Tongue twisting names: 9 places you might be pronouncing wrongly

Czechia, the new name for the Czech Republic, is written on a school blackboard in Prague.
Czechia, the new name for the Czech Republic, is written on a school blackboard in Prague.PHOTO: EPA

The Czech Republic's leaders decided on Thursday (April 14) to pick Czechia as the one-word alternative name of their country. It will be officially recognised by companies, politicians and sportsmen.

Czechia may not be easy to pronounce, with some calling the name "ugly", according to Reuters.

We look at nine places, cities and countries included, whose name you might have been mispronouncing all this time.

1. Czechia

Czechia was first used in 1634, in Latin, to refer to the country. It is the one-word name for the Czech Republic, which includes Bohemia, Moravia and (Czech) Silesia.

Czechia (tʃɛki.ə) is pronounced like this.

This is not the first name change for the Czech Republic.

It was formally part of Czechoslovakia under the Soviet Union.

Czechoslovakia then split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic on Jan 1, 1993. This was because the Soviet Union had collapsed in 1991.

2. Central Asia countries

Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan are found in Central Asia. They all have the suffix- istan, which means land in Persian. The prefix refers to the dominant ethnic group in the country.

They were all part of the Soviet Union.

Here is a pronunciation guide for each country.

Kyrgyzstan (kɜːrɡɪˈstɑːn) is pronounced like this.

This is how you pronounce Uzbekistan (ʊz.bɛk.ɪ.ˈstɑːn).

Click on the links for Turkmenistan (tɜːrkmɛnᵻˈstɑːn), Tajikistan (təˈdʒiːkᵻstæn) and Kazakhstan (kæzækˈstɑːn) to learn how they are pronounced.

3. Guinea-Bissau

A country in West Africa, Guinea-Bissau was a Portuguese colony until 1974. European traders in the 18th century referred to coastal regions along West Africa as Guinea.

Bissau is the name of the country's capital.

This is how Guinea-Bissau (gɪni bɪˈsaʊ) is pronounced.

4. Liechtenstein

Sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria, Liechtenstein is dwarfed by its neighbours in size.

The country gets its name from the ruling dynasty, the princely house of Liechtenstein. The first member of this house, Hugo von Liechtenstein named his line after the Liechtenstein castle that he built in 1130 in Austria.

The name Liechtenstein is German, with "licht" meaning light and "stein" meaning stone.

Liechtenstein (lɪktənstaɪn) is pronounced LIK-tin-styn or click here to listen to its pronunciation.

5. Reykjavik, Iceland

The capital of Iceland, Reykjavik is derived from the Icelandic word "reykja", which means smoky. This is a reference to the many hot springs in the city.

The name Reykjavik (reɪkjəˌviːk) is pronounced like this.

6. Versailles , France

The Treaty of Versailles, signed on June 28, 1919, marked the official end of World War I between Germany and the Allied forces.

Versailles comes from the word "versail", which means "ploughed land" in Old French. This is possibly a reference to France's agrarian history in the 13th century.

Versailles (vɛərˈsaɪ) is pronounced this way.

7. Worcestershire, Britain

Worcestershire's name has three parts to it. "Wor" , according to the Shakespeare Name Dictionary, refers to the Weogoran, a Celtic tribe that lived there, in 500 BC.

The Celtic people were then replaced by the Romans,who conquered Britain in AD43.

"Chester", the second part of the name, is the Roman word for camp.

After Roman Britain collapsed, the Anglo-Saxons, a Germanic tribe, took over Britain in the 5th century. They spoke Old English.

Shire is derived from the Old English word "scir", which means county, according to the Oxford dictionary.

This is how you pronounce Worcestershire (wʊstəʃə).

8. Thiruvananthapuram, India

The name means "the town of Lord Ananta", in Malayalam. Ananta is the holy snake on which Vishnu, the preserver of the universe in Hinduism, reclines.

This is how you pronounce Thiruvananthapuram (t̪iruʋənən̪t̪əpurəm).

9. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch, Wales

This is the longest city name in Europe.

The name means "St Mary's Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St Tysilio of the red cave", in Welsh.

Llanfair refers to St Mary's Church, Pwll means "hollow", Gwyn means "white", gyll means "hazel", ger means "nearby", chwyrn means "rapid", drobwyll means "whirpool", llantysilio refers to the Church of St Tysilio , ogo means "cave" and goch means "red".

This is how you pronounce it (ɬanˌvair puɬˈɡwɨ̞nɡɨ̞ɬ).

Source: Go Czechia, The Guardian, World Atlas, The Princely House of Liechtenstein, Oxford Dictionary, History.com, Shakespeare Name Dictionary, Thiruvananthapuram.Net, BBC News