Alternating Consonants and Vowels:

Some countries have names in which consonants and vowels alternate -- consider Canada and Panama. What is the longest such name?

Thanks to Warren Usui for passing this along.

dave h:
United Arab Emirates? That's a country, right?
1.8.2007 2:12pm
Southern in the City:
United Arab Emirates
1.8.2007 2:16pm
united arab emirates
1.8.2007 2:17pm
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
1.8.2007 2:19pm
Positive Dennis:
Nope it is Canada because Canada is a large country. I went to my atlas and United Arab Emirates is a smaller font and Canada is a larger one, so the word "Canada" is longer than the words "United Arab Emirats."

1.8.2007 2:26pm
Justin (mail):
Is United Arab Emirates the official name of said state? Do English versions of non-English countries count? What about non-English, non-local versions? (Such as the Spanish name for a non-Spanish-Speaking nation, for instance?) This game needs rules.... :)
1.8.2007 2:49pm
al-'amirat al-mutahida

In Arabic, it's trickier because they don't write in some of their vowels, but both definite articles are followed by consonants ('ayn begins 'amirat, and miim begins mutahida).

Of course, Arabic has very few words that begin with vowels (and depending on how you count hamza, it may have none).
1.8.2007 3:47pm
United Estates of America?
1.8.2007 4:25pm
dejapooh (mail):
United Estates of America should count once the estate tax is ended permanently.
1.8.2007 4:36pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
That would have to be United Esetates of America.
1.8.2007 4:48pm
Since the answer came so quick, how about the longest city name that alternates?
1.8.2007 5:04pm
Silicon Valley Jim:

1.8.2007 5:31pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
1.8.2007 5:39pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
Aka Tananarive, which does work.
1.8.2007 5:43pm
liberty (mail) (www):
1.8.2007 5:49pm
liberty (mail) (www):
oops, the nj is not a single consonant
1.8.2007 5:50pm
AKA is 'also known as' right?

If we count Y as a vowel I have Paramaribo and Tananarive beat, though it's a bit of a cheat.
1.8.2007 6:27pm
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Extra credit since it's in the United States and because every vowel is the same?
1.8.2007 7:33pm
Silicon Valley Jim:

Tell us, please, whether it's a cheat or not. Y counts as a vowel if it's used as a vowel, i.e., pronounced as, e.g., a short i or a long e. The y in Kelly is a vowel. The y in yellow is a consonant.


Nice job with Oconomowoc. Wish I'd though of it myself.
1.8.2007 7:42pm
I live close enough to Oconomowoc to know where it is, I should have thought of that! The sign language symbol for Oconomowoc is a combination of the sign for "5" and the sign for "o"
1.8.2007 8:01pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
Here are a few longer ones:
Kakamigahara, Japan (which should get extra points because Japan also alternates)
Zacatecolaca, El Salvador, both 12 letters.

If more than one word is allowed:
Basavana Bagevadi, India, 16 letters.
1.9.2007 12:35am
Patrick McKenzie (mail):
Kakamigahara, Japan (which should get extra points because Japan also alternates)

You can do better than Kakamigahara if you include the towns which were recently consolidated into its municipality.

Kakamigaharasoharakakizawa (28 letters) is the best I can do staring at the list. Their postal code is 504-0825.

I'd be remiss if I didn't say that some would consider both Kakamigahara and Kakamigaharasoharakakizawa cheating since they exclude some explanatory Japanese (Kakamigahara *City*, Soharakakizawa *Town*, -shi and -chou respectively). However, some Japanese people would read the name without them.

Sorry for indulging in Gifu Prefecture geographic trivia... I work for the prefectural government. Might tell the tourist board to list this as another reason for people to come visit Gifu :)
1.9.2007 1:42am

I didn't get a chance to do as much searching as I wanted but my best find was Colorado City Colorado. 12 + 8, but "city" is a bit of a cheat.
1.9.2007 3:35am