The most commonly misspelt (misspelled, if you like) countries in the world, according to a survey run by Lycos, are:

Israel: There are 669 million Google hits for websites with the name 'Israel', but another 3,850,000 websites feature 'Isreal'. This is in spite of the country's name being frequently uttered by commentators in the Middle East in a harsh, gutteral voice (Iz-rrrkkk-ell ), which sounds nothing like is-real). Invites unfunny puns about the Zionist state's right to exist.

Afghanistan: Google can find 367 million websites with the name 'Afghanistan' contained within, but another 19.5 million websites have the name missing the silent 'h'.

Czech Republic: 'Check Republic'. Does happen. As does 'Checkoslovakia'.

Venezuela: 389 million hits, but its spelling is not intuitive. One would think it should be spelt 'Venezualia' or 'Venezuayla', but instead the most common varient is 'Venezula' (133,000 hits). Never met anybody who calls Hughie's homeland Ve-ne-zoo-lah, though.

Chile: Chillie, Chilly, Chille, Cheli, Chilli, Chili, Chilie etc. etc.

Philippines: Oh boy. There are 353 million hits for the correct spelling, but for 5.1 million websites think it is the 'l' and not the 'p' that is doubled in the middle. A further 1.3 million websites use 'Philipines', 809 thousand have it as 'Phillippines'.

Jamaica: How it gets spelt as 'Jamacia' (245 thousand hits) beats me. 'Jamaica' gets 234 million hits. The 'i' is two rows up and four keys left of the 'c' on the keyboard, so it ain't no simple typo.

Australia: 1.38 billion websites use 'Australia', and 305 thousand use 'Austraila'. Forgiveable if you hear it in an Aussie drawl as Aus-trailee-ahhh.

Scotland: Named after the land of Scots by the Romans who called the Gaelic people 'Scoti'. It is not written with a double 't', as if it is named after a guy called Scott. The right way gets 358 million hits; the wrong way gets 5.5 million.

Vietnam: Google finds 372 million websites as 'Vietnam', but 137,000 websites lend themselves to an orthographic system that calls the country 'Veitnam'. Including a University of Wisconsin website ("a good source of educators and researchers")

Burma: 68 million right. 314,000 websites wrong. The good news is that we will not be seeing 'Berma' for too much longer. The bad news is the politically correct alternative being rolled out, Myanmar, is even harder to spell.

And let us not forget that Cardiff isn't in Whales, Athens isn't in Grease and Budapest isn't in Hungry.


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