The name 'Vientiane' comes from Pali, which is the sacred language of Theravada Buddhism. 'Vientiane' is the French version of the Lao name, Viang Chan. Viang means city (originally meaning walled settlement), and 'chan' has multiple meanings, but most people think it means 'sandalwood', but others think it means 'moon', because the Lao word for 'moon' comes from the Sanskrit candra, and 'sandalwood' comes from Sanskrit candana. Both are spelt and pronounced chan. Some maps call Vientiane Viangchan, or sometimes Wiangchan.