pronounce the “ll”.
GO – Another easy segment – it’s pronounced “go”.
GER – Simply say the word “care” but change the “c” for a “g”.
YCH – Say “yuck”. Now take the “y” from the beginning to leave “uck”. Now change the “ck” to “ch” as pronounced in the Scottish word “loch”.
WYRN – Although it looks odd, it’s simply pronounced “win”.
DROB – First say the english word “draw” and then add a “b” on the end.
WLL – Pronounced the same as “PWLL” above but without the “p” sound.
LLAN – See “LLAN” above.
TY – Sounds like the “tw” in “twig”.
SILIO – Pronounce it as “silly – o”. The “o” is pronounced as in “cot”.
GO – As above.
GO – As above.
GOCH – Pronounced it as “go” with a “ch” at the end.