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World Largest One Syllable Cities


Name the 100 largest world cities of one syllable. Population and country shown.

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1 year ago

Thanks for the update Darin. Since Gdansk and Pskov are in the quiz I think I should leave a comment explaining why I think these qualify as one-syllable words, while certain other cities (particularly Czech ones) don’t.

A syllable requires a ‘nucleus’, which in English is usually a vowel. But in Slavic languages, this can be a ‘r’ or ‘l’ sound – these are ‘syllabic consonants’. This means cities like Plzen and Brno, in Czechia, actually have two syllables (i.e. br-no). However, to my knowledge Gdansk and Pskov are counted as single-syllable, and ‘gd’ or ‘psk’ are merely consonant clusters that constitute the ‘onset’ of a syllable. Maybe someone who knows better than me could tell me if I’m wrong, but this is my understanding of why these two cities should be in this quiz, while Brno and Plzen shouldn’t.

As an aside, several other suggestions for answers:
– Seeb, the largest city in Oman
– Mau, Uttar Pradesh, India
– Lae, PNG
– Sarh, Chad
– Stoke, England
– Cluj, Romania
– Balti, Moldova, and Iasi, Romania. In the Romanian language, ‘i’ at the end of a word indicates the palatalisation of the preceding consonant, rather than a vowel sound. Wikipedia gives the pronunciation of Balti as [ˈbəltsʲ], and Iasi as [ˈjaʃʲ] – a single syllable each.
– George, South Africa hasn’t been added – Wikipedia says it has 157k people, which should be enough?

1 year ago

Hi Darin,

I think the following should be removed:
– Ya’an and Da’an in China are pronounced as two syllables each (as indicated by the apostrophes, compare with Xi’an for example)
– Yao in Japan (pronounced ya-o)
– Rize in Turkey (ri-ze)
– Kayes in Mali (ka-yes)
– Agreed with @Lukasvds above, Elche in Spain should be removed if you want to use the Spanish spelling. In Spanish it’s two syllables. If it’s to be included, then the displayed spelling should be the Valencian spelling, ‘Elx’. Currently Elx isn’t even accepted as an answer.

I think these should be added (and have a high enough population to be on the quiz):
– Hue in Vietnam is pronounced ‘hway’
– Bryansk in Russia (the ‘ya’ is a single iotated vowel)
– George in South Africa
– Please accept the spelling ‘Beed’ for Bid (India)
– Hull in England (debatable, but it’s almost never referred to by its full name)
– I think Pskov (Russia) and Gdansk (Poland) technically count as a single syllable, but that’s up to you
– Liege (Belgium) and Lyon (French) both have one syllable in French but two in English so that’s up to you too

Thanks! I’ll make another comment if I think of any others

1 year ago
Reply to  revelnyet

Minor correction – Kayes is pronounced ka-yi, the same pronunciation as the Bambara name, still two syllables though

1 year ago

#6 I’d argue is 2 syllables, as reflected in the alternative English spelling “Thana”.
#2 I was going to say would also be 2 syllables, but apparently in US English it can be one, so I guess it gets a pass…

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