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ANDORRA 2006 (revised digitalized version)
ANDORRA 2009 (adaptation to Jyutping)

1. The science, as opposed to the study, of placenames is very much in its infancy.
Most workers in the field tend to do their placenames research as a marginal, extra-
official activity, since few countries have any institution which specializes in this
branch. Consequently, placenames research tends to be strong on data collecting,
less strong on data analysis and very weak on the sort of comparative study which is
essential to any science if basic laws are to be established.
Ireland is one of the few countries which does have a research unit which employs
workers on a full time basis to carry out research on national placenames - this is the
Placenames Branch of the Ordnance Survey Office, Dublin. The present team of
eight research workers is employed basically to collect and sift placenames data
from historical and contemporary sources in order to elucidate the Irish forms of
placenames which have very often come down to us in a much distorted Anglicized
As a member of this team since 1975, I have become steadily more aware of the
nature of placename structures. Seen at a distance, a random sample of
placenames from a given area is as shapeless as a dense wood, but when several
such woods have been closely examined one begins to see and recognize the
various species of trees. Having lived prior to 1972 in several other countries in
Europe, I recognized - in retrospect - that their placename structures are very similar
to that of Ireland.
A two month stay in Hong Kong in 1981 brought me face to face with a placename
structure which is geographically and historically as far removed from that of Ireland
as one could wish. Nevertheless, similarities of structure were immediately apparent.
On my return to the Placenames Branch, I was officially requested to report on the
nature of Hong Kong placenames. My report took the form of an analysis and
comparison of placename material from Hong Kong with material from a physically
not too dissimilar area of Ireland County Waterford on which I had been previously
engaged, and out of this report. there eventually emerged - with official
encouragement, for which I am most grateful - the present study which attempts to
postulate some placenaming universals.
My main source for Hong Kong placenames is the Caltex-sponsored map of
the New Territories including Lantau and Outlying Islands ( 新 界 包 括 大 嶼
山 及 離 島) produced by Universal Publications Ltd, supplemented by some
personal data collecting carried out by myself, particularly on Cheung Chau
island. Grid references in the text are to the above publication. My source for
the Irish placenames from County Waterford is the as yet unpublished corpus
of the placenames of the county which has been prepared by the research
team of the Placenames Branch, Ordnance Survey Office, Dublin. I must
thank the Director of the Ordnance Survey Office for kind permission to use
this material.


2.0 Two sets of terms must be defined before proceeding. The first is the contrast
OPAQUE/TRANSPARENT and the second is the set

2.1 A placename is either OPAQUE or TRANSPARENT. If it is opaque, then it

cannot be understood by the social group using it except as a conventional cypher. If
it is transparent, it can be so understood.
Thus NEW YORK is transparent, consisting as it does of the adjective NEW and the
name of the English town YORK. YORK itself, however, is opaque - one must go
back to the Old British form *EBORÁKON "place of yew trees" for it to become
transparent. The cause of opacity in placenames is thus usually a change of
language normally accompanied by a change of social group. In the case of York
both changes occurred. In the case of the Anglicized form DONEGAL, in Ireland,
however, the position is different. An Irish speaker, using the native form DÚN NA
nGALL "foreigners' fort", immediately understands it. An English-speaker, however,
whose grandparents or great-grandparents switched from Irish to English, uses the
form DONEGAL as a conventional cypher; for him, it is opaque. In this case, the
discontinuity in the social group is one of language, not of genealogy.
A further cause for opacity is the evolution of a given language over a relatively long
period of time. Thus the Irish placename BIOTHLANN is today quite opaque. One
must go back to the proto-Irish *BETULANDÁ "birch heath" for it to become
Fortunately, for the purposes of this present study, Irish placenames are generally
transparent and analytic in composition. Any pre-Irish substratum is so rare as to be
practically negligible. Likewise, Hong Kong placenames are transparent - there is no
discernible trace of a pre-Han stratum - and, in fact, the only thing one has to beware
of is the occasional "spelling mistake" - the substitution of one character for another
phonetically identical character. Examples of such are 九 嶺 涌 B7 "nine peak inlet"
next door to 狗 嶺 B7 "dog's peak" - *狗 嶺 涌 "dog's peak inlet" is clearly the correct
form. Similarly 石 古 壟 L4 "stone old bank" stands for *石 鼔 壟 "stone drum bank".

2.2 A GENERIC is a placename element indicating place. A SPECIFIC is a

placename element describin~ a place. A LOCATIONAL is a placename element
describing the spatial relationship of one place to another. To take two hypothetical
(I) In NEWTOWN BY THE SEA, TOWN and SEA are generics, NEW is a specific
and BY is a locational.
(2) In THE BACK OF BEYOND, BEYOND is a generic and BACK is a locational.


3.0 In this section, I shall examine what combinations of the three elements
GENERIC - SPECIFIC - LOCATIONAL actually occur in Hong Kong placenames
and compare with the material from County Waterford.

3.1 The simplest form of a placename is obviously GENERIC with no further

specification. In the material examined, however, the only possible candidate is
碗 窰 wun2jiu4 H3 "bowl kiln"
It must therefore be considered a very rare structure. What does occur slightly more
frequently is the diminutive structure GENERIC + 仔 zai2 which will be examined in
3.18 below.
In the Irish material, GENERIC is a fairly common structure, for example:
An Crosaire "the crossroads"
An Cabhas "the causeway"
An Tobar "the well"
Comparison with historical evidence for this type of structure in other areas in Ireland
leads one to the conclusion that in many cases this simple structure is not original
but that a GENERIC + SPECIFIC structure such as
*Tobar Eoghain "Eoghan's well"
has suffered attrition to the point of losing its specific and becoming simply
*An Tobar "the well"

3.2 The structure GENERIC 1 + GENERIC 2 is better represented in Hong Kong:

菴 山 am1saan1 H3 "hermitage hill"
平 厡 河 ping4jyun4 ho4 H1 "plain river"
山 咀 saan1 zeoi2 I0 "mountain head"
塘 坑 tong4 haang1 H1 "reservoir ditch"
Its equivalent GENERIC 2 + GENERIC 1 is also well represented in the Irish
Cnoc na Móna "peatbog hill"
Droichead an Chabhaisín "small causeway bridge"
Gleann an Bhogaigh "soft ground valley"
Páirc na Cille "church field"
Tobar an Bhealaigh "path well"

3.3 For the structure (GENERIC 1 + GENERIC 2) + GENERIC 3, the Hong Kong
material examined yields only one example:
涌 沙 頂 cung1 saa1 deng2 L2 "inlet sand peak"
The Irish equivalent GENERIC 3 + (GENERIC 2 + GENERIC 1) is marginally better
Áth Choill an Dúin "fort-wood ford"
Coill Inse an Drisligh "bramble-meadow wood"

3.4 The structure GENERIC 2 + (SPECIFIC + GENERIC 1) is likewise represented

by only one sample from Hong Kong:
角 大 排 gok3 daai6 paai4 K1 "big reef of the point"
By chance, there is no equivalent in the material from County Waterford but such a
structure is quite feasible and occurs elsewhere in Ireland, albeit rarely.

3.5 GENERIC + LOCATIONAL is very common:

山 背 saan1 bui3 E2 "the back of the hill"
山 尾 saan1 mei5 H3 "the end of the hill”
田 心 tin4 sam1 C6, D3, H2, H4 "the middle of the fields"
徑 口 ging3 hau2 H4 "the mouth of the path"
瓦 窰 下 ngaa5yiu4 haa6 H0 "under the tile kiln"
围 下 wai4 haa6 I2 "under the walled village"
水 头 seoi2 tau4 F2 "the beginning of the water"
The Irish equivalent LOCATIONAL + GENERIC is less common but examples are
not hard to find:
Béal Locha "the mouth of the lake"
Béal an Bhealaigh "the mouth of the path"
Barr an Bhealaigh "the top of the path"
Bun Abha "the bottom of the river"

3.6 The structure (GENERIC 1 + LOCATIONAL) of GENERIC 2 is likewise frequent:

田 下 湾 tin4 haa6 waan1 J6 "bay beneath the fields"
河 上 郷 ho4 seong6 heong1 G1 "village on the river"
坑 尾 村 haang1 mei5 cyun1 D2 "village at the end of the ditch"
崗 背 村 gong1 bui3 cyun1 I4 "village at the back of the ridge"
GENERIC 2 + (LOCATIONAL + GENERIC 1) also occurs fairly frequently in the Irish
Bearna Bhéal an Bhealaigh "gap at the mouth of the path"
Cill Uachtar Maí "church at the top of the plain"
Droichead Bhun an Dá Abhainn "bridge at the bottom of the two rivers"
Sruth Bhun Abha "stream at the bottom of the river"

3.7 (GENERIC 1 + LOCATIONAL) + (SPECIFIC of GENERIC 2) is represented by a

solitary example:
坑 头 大 埔 haang1 tau4 daai6 bou3, "big bank at the head of the ditch"
There is no example in the material from County Waterford but such a structure is
feasible. As in 3.4 above, the SPECIFIC in this structure appears to be limited to the
subset "adjective".

3.8 The structure SPECIFIC is usually a metaphor and is quite well represented both
in Hong Kong and in County Waterford:
龍 仔 lung4zai2 B7, C4 "small dragon"
九 龍 gau2lung4 H5 "nine dragons"
三 支 香 saam1zi1 heong1 G5 "three sticks of incense"
鹿 頸 luk6geng2 J1 "the deer's neck"
老 虎 头 lou5fu2 tau4 D6, L3 "the tiger's head"
An Mhuc "the pig" (name of a tower)
Ceann Muice "the pig's head"
Sron Chaillí "the hag's nose"
An Damh Mór "the big stag"
An tSeanlong "the old ship"
Drom Capaill "the horse's back"
An Príosún "the prison" (name of a cave)
Cases where SPECIFIC is not a metaphor:
大 浪 daai6long6 D7 "big waves"
狐 狸 叫 wu4lei4 giu3 L3 "fox's call"
白 泥 baak6nai4 C3 "white mud"
Morgáiste "mortgage"
3.9 SPECIFIC + GENERIC is the preferred structure for Hong Kong placenames
accounting for about half the material examined. Examples:
蝴 蝶 谷 wu4dip6 guk1 F4 "butterfly valley"
波 羅 山 bo1lo4 saan1 F3 "pineapple hill"
紅 水 hung4 seoi2 E6 "red water"
香 港 heong1 gong2 H6 "fragrant harbor"
石 仔 埗 sek6zai2 bou3 A7 "gravel path"
The corresponding GENERIC + SPECIFIC is equally the preferred structure in the
Irish material:
An Baile Breac "the speckled town"
Cnoc an Óir "gold hill"
An Cnocán Rua "red hillock"
Trá na mBád "boat strand"
Bóthar an Chapaill Chaoich "the drunken horse's road"
Occasionally, when SPECIFIC is an adjective, the structure SPECIFIC+GENERIC is
found in County Waterford:
An Dubhcharraig "the black rock"
Garbhchluain "rough meadow"

3.10 The structure SPECIFIC 2 + (SPECIFIC 1 + GENERIC) occurs in limited

distribution, where SPECIFIC 2 is an adjective and the whole placename is in
opposition to a neighboring or contiguous placename containing e.n identical
大 亞 洲 daai6 Aa3zau1: 小 亞 洲 siu2 Aa3zau1 B9 "great/little Azau"
上 沙 洲 seong6 Saa1zau1: 下 沙 洲 haa6 Saa1zau1: 小 沙 洲 siu2 Saa1zau1 B5
"upper/lower/little Sand island"
大 青 洲 daai6 Cing1zau1: 青 洲 Cing1zau1 F5 "great Green island":"Green island"
小 交 椅 洲 siu2 Gaau1yízau1: 交 椅 洲 Gaau1yízau1 F6 "little Armchair island":
"Armchair island"
In two cases, no contrasting placename has been found:
大 東 山 daai6 Dung1saan1 C7 "great Eastern Hill"
田 沙 田 Iou5 Saa1tin4 K1 "old Sand field"
The corresponding structure (GENERIC + SPECIFIC 1) + SPECIFIC 2 occurs with
identical limitations in the Irish material:
Cnoc an Uisce Thiar: Cnoc an Uisce Thoir "west/east Water hill"
Cnoc na Muc Theas: Cnoc na Muc Thuaidh "south/north Pig hill"
An Drom Rua Uachtarach: An Drom Rua Íochtarach "upper/lower Red ridge"

3.11 The structure (SPECIFIC 1 + GENERIC 1) + (SPECIFIC 2 + GENERIC 2) is

represented by eight placenames in the Hong Kong material examined. As in 3.4
and 3.7 above, SPECIFIC 2 is an adjective:
螺 洲 白 排 lo4 zau1 baak6 paai4 J8 "the white reef of Shell island"
北 社 新 村 bak1 se5 san1 cyun1 E8 "the new village of North altar"
Two samples are contrastive:
分 流 東 湾 fan1 lau4 dung1 waan1: 分 流 西 湾 fan1 lau4 sai1 waan1 AI "the
east/west bay of Divided Current"
Again, there is no equivalent in the Irish material although such a structure is
theoretically feasible.

3.12 The structure (SPECIFIC + GENERIC 1) of GENERIC 2, where (SPECIFIC +

GENERIC 1) is usually a placename in its own right, is very common. Examples are:
沙 田 凹 saa1 tin4 aau1 I4 "Sandfield gap"
老 虎 石 頂 lou5fu2 sek6 deng2 J1 "tiger rock peak"
吉 澳 角 gat1 ou3 gok K0 "lucky cove point"
糧 船 湾 洲 loeng4syun4 waan1 zau1 L4 "cornship bay island"
高 山 村 gou1 saan1 cyun1 E8 "high hill village"
The corresponding structure GENERIC 2 + (GENERIC 1 + SPECIFIC) is equally
common in the Irish material:'
Clais na Móna Duibhe "black peatbog ditch"
Droichead Ath an Chóiste "coach ford bridge"
Móin Bhaile Shiobháin "Joan's town peatbog"
Cnoc Pháirc an Fhiaigh "hunting park hill"

3.13 The structure (SPECIFIC + GENERIC) + LOCATIONAL, where (SPECIFIC +

GENERIC) is usually a placename in its own right, is reasonably common:
花 山 下 faa1 saan1 haa6 L5 "under flower mountain"
沙 田 头 saa1 tin4 tau4 I4 "beginning of the sand field"
松 園 下 cung4 jyun4 haa6 H0 "under pine garden"
赤 徑 口 cik3 ging3 hau2 L3 "mouth of the red path"
There is no equivalent sample in the material from County Waterford, although such
a structure is feasible and occurs elsewhere in Ireland.

3.14 There are several examples of the structure (SPECIFIC + GENERIC) +

白 沙 头 咀 baak6 saa1 tau4 zeoi2 K2 "head at the beginning of the white sand"
大 洲 尾 頂 daai6 zau1 mei5 deng2 B9 "peak at the end of the big island"
企 嶺 下 海 kei5 ling5 haa6 hoi2 J3 "sea beneath the standing peak"
One example of the structure (SPECIFIC + GENERIC) + LOCATIONAL 1 +
LOCATIONAL 2 occurs:
沙 塘 口 尾 saa1 tong4 hau2 mei5 L5 "end of the mouth of the sand reservoir"
Neither structure is represented in the material from County Waterford, although the
first does occur in the following recorded "ad hoc" naming:
Páirc faoi bhun Tigh Hallihan "the field beneath Hallihan's house"

3.15 There are seven examples in the Kong Kong material of the structure
NUMERAL + GENERIC, in two of which the numeral accompanied by the
appropriate classifier:
八 郷 baat3 heong1 F2 "the eight villages"
三 洲 saam1 zau1 L5 "the three islands"
二 澳 ji6 ou3 A7 "the two creeks"
三 度 坑 saam1dou6 haang1 H2 "the three ditches"
三 塊 田 saam1faai3 tin4 J4 "the three fields"
The Irish material contains one such example:
Na Trí Dúnta "the three forts"

3.16 The structure NUMERAL + GENERIC also occurs followed by

三 角 湾 saam1 gok3 waan1 L2 "bay of the three points" (or "triangle bay")
三 門 仔 湾 saam1 mun4zai2 waan1 K4 "bay of the three small gates"
(b) SPECIFIC + GENERIC, where SPECIFIC is an adjective as in 3.4, 3.7, 3.11
三 門 仔 新 村 saam1 mun4zai2 san1 cyun1 I2 "new village of the three small gates"
万 屋 边 maan6 uk1 bin1 H1 "edge of the ten thousand houses"
The Irish material provides no equivalent samples.

3.17 The structure NUMERAL + SPECIFIC occurs in two sets, where the numeral
ONE is replaced by the adjective BIG (as in family order). Thus:
大 白 daai6 baak6, 二 白 ji6 baak6 E6, 三 白 saam1 baak6, 四 白 sei baak6 E5
"first/second/third/fourth white"
大 肚 daai6 tou6, 二 肚 ji6 tou6, 三 肚 saam1 tou6, 四 肚 sei tou6, 五 肚 ng5
tou6 J1 "first/second/third/fourth/fifth stomach"
There is no equivalent in the Irish material.

3.18 The structure PLACENAME + DIMINUTIVE occurs in the following cases, in

each case contrasting with the bare placename:
香 港 仔 heong1gong2zai2 H7 "little Hong Kong"
觀 塘 仔 gun1tong4zai2 I6 "little Gwuntong"
東 湾 仔 dung1waan1zai2 E8 "little East Bay"
There is no equivalent in the Irish material.
A further occurence of the diminutive morph is in the structure GENERIC +
DIMINUTIVE which is better represented:
围 仔 wai4zai2 F2 "small walled village"
湾 仔 waan1zai2 H6 , L2 "small bay"
地 塘 仔 dei6tong4zai2 C7 "small embankment"
This structure is well represented in the Irish material:
An Sléibhín "small mountainous tract"
An Carraigín "small rock"

3.19 In conclusion, taking G as generic, S as specific, L as locational, N as numeral,

P as placename and D as the diminutive morph, the structures occurring in: the
Hong Kong material can best be illustrated in diagrammatic form, showing the
derivation of secondary structures from primary. Where the Irish material from
County Waterford exhibits a corresponding structure (taking account. of the
structural differences between the two languages involved), the structure is
underlined. Where the structure is common in both sets of material, it is enclosed in
square brackets. Where it is a preferred structure, it is enclosed in curly brackets.

The set based on GENERIC is as follows:

G1 ⇒ → [G1 + G2] → G1 + G2 + G3
→ G1 + (S + G2)
⇒ G1 + L → G1 + L + G2
→ G1 + L + (S + G2)
⇒ G+D

The set based on SPECIFIC + GENERIC is as follows:

{S1 + G1} ⇒ → [S1 + G1 + G2]
→ S1 + G1 + S2 + G2
⇒ S1 + G1 + L1 → S1 + G1 + L1 + G2
→ S1 + G1 + L1 + L2
⇒ S2 + S1 + G1
⇒ loss of G1 → S1

The three minor sets are the following:

(a) N + G1 ⇒ → N + G1 + G2
→ N + G1 + S + G2
⇒ N + G1 + L
(b) N+S
(c) P+D

From the above, one can conclude in respect of both placename systems that:
(1) The single structures GENERIC or SPECIFIC occur but are not dominant.
(2) The binary structure is the most stable and most widespread with absolute
preference going to the structure SPECIFIC+GENERIC, with GENERIC+GENERIC
in second place. Other binary structure occur in both systems.
(3) Ternary structures are derivative from binary with the structure SPECIFIC +
GENERIC1 + GENERIC2 well in the lead, which is as one might expect, given that
SPECIFIC + GENERIC is the preferred placename structure.


4.0 In this section, generics have been grouped in cognate semantic sets and the
results of this treatment of the Hong Kong material are compared with the Irish
material from County Waterford.

4.1 The first major set - NATURAL FEATURES: LAND - may be conveniently divided
up into three subsets: elevation, declivities and water, miscellaneous.

4.1.1 In the subset ELEVATION, the Hong Kong material has the following elements:

下 斜* haa6 ce4 G2 "lower slope", 坪 斜 ping4 ce4 H1 "smooth slope", 斜 下 ce4
haa6 J3 "beneath the slope" etc. The Irish material has: Leaca na mBolg "bellows
slope", An Leaca Rua "the red slope", An Leaca Mhór "the big slope" etc.
* The character for ce4 actually used on the map, but unavailable in the font, is - from top to bottom - 山

長 岩 頂 coeng4 ngaam4 deng2 M4 "long rock summit", 大 蛇 頂 daai6se4 deng2 L4
"big snake summit", 米 粉 頂 mai5fan2 deng2 M3 "flour summit" etc.
The Irish material has: Mullach Suí Finn "the summit of Fionn's seat", Móin an
Mhullaigh "summit peatbog".

(iii) MOUND
打 蠔 墩 daa2hou4 dèun J4 "oyster-breaking mound", 大 王 爺 墩 daai6wong4je4
dèun K4 "king's mound", 黃 泥 墩 wong4nai4 dèun E3 "yellow mud mound" etc.
The Irish material has: Tulach an Iarainn "iron mound".

(iv) PEAK (rare)

仙 姑 峯 sin1gu1 fung1 J2 "immortal girl's peak"

禾 塘 崗 wo4 tong4 gong1 G3, J5 "rice reservoir ridge", 石 崗 sek6 gong1 F3, G3
"stone ridge", 园 崗 jyun4 gong1 C9 "round ridge" etc.
The Irish material has: Drom Fhinín "Finín's ridge", An Drom Rua "the red ridge",
Drom Eanaigh "marsh ridge" etc.


高 田 磡 gou1 tin4 ham1 H2 "high field cliff base", 紅 磡 hung4 ham1 H6 "red cliff
base", 牛 磡 排 ngau4 ham1 paai4 E6 "ox cliff base reef".

(vii) PEAK (very common)

八 仙 嶺 baat3sin1 ling5 12 "eight immortals' peak", 打 鼔 嶺 daa2gu2 ling5 H1
"drum-beating peak", 龍 嶺 lung4 ling5 H2 "dragon peak" etc.
The Irish material has: An Bhinn Bhuí "yellow peak", An Bhinn Liath "grey peak",
Tigh na Binne "peak house" etc.

(viii) CLIFF
象 鼻 崖 zoeng6bei6 ngaai4 A7 "elephant trunk cliff", 崖 头 ngaai4 tau4 H8
"beginning of the cliff"
The Irish material has: Faill an Phríosúin "prison cliff", An Fhaill Cham "twisted cliff",
Tobar na Faille "cliff well" etc.

(ix) ROCK
飞 鼠 岩 fei1syu2 ngaam4 K0 "flying fox rock", 佛 手 岩 fat6sau2 ngaam4 J9
"Buddha's hand rock", 燕 岩 jin3 ngaam4 H3 "swallow rock" etc.
The Irish material has, among many others: Carraig na gCat "cat rock", Carraig an
Chodlata "sleeping rock", Carraig an Ghunna "gun rock".

(x) HILL (with 92 examples, this is one of the most common generics in the Hong
Kong material)
牛 耳 石 山 ngau4ji5 sek6 saan1 K3 "cow's ear stone hill", 鷄 公 山 gai1gung1 saan1
A7 "cock hill", 飞 龍 山 fei1lung4 saan1 I5 "flying dragon hill", 波 羅 山 bo1lo4 saan1
F3 "pineapple hill", 馬 鞍 山 maa5on1 saan1 J3 "saddle hill", 山 下 村 saan1 haa6
cyun1 E3 "village beneath the hill".
The generic is equally common in the Irish material: Cnoc an Phréacháin "crow hilI",
Cnoc na Faille "cliff hill", Cnocán na mBuachaillí "boys' hillock", Cnoicín an Cholúir
"pigeon's hillock" etc.

(xi) STONE (very common)

白 石 baak6 sek6 H4 "white stone", 面 包 石 min6baau1 sek6 E8 "loaf stone", 將 軍
石 zoeng1gwan1 sek6 A7 "general's stone", 猪 头 石 zyu1tau4 sek6 E8 "pig s head
stone" etc.
The Irish material has: Cloch na gCeann "the heads' stone", Cloch an Fhiolair
"eagle's stone", An Chloch Fhada "the long stone" etc.

(xii) PLATFORM occurs in one example in each district:

釣 魚 台 diujyu4 toi4 B4 "fishing platform" and Leic Dhobhráin "Dobhrán's flat rock"

In addition, there are two elements in the Irish material which are not paralleled in
the material from Hong Kong - probably quite fortuitously:
HEIGHT: Ard na nGunnaí "gun height", Baile na hArda "height town" etc.
HEAP: An Carn Dubh "black heap", Carn an Daimh Dheirg "red stag heap" etc.

4.1.2. In the subset DECLIVITIES AND WATER, the Hong Kong material has the
following elements:

瀑 布 岩 buk6bou3 ngaam4 L5 "waterfall rock". Compare: Gleann an Easa "waterfall

(ii) POND
池 洲 ci4 zau1 L5 "pond island", 牛 池 湾 ngau4 ci4 waan1 15 "cow pond bay"


沙 江 围 saa1 gong1 wai4 D2 "sand river walled village, 江 头 排 gong1 tau4 paai4
L5 "reef at the beginning of the river"

林 村 谷 Lam4 cyun1 guk1 G3 "Lam village valley", 蝴 蝶 谷 wu4dip6 guk1 F4
"butterfly valley". Compare: Gleann an Iarainn "iron valley", Glearm Uí Chaoimh "Ó
Caoimh's valley", Gleann na Faille "cliff valley".

大 河 daai6 ho4 D6 "big river", 梧 桐 河 ng4tung4 ho4 G1 "pawlonia river", 双 魚
河 soeng1jyu4 ho4 G1 "double fish river", 河 上 郷 ho4 seong6 heong1 G1
"village on the river". Compare: An Abha Mhór "big river", An Abha Bhuí
"yellow river", Abha na Séad "jewel river".
双 淸 溪 soeng1cing1 kai1 C3 "double pure stream", 望 後 溪 mong6hau6 kai1 C4
"looking back stream". Compare: Sruth an Átha Buí "yellow ford stream", Sruth Phóil
"Paul's stream", Sruth Aon Mhíle "one mile stream".

(vii) OOZE
長 沥 coeng4 lik6 G2 "long ooze", 河 沥 背 ho4 lik6 bui3 I3 "the back of the river
ooze". Compare: An Fhéith Ghairid "short ooze", Féith an tSasanaigh "Englishman's

(viii) RAVINE
双 鹿 石 澗 soeng1luk6 sek6gaan3 L3 "double deer ravine", 蓮 花 石 澗 lin4faa1
sek6gaan3 F4 "lotus flower ravine"

紅 水 hung4seoi2 E6 "red water", 上 水 seong6 seoi2 G1 "upper water", 馬 尿 水
maa5niu6 seoi2 "horse piss water", 水 口 seoi2 hau2 C7 "the mouth of the water".
Compare: Uisce Solais "bright water", Glaise Phádraig "Patrick's brook"

水 泉 澳 seoi2cyun4 ou3 I4 "spring creek"

(xi) POOL
宝 珠 潭 bou2zyu1 taam4 B7 "precious pearl pool", 大 潭 daai6 taam4 I7 "big pool",
新 娘 潭 san1noeng4 taam4 "bride's pool".

(xii) LAKE
鹿 湖 luk6 wu4 B7, L3 "deer lake", 牛 湖 ngau4 wu4 J9 "cow lake", 石 湖 sek6 wu4
F1, F3, G1 "stone lake". Compare: Loch na Ceathrún "land-quarter lake", Loch
Chom Fia "deer valley lake", Cnoc na Loiche "lake hill".

(xiii) WELL
仙 人 井 sin1jan4 zeng2 E8 "immortal's well", 井 头 zeng2 tau4 J3 "beginning of the
Examples are more abundant in the Irish material: Tobar Rónáin "Rónán's well",
Tobar an Gheata Bhric "speckled gate well", An Tobar Geal "white well", Tobar na
Carraige "rock well" etc.

The Irish material contains several generics which do not occur In the material from
Hong Kong but which clearly belong to this set:
SOFT GROUND An Bogach Bán "white soft ground"
NARROW STREAM An Caol Rua "red narrow stream"
UPPER VALLEY Com Faoláin "Faolán's upper valley"
RIVER CREEK Crompán na Bríde "creek of the Bríde river"
HOLLOW Gleann an Chuais "valley of the hollow"
MARSH Currach an Tairbh "bull marsh"
MARSHY GROUND Cnoc an Eanaigh "hill of the marshy ground"
WATER MEADOW Inse Uí Fhlaitheartaigh "Ó Flaitheartaigh' s water meadow"
HOLLOW An Log Glas "green hollow"
PEATBOG Móin Otraigh "midden peatbog"
CAUSEWAY( over marsh) Droichead an Tóchair "causeway bridge"

4.1.3 In the subset MISCELLANEOUS LAND FEATURES, the Hong Kong material
has the following:

鹿 地 luk6 dei6 D6 "place of deer", 蝴 蝶 地 wu4dip6 dei6 G4 "place of butterflies", 藍
地 laam4 dei6 D3 "place of indigo".
There is no direct equivalent in the Irish material, since Irish tends to use a synthetic
construction in these circumstances, e.g. CRUITHNEACHTÁN' "place of wheat"
consists of CRUITHNEACHTA "wheat" and the su:fifiix -ÁN which carries the
semantic charge "place of". See also 6.6.1 below.

(ii) CAVE
大 洞 daai6 dung6 J3 "big cave", 猫 眼 洞 maau1ngaan5 dung6 L7 "cat's eye cave",
桃 源 洞 tou4jyun4 dung6 H3 "peach fountain cave". Compare: Poll an Mhadra Rua
"fox hole", Poll na bPiast "dragon hole", Uamha na gColúr "pigeon cave".

白 石 窩 baak6sek6 wo1 J5 "white stone lair", 荔 枝 窩 lai6zi2 wo1 J1 "lychee lair"

(iv) PLAIN
赤 泥 坪 cik3nai4 ping4 I3 "red mud plain", 花 坪 faa1 ping4 E8, F5 "flower plain", 坪
洲 ping4 zau1 E6 "plain island". Compare: Cill Uachtar Maí "church at the upper part
of the plain". This generic occurs plentifully in Ireland as a whole but the material
from County Waterford provides only this example.

(v) WOOD
百花 林 bakfaa1 lam4 I5 "hundred flower wood", 栂 子 林 mui4zi2 lam4 J1, J4 "plum
seed wood". Compare: Coill na Muice "pig wood", Coill an Ghleanna "valley wood",
Scairt na Draighní "blackthorn thicket", Muine Troim "elder clump", Carraig an Doire
"oakwood rock".

4.2 The second major set - NATURAL FEATURES: COAST - is more plentifully
represented in the material from Hong Kong than in that from County Waterford, for
the simple reason that although the land area of Hbng Kong is considerably less
than that of the Irish county, tits highly irregular coastline and the number of islands
have ensured that a higher proportion of places need to be named than
on County Waterford's relatively smooth coastline. The following generics occur:

白 沙 澳 baak6saa1 ou3 K2 "white sand creek", 東 澳 dung1 ou3 H8, K0 "east
creek", 吉 澳 gat1 ou3 K0 "luck creek", 澳 背 塘 ou3 bui3 tong4 K0 "reservoir behind
the creek"

(ii) INLET
南 涌 naam4 cung1 I1 "south inlet", 蠔 涌 hou4 cung1 J4 "oyster inlet", 馬 湾 涌
maa5 waan1 cung1 C6 "horse bay inlet".

(iii) HEADLAND ( very common, 40 different examples)

白 角 baak6 gok3 B7, J1 "white head", 荔 枝 角 lai6zi2 gok3 H5 "lychee head", 牛 头
角 ngau4tau4 gok3 I5 "oxhead head", 黃 竹 角 wong4zuk1 gok3 H8, K1 "yellow
bamboo head". Compare: Ard Mhór "great headland", Ard na Molt "wether

(iv) HEAD
北 角 咀 bak1 gok3zeoi2 E7 "north head", 南 角 咀 naam4gok3zeoi2 J9 "south
head", 黃 竹 角 咀 wong4zuk1 gok3zeoi2 L1 "yellow bamboo head"

北 港 bak1 gong2 J4 "north harbor, 香 港 heong1 gong2 H "fragrant harbor"

(vi) COAST
干 溪 海 岸 gon1 kai1 hoi2ngôn M3 "dry valley coast"


大 澳 門 daai6 ou3 mun4 K6 "great creek mouth", 鎖 匙 門 so2si4 mun4 L5 "key
moutlh", 門 仔 湾 mun4zai2 waan1 K1 "small mouth bay"


長 沙 coeng4 saa1 D7 "long sand", 赤 沙 cik3 saa1 J6 "red sand", 虎 头 沙 fu2tau4
saa1 K2 "tiger head sand"

(ix) BEACH
大 灘 daai6 taan1 L3 "big beach", 龍 鼔 灘 lung4gu2 taan1 C4 "dragon drum beach",
樟 樹 灘 zoeng1syu6 taan1 I3 "camphor tree beach". Compare: An Trá Mhór "big
beach", Trá na mBád "boat beach", Baile na Trá "beach town"

(x) COVE
南 氹 naam4 tam5 E8, J9 "south cove". Compare: Cuainín na Ceártan "smithy cove"

(xi) BAY(the most numerous single generic, 140 different examples)

大 排 湾 daai6 paai4 waan1 J9 "big reef bay", 鴨 仔 湾 aap3zai2 waan1 J5 "duckIet
bay", 馬 湾 maa5 waan1 F4 "horse bay", 榕 樹 湾 jung4syu6 waan1 G7 "banyan
bay", 青 龍 湾 cing1lung4 waan1 F4 "green dragon bay". Compare: Cuan na Faille
"cliff bay", Cuan Liam Gallda "foreign Liam's bay", An Cuach Caoch "one-eyed bay".

(xii) POINT (very common, 38 different examples)

白 沙 咀 baak6saa1 zeoi2 K5 "white sand point", 蟹 鉗 咀 hai5kim4 zeoi2 E6 "crab
pincer point", 橋 咀 kiu4 zeoi2 K4 "bridge point". Compare: Rinn na Searc "shark
point", Rinn na mBó "cow point" , Rinn na Saileog "willow point".

The material from County Waterford also provides:

BANK Port Oileáin "island bank", Port Seiche "hide bank", Port Thaidhg "Tadhg's

4.3 The set NATURAL FEATURES:SEA contains basically three members in both


糧 船 湾 海 loeng4syun4 waan1 hoi2 L5 "sea off corn ship bay", 沙 头 角 海 saa1
tau4 gok3 hoi2 I0 "sea off the head at the beginning of the sand". Compare: Cionn
tSáile "at the end of the sea", Coill Dhá Sháile "woo:d of the two seas".

(ii) ISLAND (very common indeed, 84 different examples)

白 洲 baak6 zau1 B4 "white island", 大 洲 daai6 zau1 K4 "big island, 鴨 洲 aap3 zau1
J0 "duck island", 石 鼔 洲 sek6gu2 zau1 D8 "stone drum island". Compare: Oileán
an Choite "skiff island", Oileán Uí Bhric "Ó Bric's island", An tOileán Glas "green
The Hong Kong material also contains the quasi synonym 島 dou2 in 龍 珠 島
lung4zyu1 dou2 D4 "dragon pearl island".

鴨 脷 排 aap3lei6 paai4 H7 "duck's tongue reef", 龍 虾 排 lung4haa1 paai4 L6
"lobster reef", 孖 仔 排 maa1zai2 paai4 K5 "twin reef". Compare: Carraig Dhiúirice
"lobster hole rock", Carraig na Spideoige "robin rock", Carraigíní Thomáis "Thomas'
little rocks".

4.4 The set POPULATION CENTRES is well represented in both districts and on the
whole very similar, if one takes into account the fact that Chinese population centers
have tended to be much bigger than their Irish counterparts.

The Hong Kong material contains the following:

(i) VILLAGE(very common, 49 different examples)

北 角 村 bak1 gok3 cyun1 G7 "north head village", 林 村 Lam4 cyun1 H2 "Ləm's
village", 楊 屋 村 Joeng4 uk1 cyun1 E2, F2 "the villlage of Yeung's house" 白 沙 村
baak6saa1 cyun1 E3 "white sand village", 黃 竹 村 wong4zuk1 cyun1 I1 "yellow
bamboo village". Compare BAILE, equally common in the Irish material, here
traditionally translated "town" but corresponding exactly to Cantonese 村 cyun1:
Baile na Cúirte "court town", Baile na nGalI "foreigner's town", Baile Uí Dhuibh "Ó
Duibh's town", An Seanbhaile "old town".
The Hong Kong material also contains two, much rarer, synonyms:
(a) 鳯 池 郷 fung6 ci4 heong1 E2 "phoenix pond village", 河 上 郷 ho4 seong6
heong1 G1 "village on the river"
(b) 永 寜 里 wing5ning4 lei5 G3 "eternal peace village"
(ii) MOUND ( of ruined village)
三 聖 墟 saam1sing3 heoi1 D4 "three sages' mound", 石 湖 墟 sek6 wu4 heoi1 G1
"stone lake mound".

(iii) WALLED VILLAGE(very common on the mainland with 34 different examples,

but not found at all on the islands)
北 围 bak1 wai4 J4 "north walled village", 馬 头 围 maa5tau4 wai4 H5 "horse head
walled village", 新 围 san1 wai4 D2, I3 "new walled village", 王 家 围 Wong4gaa1
wai4 C6,D6 "the Wongs' walled village"
A rather similar fortified position appears to be found in the following: 梧 桐 寨
ng4tung4 zaai6 G3 "pawlonia camp", 屏 山 寨 fung4 saan1 zaai6 I2 "screen hill
The Irish material contains no walled structures of this size, but smaller ones,
originally housing more than one family, do occur:
(a) Dún Aill "cliff fort", Dún Mór "big fort", Dún mBreatan "fort of the Britons"
(b) Cathair na Léige "stone pillar round fort", An Chathair Gheal "white round fort"
(c) Cill an Daingin "church of the stronghold".

荔 枝 莊 lai6zi2 zong1 K2 "lychee farm". Compare: Gráig na Gaoithe "wind hamlet",
Gráig Sheoinín "Seoinín's hamlet", An Ghráinseach "the monastery farm".

4.5 The set SECULAR BUILDINGS contains the following members in the Hong
Kong material:

梁 屋 Loeng4 uk1 B7 "Leung's house", 壁 屋 bek3 uk1 J5 "wall house", 石 屋 山 sek6
uk1 saan1 K3 "stone house hill". Compare: Tigh an Chnoic "hill house", Tigh na
Coille "wood house", Tigh na Carraige "rock house".

(ii) WATCHTOWER 更 樓 石 gang1lau4 sek6 N0 "watchtower stone"

(iii) TOWER
紅 樓 hung4 lau4 C4 "red tower", 東 樓 dung1 lau4 J9 "east tower". Compare: Cúirt
an Easpaig "bishop's court", Baile na Cúirte "court town".
Chinese 樓 lau4 and Irish cúirt are identical, not from the physical, but from the
social point of view.

(iv) HUT
牛 寮 ngau4 liu4 G3, J4 "cow shed", 山 寮 saan1 liu4 J2, J4 "hill hut", 田 寮 tin4 liu4
F5, D6, J5 "field hut". Compare: Both an Dúin "fort hut", Gleanntán na Boithe "hut

(v) GATE
佛 堂 門 Fat6 tong4 mun4 K4 "Buddha's hall gate", 官 門 gun1 mun4 L4 "official's
gate". Compare: Geata an Chontae "county gate".
(vi) POTTERY KILN 瓦 窰 下 ngaa5jiu4 haa6 "beneath the pottery kiln".

(vii) BATTERY 砲 台 咀 paau1toi4 zeoi2 C6 "battery point"

(viiij) SALT KILN 盐 灶下 jim4zou haa6 I1 "beneath the salt kiln"

(ix) CHAMBER 石 室 sek6 sat1 "stone chamber"

(x) KILN 上 窰 seong6 jiu4 K4 "upper kiln"

The Irish material provides some further members of this set which are not
represented in Hong Kong:
MILL Baile an Mhuilinn "mill town" ,Muileann an Iarainn "iron mill"
PALISADE An Phailís "the palisade"
PRISON Faill an Phríosúin "prison cliff"
SMITHY An Cheárta Dhearg "red smithy", Áth na Ceártan Cléithe "hurdle smithy

4.6 The set RELIGIOUS BUILDINGS has four members in both districts:

北 帝 廟 bak1dəi miu6 E8 "North Emperor temple", 沙 江 廟 saa1gong1 miu6 D2
"sand river temple", 大 廟 湾 daai6miu6 waan1 K7 "big temple bay", 黎 家 祠
Lai4gaa1 ci4 "the Lais' clan temple". Compare: Cill Mochuóg "Mochuóg's church",
Cill San Labhráis "St Laurence's church", An Teampall Geal "white church",
Teampalll Uí Bhric "Ó Bric' s church", An Eaglais "the church."

宝 蓮 寺 bou2lin4 zi6 B7 "precious lotus monastery", 万 佛 寺 maan6 Fat6 zi6 H4
"ten thousand Buddha monastery". Compare: Mainistir Mhaolanfaidh "Maolanfaidh' s
monastery" .

菴 山 am1 saan1 H3 "hermitage hill". Compare: Buaile an Dísirt "hermitage summer


塔 門 taap3 mun4 L2 "pagoda gate". Compare: An Chloigtheach "the bell tower"

4.7 The set COMMUNICATIONS contains four members in the Hong Kong material:

(i) PATH
赤 徑 cik3 ging3 L3 "red path"', 牛 徑 ngau4 ging3 F3 "ox path", 觀 音徑
Gun1jam1ging3 G3 "Kuanyin's path", 徑 口 ging3 hau2 H4 "path mouth". Compare:
Tobar an Bhealaigh "path well", Béal an Bhealaigh "path mouth"; An Bóthar Buí, "the
yellow road", Casán na Naomh "the saints' path"; Sráid an Mhuilinn "mill street".
(ii) GAP ( very common, 26 different examples)
白 虎 凹 baak6fu2 aau1 F3 "white tiger gap", 大 浪 凹 daai6long6 aau1 K3 "big wave
gap", 蛇 石 凹 se4 sek6 aau1 K3 "snake stone gap", 走 私 凹 zau2si1 aau1 H4
"smuggling gap". Compare: Bearna na Gaoithe "wind gap", Bearna an Mhadra "dog
gap", Bearna an Fhiaigh "raven gap", Bothar an Mháma "pass road".

(iii) BRIDGE
白 石 橋 baak6sek6 kiu4 64 "white stone bridge", 紅 水橋 hung4 seoi2 kiu4 H3 "red
water bridge", 橋 仔 头 kiu4zai2 tau4 E6 "beginning of the small bridge". Compare:
Droichead na gCaorach "sheep bridge", An Droichead Caol "the narrow bridge", An
Droichidín "the small bridge".

(iv) FERRY
大 洲 渡 daai6zau1 dou6 K1 "big island ferry." Compare: Port an Chalaidh "ferry

The Irish material contains two further members:

FORD(very common) Áth na gCorrmhíol "gnat ford" , Áth an tSeanmhuilinn "old mill
ford", Áth an tSaighdiúra "soldier's ford"
CROSSROADS Crois Éamainnín Bháin "white Éamann's crossroads", Crosaire an
Bhocaigh "Buck's crossroads".

4.8 The set EARTH- AND STONE-WORKS has seven members in the Hong Kong

(i) DAM 白 田 壩 baak6 tin4 baa1 H4 "white field dam", 沙 壩 saa1 baa1 G2 "sand

(ii) WALL
石 壁 sek6 bek3 B7 "stone wall", 閻 王 壁 Jim4wong4 bek3 C7 "Yama's wall".
Compare: An Balla Buí "the yellow wall".

(iii) DITCH/PIT(the most common member of this set both in Hong Kong and in
County Waterford)
大 坑 daai6 haang1 H2 "big ditch", 荔 枝 坑 lai6zi2 haang1 H3 "lychee ditch", 望 東
坑 mong6dung1 haang1 F5 "east looking ditch", 老 虎 坑 lou5fu2 haang1 D3 "tiger
ditch". Compare: Clais na dTarbh "bulls' ditch", Clais Mhór "big ditch", Clais
Ghainimhe "sand pit".

(iv) MOAT 小 濠 siu2 hou4 D5 "small moat". Compare: Baile an Mhóta "moat town".

(v) BANK 馬 草 壟 maa5cou2 lung5 G1 "fodder bank", 石 古 (recte 鼔) 壟 sek6gu2

lung5 I4 "stone drum bank".

(vi) CO RRAL 牛 攔 咀 ngau4laan4 zeoi2 F4 "corral point".

高 塘 gou1 tong4 K3 "high reservoir", 新 塘 san1 tong4 G2, H5 "new reservoir", 鹿 地
塘 luk6 dei6 tong4 D6 "deer place reservoir".

The Irish material contains two further members, not found in Hong Kong, which
reflect purely local conditions:
MEGALITH Cnocán Dalláin "megalith hill", Cathair na Léige "megalith ring fort"
CAIRN Leacht na Francach "rats' cairn", Leacht Mhánais "Magnus' cairn"

4.9 The set FIELDS AND GARDENS has three members in the material from Hong

沙 田 saa1 tin4 I4 "sand field", 老 鼠 田 lou5syu2 tin4 I4 "rat's field", 新 田 san1 tin4
F1 "new field". Compare: Gort an Bhiocáire "vicar's field", Gort na Duimhche "sand
dune field", An Cheapach "the field plot".

高 莆 gou1 pou4 H1 "high pasture", 放 馬 莆 fong3maa5 pou4 H2 "horse-grazing
pasture". Compare: Páirc an Tóibínigh "Tobin's grazing field", Páirc na gCapall
"horse grazing field", Buaile Uí Chadhla "Ó Cadhla's summer pasture", An Bhuaile
Aitinn "gorse summer pasture", Cluain na nEach "horse meadow", Cluain Mór "big
meadow", Bán an Chaisleáin "castle pasture", Bán an Gharráin "gelding's pasture".
Since farming is in Ireland traditionally pastoral and not arable, this member is much
better represented in the Irish material than in that from Hong Kong.

(iii) GARDEN
竹 園 zuk1 jyun4 H0 "bamboo garden, 松 園 cung4 jyun4 G1 "pinetree garden", 半 春
園 bun3ceon1 jyun4 H2 "mid-spring garden". Compare: An Garraí Nua "new
garden", An Garraí Dubh "black garden".

Apart from a few minor members which reflect special kinds of land, the Irish
material also contains one major member which is absent from the Hong Kong
LAND-HOLDING Fearann Ghearóid "Gearóid's land holding", Fearann na Manach,
"the monks' land holding".

4.10 In conclusion, from an examination of the above it is clear that the various sets
of generics enumerated may be considered universals, terrain and dominant culture
permitting. Obviously, where there are no hills, HILL will not figure as a generic in
place names. If no houses are built by the inhabitants, since they live in tents, then
SECULAR BUILDINGS will not occur. But if these things exist, then they will occur
as generics.

4.11 List of generics treated in this section:


(1) ELEVATION slope summit mound peak ridge cliff-base cliff rock hill stone
platform height heap
(2) DECLIVITIES AND WATER waterfall pond big-river valley riven stream ooze
ravine watercourse spring pool lake well soft-ground narrow-stream upper-valley
river-creek hollow marsh marshy-ground water-meadow hollow peatbog causeway
(3) MISCELLANIDUS place cave nest/lair plain wood

2.NATURAL FEATURES: COAST creek inlet headland head harbor coast (harbor)
mouth sandy-beach beach cove bay point bank

3. NATURAL FEATURES:SEA sea(water) island reef/rocks

4. POPULATION CENTRES village mound walled-village farm

5. SECULAR BUILDINGS house watchtower tower hut gate pottery-kiln battery salt-
kiln chamber kiln mill palisade prison smithy

6. RELIGIOUS BUILDINGS temple/church monastery hermitage religious-tower

7. COMMUNICATIONS path gap bridge ferry ford crossroads

8. EARTH-AND STONE-WORKS dam wall ditch/pit moat bank corral reservoir

megalith cairn

9. FIELDS AND GARDENS field pasture garden land-holding


5.0 The Hong Kong material shows six sets of locationals, four of which sets are
composed of two or more contrasting members. The Irish material contains
examples corresponding to two of these sets and provides 8 additional sets not
found in the material from Hong Kong.

5.1 The set BEGINNING/END is well represented in Hong Kong:

大 埔 头 daai6bou3 tau4 H2: 大 埔 尾 daai6bou3 mei5 I3 "the
beginning/end of Daibou"
田 头 saa1tin4 tau4 I4 "the beginning of Satin"
白 沙 头 咀 baak6saa1 tau4 zeoi2 Kl "the point at the beginning of the
white sand"
山 尾 saan1 mei5 H3 "the end of the hill"
坑 尾 村 haang1 mei5 cyun1 D2 "the village at the end of the ditch"
There are no Irish samples.

5.2 The set ABOVE/BELOW is reasonably well represented in Hong Kong:

河 上 郷 ho4 seong6 heong1 G1 "the village on the river"
围 下 wai4 haa6 I2 "below the walled village"
田 下 湾 tin4 haa6 waan1 J6 "the bay below the fields"
花 山 下 faa1 saan1 haa6 L5 "below flower hill"
Two semantically related pairs occur in the Irish material:
Bun Abha "the bottom of the river"
Bun Machan "the bottom of the river Macha"
Barr na mBánóg "the top of the pastures"
Cill Uachtar Maí "the church at the top of the plain"
Íochtar, the member contrasting with Uachtar, is fortuitously absent, but occurs
elsewhere in
There are also several ad hoc namings in the Irish material examined:
Páirceacha Bhun an Bhaile "fields at the bottom of the village"
Páirc faoi bhun Tigh Hallihan "the field below Hallihan's house"
Páirc taobh thíos den mBóthar "the field below the road"

5.3 The set MIDDLE/EDGE occurs in limited distribution in the Hong Kong material
and not at all in the Irish:
田 心 tin4 sam1 C6, D3, H2, H4 "in the middle of the fields"
麥 边 maak6 bin1 J4 "the edge of the wheat"
万 屋 边 maan6 uk1 bin1 H1 "the edge of the ten thousand houses"

5.4 The set BACK - with no contrasting member - also occurs in Hong Kong:
涌 背 cung1 bui3 J2 "the back of the creek"
凹 背 嶺 aau1 bui3 ling5 J0 "the peak at the back of the pass"

5.5 The set MOUTH - with no contrasting member - occurs in both districts:
涌 口 cung1 hau2 D6, D7 "the mouth of the creek"
坑 口 村 haang1 hau2 cyun1 D2 'the village at the mouth of the ditch"
沙 塘 口 山 saa1 tong4 hau2 saan1 L5 "the hill at the mouth of sand
Compare: Beal Locha "the mouth of the lake", Beal an Bhealaigh "the mouth of the
path", Béal Átha an Daimh "the mouth of stag ford"

5.6 The set CARDINAL POINTS occurs in one example only from Hong Kong:
滘 西 gaau1 sai1 K5 "the west of Gau"
滘 東 湾 gaau1 dung1 waan1 K5 "the bay in the east of Gau"
滘 中 湾 gaau1 zung1 waan1 K4 "the bay in the middle of Gau"

5.7 The Irish material has one example of BETWEEN:

Paircín idir an dá Bhóthar "little field between the two roads"
This is, of course, an ad hoc naming, but it is paralleled by more permanent
placenames elsewhere in Ireland, such as Baile idir Dhá Abhainn "town between two
rivers" in County Cork, in which case the name can be traced back as far as 1300

5.8 It is clear from the above that there is a case for considering the Locational, as
an element in placenaming, to be at least a candidate for universality. Whether or
not it is a universal must eventually be decided after the examination of placename
corpuses from other and widely different cultures. This writer's opinion is that it will
be found to be present in direct proportion to the ease with which a given language
can handle its locational elements as a placename structure. Neither Chinese nor
Irish have any difficulty in so handling them, but it is clear from the somewhat
awkward English translations above that this is not equally true of 20th century


6.0 In this section, specifics have been grouped in cognate semantic sets and the
results of this treatment of the Hong Kong material are compared with the Irish
material from County Waterford.

6.1 The first major set - adjectives - distinguishes itself from the rest by being a
discrete morphological set as well as a semantic set.

6.1.1 A major subset of adjectives are those which occur in contrasting groups. The first contrasting group to be examined is composed of adjectives of color

(including DARK, SPECKLED etc.). Examples are plentiful:
白 田 baak6 tin4 H4 "white field", 白 湾 baak6 waan1 K5 "white bay", 白 橋 仔 baak6
kiu4zai2 H3 "white little bridge", 白 洲 baak6 zau1 B4 "white island"
赤 沙 cik3 saa1 J6 "red sand"', 赤 洲 cik3 zau1 Ll "red island"
青 山 cing1 saan1 C4 "green hill", 青 潭 cing1 taam4 F3 "green pool", 青 洲 cing1
zau1 F5, G6, K6 "green island"
丹 山 河 daan1 saan1 ho4 H1 "crimson hill river"
錦 山 gam2 saan1 H2 "speckled hill"
紅 排 hung4 paai4 C8 "red reef", 紅 水 hung4 seoi2 E6 "red water"
黃 石 wong4 sek6 L3 "yellow stone"
乌 洲 wu1 zau1 J3 "black island"
阳 澳 joeng4 ou3 E5 "bright creek"
They are equally plentiful in the Irish material:
An Cnoc Bán "white hill"; An Mhóin Fhionn "white peatbog", An Bán Fionn "white hill
pasture"; An Teampall Geal "white church"
An Charraig Rua "red rock", An Cheárta Dhearg "red forge", An Caol Rua "red
An Port Glas "green bank", An Tobar Glas "green well"
An Chlais Bhreac "speckled ditch"
An Charraig Dhubh "black rock"
An Bhinn Bhuí "yellow peak", An Abha Bhuí "yellow river", An Charraig Bhuí "yellow
rock" The group BIG/LITTLE occurs, often in contrasting pairs:

大 亞 洲 daai6 Aa3zau1 B9: 小 亞 洲 siu2 Aa3zau1 BB "big/little Azəu
大 澳 daai6 ou3 A7 "big creek", 大 洞 daai6 dung6 J3 "big cave", 大 塘 湖 daai6
tong4 wu4 H1 "big reservoir lake"
小 坑 村 siu2 haang1 cyun1 H1 "little ditch village"; 小 灘 siu2 taan1 J1 "little beach"
The distribution in the Irish material is identical:
Baile na Sagart Mór: Baile na Sagart Beag "big/little priests' town"
An Trá Mhór "big strand", An Choill Mhor "big wood"
An Trá Bheag "little strand", An Choill Bheag "little wood" The group LONG/SHORT provides one contrasting pair:

長 咀 coeng4 zeoi2: 短 咀 dyun2 zeoi2 M3 "long/short point"
長 岩 coeng4 ngaam4 M4 "long rock", 長 湾 coeng4 waan1 K5, L3 "long bay", 長 山
coeng4 saan1 H1 "long hill"
The Irish material also contains samples:
An Fhéith Ghairid "short ooze"; Na Páircíní Gearra "short fields", An Charraig Fhada
"long rock", An Poll Fada "long hole" The group HIGH/LOW occurs in both sets of material:

高 山 村 gou1 saan1 cyun1 E8 "high hill village", 高 塘 gou1 tong4 K3 "high
reservoir", 昂 窩 ngong4 wo1 K3 "high nest"
低 埔 dai1 bou3 C6 "low flat''
Compare: An Charraig Ard "high rock", An Lios Ard "high dwelling" Cill Íseal "low
church" The group OLD/NEW is plentifully represented in both districts

老 围 lou5 wai4 I3 "old walled village", 大 埔 舊 城 daai6 bou3 gau6 seng4 H2 "the
old town wall of Daibou", 洞 gu2 dung6 Gl "old cave"
新 田 san1 tin4 F1 "new field", 新 村 san1 cyun1 I0 "new village", 新 围 san1 wai4
D2, I3 "new walled village"
An Seanbhaile "old town", An Seandroichead "old bridge"
An Baile Nua "new town", An Caisleán Nua "new castle", An Garraí Nua "new
Not unexpectedly, the generics involved with this group are semantically restricted to
"human activity" The last contrasting group in the Hong Kong material is ROUGH/SMOOTH
which is also represented in the Irish material:
山 奇 洲 saan1 kei1 zau1 K6 "rough mountain island"
平 面 洲 ping4 min6 zau1 K5 "smooth-surfaced island", 平 洲 ping4 zau1 N0 "smooth
An Stáicín Mín "smooth stack"
An Pháirc Gharbh "rough field", Carraig Aimhréidh "uneven rock"

The Irish material also has the group WIDE/NARROW apparently absent in Hong
An tÁth Leathan "wide ford"
An Gleann Caol "narrow valley"

6.1.2 Other adiectives do not fall so readily into subsets:

(i) 独 孤 洲 duk6gu1 zau1 C8 "solitary island"
(ii) 干 坑 gon1 haang1 I3 "dry ditch"
(iii) 香 港 heong1 gong2 H6 "fragrant harbor"
(iv) 企 山 凹 kei5 saan1 aau1 K5 "standing mountain pass"
(v) 盲 塘 maang4 tong4" D6 "blind reservoir" Compare: An Cuan Caoch "blind
(vi) 深 湾 sam1 waan1 C5 "deep bay" Compare: An Gleann Doimhin "deep valley"
(vii) 横 塘 waang4 tong4 T17 "crooked reservoir", 横 洲 waang4 zau1 E2, L5
"crooked island" Compare: An Fhaill Cham "crooked cliff"
(viii) 园 洲 jyun4 zau1 B8, I4,L5 "round island", 园 墩 下 jyun4 dèun haa6 H3
"beneath the round mound" Compare: Sliabh gCruinn "round mountainous tract"
(ix) 尖 山 zim1 saan1 H5 "sharp hill", 尖 沙 咀 zim1 saa1zeoi2 H6 "sharp sandspit"

The Irish material supplies a few other examples not paralleled in the material from
Hong Kong:
Páircín Fliuch "wet small field"
An Mhóin Lom "bare peatbog"
An tOileán Sleamhain "slippery island"

6.2 The next set to be considered is that of the DIRECTIONALS which normally
occur in contrasting pairs although contrasting triplets also occur and a contrasting
quadruplet is theoretically possible in the case of the cardinal points.

6.2.1 The first subset consists of the cardinal points, which occur in both sets of
北 果 洲 bak1 gwo2zau1 L6 南 果 洲 naam4 gwo2zau1 L7 東 果 洲 dung1 gwo2zau1
L7 "north/south/east fruit island"
北 丫 bak1 aa1 L5 南 丫 naam4 aa1 J4, G8 "north/south A"
東 湾 dung1 waan1: 西 湾 sai1 waan1 E8 "east/west bay"
Compare: An Cnocán Theas: An Cnocán Thuaidh "south/north hillock"

6.2.2 The second subset is UPPER/LOWER

上 沙 洲 seong6 saa1zau1: 下 沙 洲 haa6 saa1zau1 B5 "upper/lower sand island"
Compare: An Ráth Uachtarach "upper fort", An Baile Íochtarach "lower town"

6.2.3 The following represent various subsets:

對 面 洲 duimin6 zau1 K0 "island opposite" Compare: An tOileán Tarsna "the island
隔 田 gak tin4 H4 "the next field"
An Cheathrú Láir "middle land quarter"
An Ré Mheánach "middle mountain flat"

6.3 WATER forms a set which, in the Hong Kong material, may be divided into three

(i) 水 坑 seoi2 haang1 E8 "water ditch", 水 井 湾 seoi2 zeng2 waan1 K7 "water well
Compare: Loch an Uisce "water lake", Cnoc an Uisce "water hill", Gleann an
Fhíoruisce "sweet water valley"
(ii) 浅 水 湾 cin2seoi2 waan1 I7: 深 水 湾 sam1seoi2 waan1 H7 "shallow/deep water
(iii) 大 浪 湾 daai6long6 waan1 J7, B7 "big wave bay", 二 浪 湾 ji6long6 waan1 D8
"two wave bay"

6.4 WIND forms a set in both districts but while in the Hong Kong samples it is
always qualified, in the Irish samples it is not:
南 風 山 naam4 fung1 saan1 L2 "south wind hill", 南 風 湾 naam4 fung1 waan1 L4,
L5 "south wind bay", 尖 風 山 zim1 fung1 saan1 J5 "sharp wind hill"
Compare: Gráig na Gaoithe "windy hamlet", Bearna na Gaoithe "windy pass",
Carraig na Gaoithe "windy rock"

6.5 MINERAL forms a set in both districts but, as their geological formation is not
identical, the two sets of samples do not coincide completely:
(i) 火 石 洲 fo2sek6 zau1 L5 "flint island"
(ii) 金 山 gam1 saan1 H4 "gold hill" Compare: Cnoc an Óir "gold hill"
(iii) 赤 泥 坪 cik3nai4 ping4 I3 "red mud flat", 黃 泥 湖 wong4nai4 wu4 I1 "yellow mud
lake", 泥 围 nai4 wai4 D3 "mud walled village"
(iv) 銀 洲 ngan4 zau1 L2, H8 "silver island", 白 銀 郷 baak6ngan4 heong1 D6 "white
silver village"
Compare: Faill an Airgid "silver cliff"
(v) 沙 嶺 saa1 ling5 G1 "sand peak", 沙 田 saa1 tin4 I4 "sand field", 白 沙 澳
baak6saa1 ou3 K2 "white sand creek", 灰 沙 围 fui1saa1 wai4 E3 "grey sand walled
Compare: Clais na Gainimhe "sand pit"
(vi) 石 湖 sek6 wu4 F1, F3, G1. "stone lake", 石 洲 仔 sek6 zau1zai2 K4 "stone islet",
石 澳 sek6 ou3 J3 "stone creek", 白 石 橋 baak6sek6 kiu4 G4 "white stone bridge"
Compare: Ladhar na gCloch "stony fork", Lios na dtrí gCloch "three stone dwelling"
(viii) 石 仔 湾 sek6zai2 waan1 M3 "gravel bay" Compare: Port Greana "gravel bank"
(viii) 鉛 鉱 凹 jyun4kwong aau1 H3 "lead mine gap"
(ix) 鑚 石 山 zunsek6 saan1 I5 "diamond hill"

Compare further: Gleann an Iarainn "iron valley"; Pointe na Slinne "slate point"; Poll
na Mianach "ore pit"; Tobar an Ghuail "coal well"

6.6 PLANT forms a set in both districts. It contains three main subsets: CROP,
FRUIT, TREE and minor subsets.

6.6.1 The subset CROP is better represented in the Hong Kong material than in that
from County Waterford, which is not surprising, since Ireland is primarily a cattle
rearing country:
麥 边 mâk bin1 J4 "wheat edge", 苗 田 miu4 tin4 J6 "rice shoo:t field", 土 瓜 湾
tou2gwaa1 waan1 I5 "pumpkin bay'', 油 麻 地 jau4maa4 dei6 H5 "linseed land", 芝 麻
坑 zi1maa4 haang1 E8 "sesame ditch", 禾 塘 崗 wo4 tong4 gong1 G3,J15 "rice
reservoir ridge'', 早 禾 坑 zou2wo4 haang1 K4 "early rice ditch", 藍 田 laam4 tin4 J6
"indigo field"
Compare: Muileann an Choirce "oat mill"; Carraig an tSeagail "rye rock";
Cruithneachtán "wheat land".
The last Irish example has already been analyzed in 4.1.3(i) above. The Hong Kong
equivalent, if it occurred, would be *麥 地 maak6 dei6.

6.6.2 The subset FRUIT iis likewise better represented in the material from Hong
Kong since the only fruit tree traditionally cultivated in Ireland on a liarge scale is the
apple tree. It is significant the the Irish examples below are wild, not cultivated, fruit:
波 羅 山 bo1lo4 saan1 F3 "pineapple hill"
荔 枝 坑 lai6zi2 haang1 HB "lychee ditch", 荔 枝 園 村 lai6zi2 jyun4 cyun1 D7 "lychee
orchard village"
栂 窩 mui4 wo1 D6 "plum nest", 栂 子 林 mui4zi2 lam4 J1, J4 "plumseed wood"
桃 園 围 tou4 jyun4 wai4 D3 "peach orchard walled village"
石 橊 埔 sek6lau4 bou3 C6 "Chinese guava flat"
Compare: Cúil na Sméar "blackberry corner", Bearna an Choill "hazelnut gap", Cnoc
na bhFraochán "whortleberry hill".

6.6.3 The subset TREE is well represented in both districts although the species
range is obviously not identical:
大 樹 凹 daai6syu6 aau1 B6 "big tree gap", 七 樹 环 cat1syu6 waan4 K1 "seven tree
檳 榔 湾 ban1long4 waan1 K5 "betel bay"
松 園 cung4 jyun4 G1 "pine garden"
梧 桐 河 ng4tung4 ho4 G1 "pawlonia river"
楊 小 坑 joeng4 siu2haang1 D4 "willow ditchlet"
榕 樹 凹 jung4syu6 aau1 K3 "banyan gap"
竹 坑 zuk1 haang1 G2 "bamboo ditch", 金 竹 角 gam1zuk1 gok3 F5 "golden bamboo
head", 黃 竹 山 wong4zuk1 saan1 J4 "yellow bamboo hill"
柴 湾 caai4 waan1 G4, J6 "firewood bay"
Compare: Tobar na gCrann "tree well"; Cnocán an Chuilinn "hoIly hillock", Baile na
Fuinseoige "ash town", An Currach Darach "oak marsh", Tobar na Fearna "alder
well", Ard Saiileach "willow height", Baile an Iúir "yew town"; Carraigín an Chárthainn
"rowan rocklet".

6.6.4 The following minor subsets of PLANT occur in the Hong Kong material::
(i) 白 花 林 baak6faa1 lam4 I5 "white flower wood", 花 山 下 faa1 saan1 haa6 L5
"beneath flower hill"
(ii) 草 山 cou2 saan1 H3 "grass hill", 茂 草 岩 mau6cou2 ngaam4 I4 "flourishing
grass rock"
(iii) 蓮 花 地 lin4faa1 dei6 G3 "lotus flower place", 蓮 花 山 lin4faa1 saan1 B7, D6, F3
"lotus flower hill" .
(iv) 茅 湖 maau4 wu4 J5 "straw lake", 茅 坪 maau4 ping4 J4 "straw flat", 黃 茅 洲
wong4maau4 zau1 M2 "yellow straw island"
Compare: Gleann na Sop "straw valley", Carraig an tSoip "straw rock".

Further subsets are found in the Irish material:

Carraig an Eidhin "ivy rock"; Currach an Chreamha "wild garlic marsh"; An Bhuaile
Aitinn "gorse summer pasture" etc.

6.7 The set NON-DOMESTIC ANIMAL is well represented in both districts, but one
must always bear in mind the different ecological structures in question. The set can
conveniently be broken up into five subsets:

6.7.1 The following samples of MAMMALS are recorded:

(i) 老 虎 石 lou5fu2 sek6 J1 "tiger stone", 虎 山 fu2 saan1 A7 "tiger hill", 白 虎 凹
baak6fu2 aau1 F3 "white tiger pass", 虎 头 山 fu2tau4 saan1 C5 "tiger head hill", 老
虎 头 lou5fu2 tau4 D6,L3 "tiger head"
(ii) 象 鼻 崖 zoeng6bei6 ngaai4 A7 "elephant trunk cliff"
(iii) 鹿 地 luk6 dei6 D6 "deer land", 鹿 山 luk6 saan1 I3 "deer hill", 双 鹿 石 澗
soeng1luk6 sek6gaan3 L3 "double deer gorge", 鹿 頸 山 luk6geng2 saan1 C8 "deer
neck hill"
Compare: Béal Átha an Daimh "stag ford mouth", Carn an Daimh Dheirg "red stag
heap", Móin an Fhia "deer peatbog"
(iv) 猴 岩 頂 hau4 ngaam4 deng2 H3 "monkey rock peak"
(v) 狐 狸 头 wu4lei4 tau4 J4 "fox head"
Compare: Carraigín na Sionnach "fox rocklet", Poll an Mhadra Rua "fox hole"
(vi) 老 鼠 田 lou5syu2 tin4 I4 "rat field", 老 鼠 嶺 lou5syu2 ling5 H0 "rat peak"
Compare: Leacht na Francaí "rat cairn"
(vii) 飞 鼠 岩 fei1syu2 ngaam4 K0 "flying fox rock"
The Irish material further contains:
Clais na mBroc "badger ditch", Carraig an Mhictíre "wolf rock", Uamha na Róinte
"seal cave".

6.7.2 BIRDS occur as follows:

(i) 鸦 山 aa1 saan1 I2 "crow hill"
Compare: Cnoc an Phréacháin "crow hill", Bearna an Fhiaigh "raven gap", Carraig
na bhFiach "raven rock"
(ii) 麻 雀 嶺 maa4zeuk ling5 I1 "sparrow peak"
(iiii) 牙 鹰 洲 ngaa4jing1 zau1 G4 "eagle island", 牙 鹰 角 ngaa4jing1 gok3 A7 "eagle
(iv) 燕 岩 jin3 ngaam4 H3 "swallow rock", 燕 排 jin3 paai4 L2 "swallow reef"
Compare: Cnoc an Fhiolair "eagle hill", Cloch an Fhiolair "eagle stone"
The Irish material also contains: .
Carraigín na Cuaiche "cuckoo rocklet", Oileán na bhFaoileann "seagull island",
Tobar na Feannóige "scaldcrow well" etc.

6.7.3 REPTILES occur only in the material from Hong Kong, since only very few
species occur in Ireland:
蛇 石 凹 se4 sek6 aau1 K3 "snake stone gap", 大 蛇 頂 daai6se4 deng2 L4 "big
snake peak"
龟 头 咀 gwai1tau4 zeoi2 E7 "turtle head point", 龟 背 湾 gwai1bui3 waan1 17 "turtle
back bay"
6.7.4 INSECTS are represented in both districts:
狗 虱 湾 gau2sat1 waan1 E6 "dog flea bay"
蜜 洲 mat1 zau1 J9' "honey island"
黃 蜂 嶺 wong4fung1 ling5 D3 "wasp peak"
蝴 蝶 谷 wu4dip6 guk1 F4 "butterfly valley"
乌 蝇 洲 wu1jing4 zau1 E6 "fly island "
Com Seangán "ant upper valley", Tobar na Míol "louse well", Áth na gCorrmhíol,
"gnat ford", Ré na gCuilí, "fly mountain flat"

6.7.5 MARINE ANIMALS are far better represented in the material from Hong Kong
than in that from County Waterford. The fact that in Hong Kong fish and sea food are
consumed far more widely than in Ireland is undoubtedly the main reason for this:
双 魚 河 soeng1jyu4 ho4 "double fish river"
鲤 魚 門 lei5jyu4 mun4 J6 "carp gate"
黃 魚 灘 wong4jyu4 taan1 I2 "yellow fish beach"
鲎 殻 湾 hau6hok3 waan1 B6 "king crab shell bay"
蟹 鉗 咀 hai5kim4 zeoi2 E6 "crab pincer point"
蠔 殻 山 hou4hok3 saan1 F3 "oyster shell hill"
龍 虾 排 lung4haa1 paai4 L6 "lobster reef"
鱿 魚 湾 jau4jyu4 waan1 J5 "squid bay"
黑 螺 角 hak1lo4 gok3 K4 "black snail head"
Compare: Uamhain an Éisc "fish cave", Rinn na Searc "shark point", Carraig na
Diúirice "lobster chink rock", Trá na Maighdeog "concha veneris strand"

6.8 DOMESTIC ANIMAL forms a set which is plentifully represented in both districts,
the animals being by and large the same:
(i) 牛 潭 ngau4 taam4 F2 "cow pool", 牛 徑 ngau4 ging3 F3 "cow path", 牛 仔 排
ngau4zai2 paai4 K6 "calf reef", 牛 牯 湾 ngau4gu2 waan1 D7 "bull bay", 白 牛 石
baak6ngau4 sek6 G3 "white cow stone", 水 牛 山 seoi2ngau4 saan1 I4 "buffalo hill",
石 牛 洲 sek6ngau4 zau1 N2 "stone cow island", 牛 尾 洲 ngau4mei5 zau1 K5 "cow
tail island", 牛 头 排 ngau4tau4 paai4 K5 "cow head reef", 牛 耳 石 ngau4ji5 sek6 K3
"cow's ear stone"
Compare: Port na mBó "cow bank", Trá na mBó "cow strand", Clais na dTarbh "bull
ditch", Clais an Lao "calf ditch", Drom Bó "the cow's back"
(ii) 猪 头 石 zyu1tau4 sek6 E8 "pig head stone"
Compare: Cnoc na Muc "pig hill", Áth na Muice "pig ford", Ceann Muice "the pig's
(iii) 馬 湾 maa5 waan1 C6, F4 ''horse bay", 馬 蹄 洞 maa5tai4 dung6 F4 "horse hoof
cave", 百 馬 咀 bak maa5 zeoi2 J5 "hundred horse point"
Compare: Cnoc na gCapall "horse hill", Cnocán na nEach "horse hillock", Com
Lárach "mare upper valley", Bóthar an Chapaill Chaoich "drunken horse road",
Gleanntán na Graí "horse herd valley", Drom Capaill "the horse's back"
(iv) 馿 仔 山 lui5zai2 saan1 L2 "donkey hill"
(v) 羊 洲 joeng4 zau1 I2, J4 "sheep island"
Compare: Oileán na gCaorach "sheep island", Droichead na gCaorach "sheep
bridge", Ard na
Molt "wether height", Cnoc an Reithe "ram hill"
(vi) 狗 嶺 gau2 ling5 B7 "dog peak", 狗 髀 洲 gau2bei2 zau1 J8 "dog haunch island"
Compare: Faill an Mhadra "dog cliff", Bearna an Mhadra "dog gap", Lios na Con
Duibhe "black bitch dwelling"
(vii) 猫 眼 洞 maau1ngaan5 dung6 L7 "cat eye cave"
Compare: Carraig na gCat "cat rock", Gleann an Chait "cat valley", Bóithrín na gCat
"cat path"
(viii) 鴨 洲 aap3 zau1 J0 "duck island", 鴨 仔 湾 aap3zai2 waan1 J5 "duckling bay",
鴨 脷 洲 aap3lei6 zau1 H7 "duck tongue island"
Compare: Gleann Dá Lachan "two duck valley", Clais na Lachan "duck ditch"
(ix) 鷄 山 gai1 saan1 A8 "chicken, hill", 鷄 公 石 gai1gung1 sek6 E8 "cock rock", 鷄
頸 咀 gai1geng2 zeoi2 K2 "chicken neck point", 鷄 冠 山 gai1gun1 saan1 K3 "cock's
comb hill", 鷄 心 排 gai1sam1 paai4 F5 "chicken heart reef", 鷄 公 头 gai1gung1 tau4
K0 "the cock's head"
Compare: Móin na Circe "hen peatbog"
(x) 鵝 洲 仔 ngo4 zau1zai2 J7 "goose islet", 鵝 頸 咀 ngo4geng2 zeoi2 K2 "goose
neck point"
Compare: Áth na nGé "goose ford"
In addition, the Irish material contains the subset GOAT:
Carraig na nGabhar "goat rock", Móin na Meannán "kid peatbog"

6.9 The set HUMAN can be conveniently broken down into five subsets: HUMAN

6.9.1 The subset HUMAN BODY is represented in both districts:

膝 头 哥 山 sat1tau4go1 saan1 B7 "knee hill"
人 头 石 jan4tau4 sek6 J8 "human head stone"
尖 鼻 咀 zim1bei6 zeoi2 E2 "sharp nose point"
Compare: Cnocán na nGlún "knee hillock", Cloch na gCeann "heads stone", Tobar
na bhFiacal "tooth well"

6.9.2 MAN PHYSICAL AND INTELLECTUAL is better represented in the Irish

material than in
that from Hong Kong, which offers only one sample:
癩 痢 仔 làilei6zai2 K6 "leper"
Compare: Móin na Lobhar "leper peatbog", Carraig na nÓinseach "idiot rock",
Cnocán na bhFear Garbh, "rough men s hillock"

6.9.3 MAN IN THE FAMILY is well represented in both districts:

亞 公 田 aa3gung1 tin4 G2 "grandfather's field"
亞 媽 湾 aa3maa1 waan1 N0 "granny's bay"
伯 公 凹 bakgung1 aau1 I0 "uncle s gap"
亞 婆 山 aa3po4 saan1 I4 "old woman's hill"
新 娘 潭 san1noeng4 taam4 J1 "bride's pool"
孖 仔 排 maa1zai2 paai4 t5 "twin reef"
孝 子 角 hauzi2 gok3 L2 "dutiful son's head"
Compare: Carraig na bhFear "men's rock", Móin na mBan "women's peatbog",
Leaba na Caillí "old woman's bed", Áth na gCailíní "girls' ford", Cnocán na
mBuachaillí "boys' hillock", Baile na mBaintreach "widows' town"

6.9.4 MAN IN SOCIETY is more widely represented in the Irish material than in that
from Hong Kong:
官 門 gun1 mun4 L4 "official's gate"
將 軍 澳 zoeng1gwan1 ou3 J5 "general s creek"
大 王 爺 墩 daai6wong4je4 dèun K4 "king's mound"
和 尚 峒 wo4seong6 tung4 D6 "monk's cave"
Compare: Cloch an Iarla "earl's castle", Coill an Easpaig "bishop's wood", Gleann an
tSagairt "priest's valley", Fearann na Manach "monks' land", Faill an Phíopaire
"piper' s cliff", Gleann an Ghabha "smith's valley", Baile na nAiriún "plowmen's town",
Carraig an Bhroinnteora "smelter's rock", Gleann an Chruitire "harper's valley", Áth
an tSaighdiúra "soldiers's ford".

6.9.5 The subset RACE reflects an "us/them" situation - "them" in the case of Hong
Kong being the English and in the case of County Waterford the Normans and
English. By the very nature of things, "them" is the marked member of the contrast.
"Us" in fact does not figure in the County Waterford material although it does occur
in other parts of Ireland.
"us" 唐 人 新 村 tong4jan4 san1 cyun1 E3 "Chinese new village"
"them" 番 鬼 塘 faan1gwai2 tong4 A7 "foreigners' reservoir"
Compare: Baile na nGall "foreigners' town", Áth na nGall "foreigners' ford", Bearna
an tSasanaigh "Englishman's gap"

6.10 The set NAME is very well represented in both districts. As both cultures have
surnames for a considerable time - China since the first millennium B.O.E. and
Ireland since
the end of the first millennium O.E. - these are to the fore in both sets of material,
although one must be quite clear that this is not a universal: other cultures either
may not use surnames or may have
adopted them in only a very recent period.

6.10.1 The subset SURNAME is the most common in both districts, usually coupled
with a generic meaning "dwelling place":
梁 屋 Loeng4 uk1 B7 "Leung's house", 張 屋 Zoeng1 uk1 H2 "Zeung's house"
林 屋 围 Lam4 uk1 wai4 L3 "Ləm's house walled village"
羅 屋 村 Lo4 uk1 cyun1 G3 "Lo' s house village", 楊 屋 村 Joeng4 uk1 cyun1 E2, F2
"Yeung's house village"
馬 家 围 Mägaa1 wai4 E2 "Ma famiIy walled village", 王 家 围 Wong4aa1 wai4 C6,
D4 "Wong family walled village"
黎 家 祠 Lai4gaa1 ci4 G3 "Ləi family temple"
蛋 家 湾 Daan6gaa1 waan1 L2 "Dan famiIy bay"
Compare: Baile Uí Scanláin "Ó Scanláin's town", Baile Uí Chnáimhín "Ó Cnáimhín's
town", Baile Mhic Sheonaic "Mac Seonaic"s town", Baile an Chondúnaigh
"Caunteton's town", Baile an Fheamrógaigh "Pembroke s town", Fearann an
Lóntaigh "Launde s land", Cill Mhic Niocláis "Mac Niocláis' church", Ard Ó Séasta "Uí
Shéastas' height", Móin Uí Fhathaidh "Ó Fathaidh's peatbog"

6.10.2 The subset PERSONAL NAME appears not to occur at all in the material from
Hong Kong, although it is common in the Irish material:
Glaise Phádraig "Patrick's stream", Tobar Chuain "Cuan's well", Gleann Roibín
"Robin's valley", Oileán tSeáin "John's island", Baile Mháirtín "Martin's town"

6.10.3 The subset SURNAME+PERSONAL NAME (or, in Irish order, PERSONAL

NAME+SURNAME) has limited occurrence in both districts:
張 保 仔 洞 Zoeng1 Bou2zai2 dung6 E8 "Zeung Bouzəi's cave"
Compare: Poll Liam Tóibín "Liam Tobin's hole", Leaba Thomáis Mhic Chaba "Tomas
Mac Caba's bed".
The Hong Kong material further contains a scattering of examples of modified
surname occurring in placenames of a rather similar nature:
周 公 島 Zau1gung1 dou2 F6 "grandfather Zou' s island"
契 爺 湾 Kai1je4 waan1 B7 "old man Kai' s bay"
老 懰 屋 lou5Lau4 uk1 H3 "old Lau's house"
The Irish material has nothing similar. It has, on the other hand, one example of
Cuan Liam Gallda "foreign Liam's cove"

6.11 The set ARTIFACTS is well represented in both districts. In the samples given
below, various subsets have been roughly made out, but the very diversity of man's
artifacts is such that these subsets must be considered an ad hoc solution only:

磨 刀 坑 mo4dou1 haang1 J1 "whetstone ditch", 大 鏟 洲 daai6caan1 zau1 K4 "big
shovel island"; 籮 箕 湾 lo4gei1 waan1 C8 "winnowing basket bay", 針 山 zam1
saan1 H4 "needle hill"
Compare: Leaca na mBolg "bellows slope", Áth na Brón "millstone ford", Móin an
Bhráca "harrow peatbog", Cluain na gCoigéal "spindle meadow", Gleann Deimhis
"shears valley"


筆 架 山 bat1ga saan1 H5 "pen-rack hill", 布 袋 澳 bou3dôi ou3 K6 "sack creek", 灯
籠 洲 dang1lung4 zau1 F5 "lantern island", 鎖 匙 門 so2si4 mun4 L5 "key gate", 砧
板 石 zam1bán sek6 K6 "chopping board stone", 花 瓶 石 faa1ping4 sek6 E8 "flower
vase stone", 屏 風 山 ping4fung1 saan1 I1 "windscreenscreen hill", 交 椅 洲 gaau1yí
zau1 F6 "armchair island"
Compare: Tobar an Chófra "cupboard well", Carraig an Chloig "bell rock"


船 湾 syun4 waan1 I2 "boat bay", 糧 船 湾 loeng4syun4 waan1 L5 "corn ship bay", 番
鬼 輪 洲 faan1gwai2leon4 zau1 L5 "foreign steamer island", 竹 篙 湾 zuk1gou1
waan1 E5 "puntpole bay", 木 筏 头 muk6fat1tau4 K1 "raft", 布 罟 湾 bou3gu2 waan1
K4 "cloth net bay"
Compare: Trá na mBád "boat strand", Port an Bháid "boat bank", Oileán an Choite
"skiff island", Poll na Líonta "net hole", Poll na gCorc "cork hole"

大 帽 山 daai6mou6 saan1 G3 "big hat hill". Compare: Cnocán na gClócaí "cloak

大 旗 嶺 daai6kei4 ling5 E3 "big flag peak", 黃 幌 山 wong4fong2 saan1 K0 "yellow
banner hill", 火 葯 洲 fo2yoek6 zau1 G7 "gunpowder island", 飞 机 頂 fei1gei1 deng2
B9 "airplane peak", 龍 鼔 灘 lung4gu2 taan1 C4 "dragon drum beach", 馬 鞍 崗
maa5on1 gong1 F3 "saddle ridge", 木 魚 山 muk6jyu4 saan1 B7 "wooden fish hill",
銅 鑼 湾 tung4lo4 waan1 H4, H6 "copper gong bay"
Compare: Béal Átha Saighead "arrow ford mouth", Ard na nGunnaí "gun height",
Carraig an
Tiompáin "tympanum rock", Tobar an Phaicéid "packet well", Áth an Chóiste "coach
ford", Áth na gClárach "plank ford"

6.12 The set FOOD AND COMESTIBLES is better represented in the material from
Hong Kong, but by no means absent in County Waterford:
粉 嶺 fan2 ling5 G1, H1 "flour peak", 米 粉 咀 mai5fan2 zeoi2 M3 "rice flour point", 面
包 石 min6baau1 sek6 EB "loaf stone"
盐 田 jim4 tin4 B7 "salt field", 盐 田 仔 jim4 tin4zai2 I2, K4 "salt fieldlet", 鹹 坑 haam4
haang1 I1 "salty ditch"
Compare: Cnoicín na Bullóige "loaf hillock", Áth na Bláthaí "buttermilk ford", Faill an
Fhíona "wine cliff;", Poll an Tobac "tobacco hole"

6.13 The set RUBBISH AND DUNG is small but quite distinct in the material from
Hong Kong. Experience in handling Irish placename material shows that such
placenames also occur in Ireland on a fairly wide scale but tend not to survive
垃 圾 洲 laap6saap3 zau1 J4 "rubbish island"
疴 屎 角 o1si2 gok3 K0 "shitting head", 牛 屎 湖 ngau4si2 wu4 J1 "cowshit lake", 馬
屎 洲 maa5si2 zau1 I2 "horseshit island"
馬 尿 水 maa5niu6 seoi2 Jl "horsepiss water"
Compare: Moin Otraigh "midden peatbog"
The solitary Irish example just quoted apparently survived because it was not
considered too offensive. An example from County Limerick, however, Cnoc an
Chaca "shit hill", turns up in official English form as "Sugar hill" which is
incomprehensible unless one knows that in Irish English "sugar!" is a euphemism for
the common expletive "shit!". The same principle appears to have operated
orthographically on the Hong Kong placename 馬 料 水 maa5liu6 seoi2 I3 "horse
material water"' which in Hong Kong Cantonese is phonetically identical to 馬 尿 水
maa5niu6 seoi2 J1 "horse piss water" cited above (syllable initial l and n have fallen
together as l). The placename with the unbowdlerized spelling is in an out of the way
district whereas the "euphemized" form is the railway station for Hong Kong Chinese
Uniiversity and thus more in the public eye and ear.

6.14 The set SUPERNATURAL is well represented in both districts. The division into
subsets, however, is not productive for comparative purposes as belief in the
supernatural is rather different in the two societies. In Ireland, Christianity in one
form or the other has had the backing of the civil power for many centuries - as well
as its own tightly knit organization - and has done its best to extirpate alternative
views of the supernatural. It has not succeeded entirely, but its efforts are reflected
in the paucity of non-Christian elements in placenames which have survived. In
Hong Kong, as in China generally, alternative views of the supernatural are the rule
rather than the exception and this is seen very clearly in the placename evidence.

In the Hong Kong material we may distinguish:

万 佛 寺 maan6 Fat6 zi6 H4 "temple of the ten thousand Buddhas", 佛 手 岩
Fat6sau2 ngaam4 J9 "Buddha' s hand rock", 佛 头 洲 Fat6tau4 zau1 J6 "Buddha's
head island"
弥 勒 山 Mei4lak6 saan1 B6 "Maitreya's hill"
觀 音徑 Gun1jam1 ging3 G3 "Kuanyin's path", 觀 音 廟 Gun1jam1 miu6 I5 "Kuanyin
s temple", 觀 音 湾 Gun1jam1 waan1 E8 "Kuanyin's bay"
閻 王 壁 Jim1wong4 bek3 C7 "Yama's wall"
北 帝 廟 bak1dai3 miu6 E8 "Northern Emperor's temple", 雷 公 田 lui4gung1 tin4 G3
"Thunder God's field", 天 后 廟 tin1hau6 miu6 E8, K6 "Empress of Heaven's temple"
洪 聖 廟 hung3sing3 miu6 E8 "the sage Hung's temple", 三 聖 廟 saam1sing3 miu6
D4 "temple of the Three Sages"
八 仙 嶺 baat3sin1 ling5 I2 "Eight Immortals' peak", 神 仙 井 san4sin1 zeng2 K5
"immortal's well", 仙 姑 峯 sin1gu1 fung1 J2 "immortal girl's peak", 仙 人 井 sin1jan4
zeng2 "immortal's well"
大 鬼 湾 daai6gwai2 waan1 E7 "big ghost's bay", 鬼 仔 湾 gwai2zai2 waan1 E8 "little
ghost's bay", 黑 鬼 山 hak1gwai2 saan1 J5 "black ghost's hill", 魔 鬼 山 mo1gwai2
saan1 J6 "demon's hill"
嶺 龍 lung4 ling5, H2 "dragon's peak", 青 龍 湾 cing1lung4 waan1 F4 "green dragon
bay", 東 龍 洲 dung1lung4 zau1 "eastern dragon island", 飞 龍 山 fei1lung4 saan1 I5
"flying dragon hill", 卧 龍 潭 ngo6lung4 taam4 C3 "sleeping dragon pool", 龍 珠 島
lung4zyu1 dou2 D4 "dragon pearl island"
鳯 坑 fung6 haang1 I1 "phoenix ditch", 鳯 凰 山 fung6wong4 saan1 C7 "paired
phoenix hill"
麒 麟 排 kei4leon4 paai4 Ll "unicorn reef", 麒 麟 围 kei4leon4 wai4 D3 "unicorn
walled village"
狮 子 山 si1zi2 saan1 H5 "lion hill", 狮 子 头 山 si1zi2tau4 saan1 F7 "lion head hill",
狮 石 山 sek6si1 saan1 C6 "stone lion hill"
鶴 咀 hok6 zeoi2 J8, K1 "crane point", 白 鶴 洲 baak6hok6 zau1 F1 "white crane
天 梯 洞 tin1tai1 dung6 L7 "sky-ladder cave", 桃 源 洞 tou4jyun4 dung6 H3 "peach
fountain cave"
The Irish material provides:
Tobar na Naomh "saints' well", Casán na Naomh "saints' path", Tobar na nAingeal
"angels' well", Rian Bó Phádraig "track of St Patrick's cow", Teampall Mhichíl "St
Michael's church", Cill Mhuire "St Mary's
Tobar na Caillí Béarra "the Old Woman of Béarra's well"
Cathaoir na Baidhbe "Badhb's chair", Tobar na Baidhbe "Badhb's well" (Badhb was
the War Goddess, now demoted to a sort of witch figure)
Tor an Phúca "the púca's bush", Gleann an Phúca "the púca's valley", Poll an Phúca
"the púca's hole" (a púca is a horse-shaped water sprite with demonic powers)
Baile an Bhile "town of the sacred tree"
Poll na bPiast "the dragons' hole"

6.15 The set AUSPICIOUS NAMES, that is, names specifically chosen, to confer
luck on a place, is well represented in the material from Hong Kong, but the Irish
material provides only one possible sample: Abha na Séad "river of jewels". The
reason for this discrepancy is not hard to find: in Chinese society, the notion that "a
thing becomes what you call it" has traditionally had far wider currency than in
Ireland and an "ill-omened" name is avoided like the plague it is feared it may well
turn out to be. Thus, not unnaturally, most of the placenames in this set refer to
human dwellings:
永 寜 里 wing5ning4 lei5 G3 "village of eternal peace"
逢 吉 郷 fung4gat1 heong1 F2 "luck-receiving village"
宝 蓮 寺 bou2lin4 zi6 B7 "monastery of the jeweled lotus"
吉 橋 gat1 kiu4 F3 "lucky bridge"
慈 雲 山 ci4wan4 saan1 I4 "cloud of mercy hill"
宝 珠 潭 bou2zyu1 taam4 B7 "precious pearl pool"

6.16 The set ACTIVITY, in which the generic includes a verbal form, is well
represented in both districts. For linguistic reasons, however, the subsets are of
different structures.
The Hong Kong material supplies three syntactically discrete subsets:
(i) Structure V + 0
扯 旗 山 ce2 kei4 saan1 H6 "flag-raising hill"
打 鼔 嶺 daa2 gu2 ling5 Hi "drum-beating peak"
打 石 湖 daa2 sek6 wu4 G2 "stone-beating lake"
釣 魚 湾 diu jyu4 waan1 F4 "angling bay"
分 水 嶺 fan1 seoi2 ling5 A7 "water-dividing peak"
过 路 湾 gwo lou6 waan1 C6 "road-crossing bay"
近 水 湾 kan5 seoi2 waan1 F4 "water-approaching bay"
立 和 村 lap6 wo4 cyun1 I0 "peace-establishing village"
望 夫 石 mong6 fu1 sek6 H4 "watching-for-husband stone"
望 魚 角 mong6 jyu4 gok3 L3 "watching-for-fish head"
昂 船 凹 ngong4 syun4 aau1 E5 "boat-lifting pass"
(ii) Structure S + V
龍 落 水 lung4 lok6 seoi2 N0 "water where the dragon descends"
雷 打 石 lui4 daa2 sek6 K3 "stone where the thunder strikes"
鳯 降 村 fung6 gong cyun1 D2 "village where the phoenix descends"
(iii) Structure ADVERB + V
難 过 水 naan4 gwo seoi2 N1 "water which is difficult to cross"

The Irish examples, on the other hand, all fall into the same subset which has the
Sruth na Léime "leaping stream"
Carraig an Chodlata "sleeping rock"
Gleann na Coiscéime "stepping valley"
Lios na Fionaíle "parricide dwelling"
Áth an Chomraic "combat ford"
Áth Scortha "unyoking ford"

6.17 In conclusion we have seen that the above sets of Specifics correspond to a
reality in both the Hong Kong and the Irish material, although frequency will tend to
vary. The actual composition of some sets will be determined by the geological or
ecological structure of the district in question, that of others will depend on the
evolution of the society and culture of the inhabitants - the set Auspicious Names (
6.15 above) in particular is unlikely to prove a universal , although it may occur quite
frequently. Nevertheless, it seems a reasonable working hypothesis that these sets
may be universals.

6.18 List of specifics treated in this seation:

(1) CONTRASTING GROUPS color big/little long/short high/low old/new
rough/smooth wide/narrow
(2) Unclassified adjectives
2. DIRECTIONALS cardinal points, upper/lower, opposite, next, middle
6. PLANT (1) CROP (2) FRUIT (3) TREE (4) miscellaneous
(4) CLOTHES (5) miscellaneous
16. ACTIVITY(containing a verbal component)


7. It is quite clear that placenaming in both Hong Kong and in County Waterford
follows similar and predictable lines. Physical, ecological and social and economic
differences doubtless exist and these are reflected in the placenames. Nevertheless,
one can feel reasonably confident that the same diagnostic (analysis of structure
based on the generic/specific/locational contrast and typological analysis of these
three elements) may be applied to other placename systems in other parts of the
world. Much further research must be done to refine this diagnostic, however, before
a soundly based system of "universal placenaming laws" can be set up.

Dublin, 1982.

revised digitalized version Andorra, 2006.

romanization of Cantonese adapted to Jyutping Andorra,


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