What are some cities where residents rarely call the city by its official name? For example most San Francisco residents seem to say 'SF', and most Philadelphia residents call it 'Philly'.

EDIT, 21 APRIL 2015:  Die Kurfurstendamm, one of the most major streets in the middle of Berlin (Germany), is almost always called Ku-damm.

Ah, I wondered if there was a shortened Tegucigalpa, and there it is.  That one's a mouthful.

For Dan Pepper, you mentioned A-Squared, but there's also its neighbor, Ypsilanti, which is ALWAYS called "ipsy" by the locals.  Sounds cute - it's one of my favorites.

Cape Girardeau, Missouri is also always called Cape by the locals, except when officially or formally.

The "Twin Cities" isn't universal in M-SP; I still hear St. Paul or Minneapolis used individually somewhat more often.  But, drive up the road to the northwest for four hours, and the "Twin Cities" always means FARGO-MOORHEAD, and M-SP is instead just called "The Cities" there.

And, this isn't a city itself, but the principal businesses-and-big-box-stores street in Corpus Christi TX is South Padre Island Drive, but it is always called S.P.I.D.

I think the locals also usually say "Corpus" when they're talking about their city.  Can anybody verify this?

And, if you're in San Francisco, do not, I repeat DO NOT, call it Frisco.  Though, when I'm in the area I'll often call it Sanfran, even though that's not locally used there (rather surprisingly). 

Medicine Hat, Alberta is often called The Hat.

On Washington's Olympic Peninsula, the small town of Sequim (which is blessed with almost a semi-arid microclimate) is inexplicably pronounced Squim.  Similarly, the small northeast Wisconsin town of Shawano is Shaw-no. 

Davenport, and surrounding cities in Illinois and Iowa, are almost always called the Quad Cities.  Even their airport OFFICIALLY retains that name.  But, that causes a common argument about "Which city was left out?" because at least five cities there have a population substantial enough to be included:  Davenport, Rock Island, Moline, East Moline, Bettendorf...and, arguably, Milan.

San Luis Rio Colorado (in Sonora), Mexico, is San Luis to the locals, like a number of Mexican cities listed by somebody else.  Nobody's covering the Mexican cities in Oaxaca, though, many of which have EXTREMELY long names, ten syllables not at all uncommon there.

Sticking with Mexico...this isn't a city, either, but what we call the Gulf of California is called "Mar de Cortés" (Sea of Cortez) by Mexicans.

And then, this isn't even limited to geographic place names, though geography is still usually involved.  What most people in the United States call the Civil War, is called the War of Northern Aggression by some Confederate loyalists.  The name of that war isn't in flux, as I've really never heard any variation in either of the two names.

EDIT (08 August 2015):  Wrong...it is sometimes called "The War Between The States" but I don't hear that very often.

OK, there HAS TO be a shortened name for Panama City Beach...right?  And while we're in Florida, what about Apalachicola?  Though if there is a shorter name for it, I'd NEVER use it...I just "lurve" how that name rolls off the tongue...
I believe Groningen is commonly known in its surroundings as "stad" ("city"). Not "de stad" ("the city"). Just "stad". Groningers are weird.

In the Dutch province of Limburg, the names for towns in the local dialects are sometimes surprisingly different from the official Dutch ones. There's an amazingly detailed report about this that was prepared by a linguist when the provincial government decided to figure out all the local names of places to put on signs. (See this Page on www.ru.nl.) Some names are radically simplified: "Sint-Odiliënberg", "Berg aan de Maas" and "Berg" all become simply "Berg", and Ubachsberg "De Berg", which is not confusing at all because they are all tiny places that aren't all that close to each other. Others are phonologically transmogrified ("Awstrao" for "Amstenrade") almost beyond recognition, or randomly drop letters ("Bor" for "Born"). Articles are added, and dropped, and French and German names are treated especially creatively. One has to suspect, though, that in many cases the local names must have been closer to the Dutch ones at some point, since in many cases the Dutch ones are the ones with a clear etymology, but then again they may be backformations. In one particularly confusing case, "Roermond" and "Urmond" really are the places where the creeks now named "Roer" and "Ur", respectively, join the river Maas, and you would not necessarily guess that from "Remunj" and "Werment"... but then again, "Urmond" is also attested as early as the 12th century as "Overmunte", with "munte" allegedly just being a mound, and the name of the creek, which originally joined the river somewhere else, a later backformation!

There are a few examples of this happening in the Philippines:

  • Rodriguez, Rizal, just outside of Manila, is still frequently called Montalban, the old name.
  • A number of cities in the Philippines abbreviate if the city name is long.  Quezon City, for example, is frequently called QC, and the QC neighborhood of San Francisco del Monte is frequently abbreviated to SFDM.  In the same vein, the city of San Jose del Monte in Bulacan, just north of QC, is frequently called SJDM.  Los Baños in Laguna is frequently called Elbi (which is how "LB" is pronounced).  Zamboanga is frequently shortened to Zambo when referring to Zamboanga City, with qualifiers attached when referring to the provinces of the Zamboanga Peninsula (e.g. Zamboanga del Sur is Zambo Sur).
  • Two cities in the Philippines have official names that include special qualifiers to them, which people commonly drop in ordinary speech.  The Science City of Muñoz  is frequently just called Muñoz, and the Island Garden City of Samal (abbreviated IGaCoS) is normally just called Samal.

In addition to the Philippines, this phenomenon also happens in other parts of Southeast Asia (including Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City, which have already been mentioned here):

  • Yogyakarta in Indonesia is still commonly called Jogjakarta (which is actually the name of the city spelled with the old orthography), with residents frequently shortening the name to Jogja.  Note that 'J' here is pronounced as in Juliet, not Yankee.
  • Beside Yogyakarta is the city of Surakarta, which residents commonly call Solo.
  • Residents of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia frequently call the city KL.  In the same vein, residents of Kota Kinabalu (on Sabah) frequently call the city KK.

Moving on to Poland, I only know of one case.  In Warsaw, train stations within the city are named with the city name included (e.g. Warszawa Centralna, Warszawa Wschodnia, etc.), and on station maps and other literature, this is frequently shortened to W-wa.  Increasingly, this has been "expanded" to form Wawa (pronounced "Vava"), which is also in common use.
I'm not surprised that  no one has mentioned Delhi/New Delhi yet
Because almost 80% people who know about Delhi call it New Delhi while New Delhi is a very small part of Delhi which lies south of Old Delhi/Shahjahanabad which is also part of Delhi.
Even google mentions Delhi as New Delhi


Quetzaltenango, Guatemala's second-biggest city, officially bears the name given to it by Tlaxcala soldiers, ex-Aztec subjects who came south from Mexico with Pedro de Alvarado, Guatemala's conquistador. Most people who live there just call it Xela¹, a shortened version of Xe' Laju No'j, a pre-existing local Mayan name for the area. The official name is not considered offensive, but "Quetzaltenango" is just too much of a mouthful for day-to-day use. (Or for songs; the city's unofficial anthem is the marimba-friendly romantic tune "Luna de Xelaju".)

¹The "x" is pronounced "sh" (ʃ), as in other Mayan words. The old Mayan name is based on "10 No'j", a daysign of the Mayan calendar associated with mountains, thought, and wisdom; the Aztec name means something like "Precioustown", because precious quetzal feathers were traded through there.
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