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July 21, 2006


Gabriel M.

Only indirrectly... Romania (where I live) has modeled its system after that of Belgium and France. City names and all are seen more like a matter of public infrastructure. This combined with a low rate of new cities, well, I don't think that anyone makes a full-time job out of this but most of the name conflicts have been resolved by the State.


Speaking as a resident of Arlington, MA, I'll tangentially note that much of the duplication of names in the US comes from the memorialization of other places.

At least, that's what I heard someone say in Paris, Texas.


Maybe it's federalism vs a strong national government?

Arlington MA, vs Arlington VA / Philadelphia PA vs PHiladelphia MS are always in different states. Perhaps French states are "weaker" than the US's and the official names come from up on high, whereas cities/town are incorporated within the state.

Somewhat related, Pennsylvania had at least two "Oaklands." When the railroads were built, shipping or travelling to "Oakland Pa" would add confusion. One was named "Oaks" instead. Similar deal with Greenville, Pa. One was renamed East Greenville...

Laurent GUERBY

There are some duplicate names in France without postfix. For some example lookup Aix, Castres, Mirepoix or Gargas on the http://fr.wikipedia.org web site.

French forms and id cards have both your city and "departement" number to identity your birth place, likely because this is necessary to uniquely identify a city in France.

But no ig czar here (but Napoleon administration did most of the work here, and he can be qualified as czar :).

Paul McLellan

Did you know that the departments are numbered in alphabetical order. 06 is Alpes Maritimes where I used to live. It is fun to find out about the exceptions. Corse (Corisica) was split so there is no 20, just 2A and 2B. Ages ago Seine (75) basically Paris was split and the new numbers were in the 90s (since Algeria was no more a colony where those departments used to be). There are other oddities, like Territoire de Belfort and the odd place that has been renamed that makes knowing the department for any given number quite tricky. The numbers are most obvious on the ends of car registratoin plates, although apparently this is set to (maybe has?) changed. When I lived near Nice, 75 (Paris) meant tourist. And it even worked for rental cars since Hertz etc registered all their cars in Paris anyway.

Kerim Can

Maybe it's because the US is a much younger country than France. In France all the cities have existed for centuries. Their names were given a long time ago by locals. In contrast, US is founded by immigrants. When immigrants from a single place settle in different places in the US, they all name the new settlement after their place of origin. Let's say European immigrants from the town of X come to US. Some go north and found X, Illinois and some go south and found X, Georgia.
Of course this is just a guess.


Well Dr. Miron, you will note that many of the places in France which have similar names are named for saints, and then the part that is added to them is descriptive of the region. Just like Paris Texas is different from Paris Maine. The state acts as the describer or locator.


There used to be many places in France with the same name. But when the postal system was created in the 19th century, names were complexified in order to introduce a differentiation. For instance my hometown of ROMANS became ROMANS-SUR-ISERE (ISERE being the name of the local river) and thus can be differentiated from the other places named also named Romans. Obviously, except for offical purposes, everybody uses the shorter version.


I went to see RUSH HOUR 3 and I regret that I had to spend money on it! Movie was a failer!~

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