Something I was thinking of, possibly prompted by a throwaway comment
in the (extremely brief) section on Romansh in Lonely Planet's guide
to Switzerland: "The main street in villages is usally called Via
That's true for eastern Graubünden, but in the centre, I've seen
Via/Veia/Voia/Voa Principala, along with the occasional Stradung ("big
road"), Mezvei ("middle of the village"? often part of a triplet
Dinvei-Mezvei-Sumvei), Veia Granda, or Via/Voa Nova. Via Principala
also seems to be in use in the west of the canton, along with Vitg
("village") in smaller places, and I've seen Via Prinzipala in the
So the popular names seem to be "master road" and "principal road".
As for natlangs, in German it'd probably be "Hauptstraße"
(etymologically, "head road", though "Haupt-" is better translated as
"main" in compounds, I'd say), with popular additional roads being
"Schulstraße, Kirchstraße, Poststraße, Bahnhofstraße" indicating roads
that contain (or, at least, did at one point...) the school, the
church, the post office, and the railway station, respectively.
In Britain, the quintessential main road is the High Street; I imagine
that in the US, it's Main Street.
What's it like in your concultures?
Something utilitarian like "Main/Principal Street"? Something less
transparent like "High Street"? Or do they all name their main streets
after the national hero, perhaps, so the main thoroughfare is "John
Also, do you have roads whose names indicate their status ("Cantonal
Road" is popular in parts of Switzerland for the main road where it's
one for which the canton is responsible for maintenance, and many
German places have a road called simply "Bundesstraße", i.e. "Federal
Road", for similar reasons)? Or their destination ("Othercity Road"
for the main road from here to Othercity - with the road then possibly
being called "Firstcity Road" once you're in Othercity itself)? Any
other common themes?
For that matter - do you even name your roads? Or do you instead name
(or number) blocks, like in Japan? Or use some even more unusual
system of addresses? (Perhaps geographical coordinates in Northings
and Eastings for each residence, completely independent of roads or
Philip Newton <[log in to unmask]>