The names they are a-changin’

Recently, a Frisian municipality decided to use Frisian names for the localities and streets, in stead of their Dutch versions. (Frisian is a language that is spoken in the province Friesland, in the north of the Netherlands.)

In some cases, this means only a little change in the street type; so for example, ‘Van Sytzamaweg’ is changed to ‘Van Sytzamawei’. In other cases the resemblance is only knowledgeable for people who know both Dutch and Frisian: ‘Spreeuwenstraat’ is changed to ‘Protterstrjitte’.

bordeaux_streetLanguage preference issues like this form one of the reasons why streets or localities get a new name. There are also some other situations: sometimes people give a street a new name because they want to remember someone; sometimes it is the reverse: they want to forget the person who was in the old name. Continue reading ‘The names they are a-changin’’

The obfuscated address contest

Programmers sometimes organize contests in writing code that is perfectly understandable for a compiler, but very difficult to understand for people.

When working on products for address standardisation, one can discover an interesting variant: people sometimes write – unintentionally, I suppose – addresses in such a way that they are rather understandable for people, but very difficult to process for computers.

Consider for example this street name:

Kerkchoosteeg hoogl

The official version is:

Hooglandsekerk-choorsteeg (‘high land church – choir alley’)

This street contains a couple of errors:

  • A hyphen is missing.
  • One ‘r’ is missing.
  • One word (‘Hooglandsekerk’) has been split up into two words.
  • The first word (‘Hooglandse’) is written at the end.
  • One word is abbreviated (‘hoogl’).

The first two errors are not very special, but the last three can only be discovered in common: it can only be discovered that the word ‘hooglandsekerk’ has been split up into two words, if at the same time it is understood that the left part has been abbreviated and moved to the end.
Continue reading ‘The obfuscated address contest’