Translation: Geographical names: abuses.

TimeHP

Senior Member
Italian - Italy
Hi all.
Don't you think that western civilization shouldn't change the geographical names of places in the world?
Examples:
I don't understand why we call Mount Everest the mount Qomolonga, a name that in Tibetan language means something like Goddess Mother of the Earth.
And I think that before Cristoforo Colombo and Amerigo Vespucci, America had its name, that was that used from the first inhabitants...

Thank you:)
 
  • maxiogee

    Banned
    imithe
    TimeHP said:
    I don't understand why we call Mount Everest the mount Qomolonga, a name that in Tibetan language means something like Goddess Mother of the Earth.
    As the mountain is neither a goddess not the mother of the earth then that name is as erroneous as Mount Everest.

    Don't all languages mistreat geographical names?
    The Irish for England is Sasana, derived from the word "Saxon".
    And I note that you indicate that you are a native of "Italian - Italy". Shoudl that not be "Italiano - Italia"?

    As a native of a bi-lingual state I can tell you that whilst many placenames are transliterations here, there are some which don't bear any relation to their counterpart in the other language. The name of Dublin derives from the Irish for 'black pool' - 'dubh linn', but the Irish for Dublin is totally different - Baile Átha Cliath - 'the town of the ford of the wattles', after an old river crossing at the shallowest part of the River Liffey.
    Do we worry about that?
    Not a bit. Whoopeeee — we've got two names and most people only have one!
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    TimeHP said:
    Hi all.
    Don't you think that western civilization shouldn't change the geographical names of places in the world?
    Examples:
    I don't understand why we call Mount Everest the mount Qomolonga, a name that in Tibetan language means something like Goddess Mother of the Earth.
    And I think that before Cristoforo Colombo and Amerigo Vespucci, America had its name, that was that used from the first inhabitants...

    Thank you:)
    Why only western civilization?

    Every language has the "right" to use whatever words it desires for any concept, including geographical concepts.

    Italians have the right to call bread "pane", and the right to call Paris "Parigi", and the right to call the Hellenic Republic "Grecia"

    The Chinese have the right to call bread "mian bao", and the right to call Paris "Bali", and the right to call the Hellenic Republic "Xila".
     

    southerngal

    Senior Member
    American English
    panjabigator said:
    It's not really an issue with me. The only thing that gets my blood boiling is when Native Americans are called Indians...they have their own names.
    How did they get the name of Indians? They aren't from India!
     

    tafanari

    Senior Member
    English, Spanish, French, and Italian
    southerngal said:
    How did they get the name of Indians? They aren't from India!
    I think it's because the first Europeans who came to America were lost and the name stuck. The Indians that I know don't mind being called Indian at all even though the are Navajo and Apache. On the other hand, some people who are indeed from the Indian subcontinent and share a great deal, culturally, historically, and linguistically, with people from the Republic of India, get very insulted if you call them Indian. It's a matter of personal choice, I guess. And politics.

    I often refer to myself and my people as "Spanish" even though my parents are from the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Some people might think that's inaccurate but I don't care and neither does the guy in the restaurant across the street who sells "Spanish and American food". Like the translator in that movie with Jim Carey said: "That's how they know you."
     

    TimeHP

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    Every language has the "right" to use whatever words it desires for any concept, including geographical concepts
    Clear. You're talking about languages that have their own vocabulary and about exonym and endonym.
    But I was talking about Geographical renaming. Recently many colonial territories seek to come back to the original names. I've read that in India a lot of cities have been renamed recently. Reclaiming the ancient heritage is a cultural decision, I suppose.
     

    robbie_SWE

    Senior Member
    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    Have to agree with most posts here. It's up to every language to decide what name they want to give to geographical places. BUT there is one thing that really annoys me about geographical names in Italian (maybe it's off-topic, but I'll give it a go ;) )!!!

    It is VERY VERY wrong to have two different geographical places with the same name.

    Münich/München = Monaco
    Monaco = Monaco

    How do you differentiate between them?? "Partirò al Monaco" "Quale??" :D

    :) robbie
     

    TimeHP

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    It's up to every language to decide what name they want to give to geographical places
    I never said the opposite.
    But maybe I can't explain what I'd like to say. I'm giving up...:)

    How do you differentiate between them?? "Partirò per Monaco" "Quale??" :D
    We usually say: Monaco di Baviera e Principato di Monaco.

    Ciao
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    TimeHP I think I understand what you refer to.

    You don't mind if a name is changed in transliteration (e.g. Roma becoming Rome in English or Romi in Greek)
    You aparently don't mind if the name used for a geographical location is not the one the 'natives' use (or ever used in the past in some cases) (e.g. Dublin or Greece)

    What you are talking about, if I am not mistaken is when someon chooses to give a name to a geographical formation or location without any reference to the local vocabulary so to speak? I mean would it be ok if the West didn't call Mt Everest Qomolonga or Goddess-Mother of Earth and instead decided to call it a mangled version of a foothill of Qomolonga?

    Did I get it right?

    You are against arbitrary naming of locations/features previously named by some others without any reference to the language of the natives?
     

    tafanari

    Senior Member
    English, Spanish, French, and Italian
    panjabigator said:
    There is a place in Florida called Howey-in-the-Hills! Seriously...why? I think an indigenous name would be much more appropriate.
    More appropiate for whom?
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    imithe
    panjabigator said:
    There is a place in Florida called Howey-in-the-Hills! Seriously...why? I think an indigenous name would be much more appropriate.
    What is the etymology of the name? Could it be an interpretation of a indigenous name?
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    panjabigator said:
    It's not really an issue with me. The only thing that gets my blood boiling is when Native Americans are called Indians...they have their own names.
    This might interest you. Some few years ago Congress appropriated multi-millions of dollars to create a monumental museum in Washington DC, to honor "Native" peoples and educate the rest of us about them-- it was of course to be called the National Native-American Museum.

    Problem was, nobody asked the "Native-Americans" about it. Many of them started loudly objecting, and the opposition to the name finally got too overpowering for even Congress to ignore. A poll was taken, probably the first and only ever, to determine what American Blackfeet, Cherokee, Seminole, etc, etc people call themselves and would prefer to be called.

    This was a very widespread poll, and the results were surprising to many in Washington-- but not to those of us who live as neighbors with these people. By an overmajority of eighty percent, the respondants chose American Indian.

    Believe it or not, the Government did not ignore the facts that were staring them in the face-- and the place was named the Museum of the American Indian. All this can be researched, if you don't believe me-- Google will probably turn up enough evidence to convince almost anyone.

    You are right that "they" have their own names-- tribal names. When the need arises, I call the people I know Flatheads or Blackfeet or Crow or Northern Cheyenne-- but if I don't know the tribe, I call them Indians. I also call them my brothers, and I do so in face-to-face conversations-- the sort of thing few people in DC and other big eastern cities have probably ever done.

    Another poster (quite a ways back) thought we should call the American continent by the name the post-Ice-Age immigrants from north-central Asia called it. To my knowledge they didn't have a name for it, and I doubt if they thought of the world as divided up into continents.
    .
     

    Tsoman

    Banned
    English -- US
    foxfirebrand said:
    Another poster (quite a ways back) thought we should call the American continent by the name the post-Ice-Age immigrants from north-central Asia called it. To my knowledge they didn't have a name for it, and I doubt if they thought of the world as divided up into continents.
    .
    plus there must have been a hundreds languages on the continent at that time. What language should the name come from?
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Then there's always the case of France which we persist in calling Gallia (Γαλλία). It is after all closer to the name used for the people the various tribes that lived there belonged to (Celts) ;)

    How about Switzerland which we persistently call Helvetia? (Ελβετία).

    There's also Germany's case to consider too (Γερμανία in Greek) and all these countries are definitely more to the West than we are :)
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    ireney said:
    How about Switzerland which we persistently call Helvetia? (Ελβετία).
    That is the official name of the country, isn't it? Back in the pre-Euro days their coins were stamped CONFEDERATIO HELVETIA, or something very close to that. The domain you see in Swiss URLs is "ch."
    .
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Whoops! My bad there Fenixpollo! I forgot their official name actually derived from the Latin (as our version of it does). Thanks for the heads up :)
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi TimeHP, all,
    TimeHP said:
    Don't you think that western civilization shouldn't change the geographical names of places in the world?
    Examples: I don't understand why we call Mount Everest the mount Qomolonga, a name that in Tibetan language means something like Goddess Mother of the Earth. And I think that before Cristoforo Colombo and Amerigo Vespucci, America had its name, that was that used from the first inhabitants...
    Interesting post, but I think this would give some rather huge problems... :)

    An example:
    At the begining of last year there was a huge row among Iranians over the alleged abuse of a geographical name. The Washington Times managed to "re-name" the Persian Gulf into "Arabic Gulf" (it also got published on a map), which enraged quite a few Iranians.
    Tons of petitions, letters of complaint flooded many Iran and Persian related e-groups and message boards. The Arabic/Persian Gulf quarrel even made it onto Iranian tv.
    Seems that "Arabic Gulf" denoting the Persian Gulf is a fairly recent development, even though till the sixties 'Al-Khalij Al-Farsi' was used in Arabic literature, while Arabic Gulf (or Sea) was used to refer to the Red Sea, if I got it well.
    BTW, most sources (including the UN) stick to Persian Gulf)
    Quite a mess.

    But this brings me to my second example: the Mediterranian Sea. Which term would you consider to be abusive, and why?
    The Wikipedia article on the Mediterranian Sea mentions following names:
    In Latin 'Mare nostrum', 'mare internum'; in (Biblical) Hebrew 'Hinder Sea', 'The Sea', 'Western Sea', 'Sea of the Philistines', 'the Great Sea'; in Turkish 'The White Sea'; in Arabic 'the Middel White Sea'. I'll skip a few names from other languages and end with English 'The Med'. [I think we can agree upon the last one ;-)].

    But which name would you suggest in this particular case, without being "abusive" and why?
    And I think we can come up with many similar examples...

    Well, I don't, erm, see any abuse at all, but maybe that's because I live in a country where certain cities have up to three different names (as Luik, Liège, Lüttich) and where the French adaptation of the Dutch name comes closer to the original, older Dutch name, as in (Dutch) Brussel, (Fr.) Bruxelles (locally often pronounced as /bryksel/, and the oldest name(s) (Dutch) Bruocsella, Brucsella or Broekzele.

    Groetjes,

    Frank
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Well the Med is just short for Mediterranean which comes from the Latin name Mediterraneum mare(Mare Nostrum was by no means the 'official' name the Romans used) which in Greek is Mesogeios (Μεσόγειος). So, since two of the old civilisations of the region call it so, I don't think TimeHP would consider it abusive (if I have understood his logic well).

    I am not sure if I have understood exactly what TimeHP means mind you. I think I can safely say that he opposes the 'habit' of naming a geographical region/feature using a name completely unrelated to the one the locals use.

    I am not sure however how he feels about the 'habit' of using a wrong word (Britain, Grecia etc) that is not completely unrelated per se or a word which could be considered 'correct' in the past but no more (See my previous post [#20] about France).

    If I understood correctly he doesn't mind wrong transliterations (such as Beijing, becoming Pekino in Greek from the old English Peking ) although I am sure he seems to object to i.e. Belarus been called 'White Russia'.

    Mind you this is my personal take on TimeHP position from what I understand by his posts. I have asked him before to correct me if I am wrong in my assumptions so that we won't argue about something we all agree with and I am certain he will tell me (probably how wrong I am :D )

    My personal take by the way is: What's done is done. Changing some things is too much of a trouble unless of course the native people object strongly and with good reason (Belarus i.e.). I think we should be careful with the way we transcribe anything not transcribed up to now (I think we are) and change whatever there is good reason to change. I don't think there's any good reason to change the name of Mt. Everest though unless it is significant for the Tibetans for us to do so.

    If we start changing everything I think my parents are going to have a stroke by the way. They still try to re-learn the names of the new African countries or of those who gained their independence after the division of the USSR for one.
     

    tafanari

    Senior Member
    English, Spanish, French, and Italian
    ireney said:
    I am not sure if I have understood exactly what TimeHP means mind you. I think I can safely say that he opposes the 'habit' of naming a geographical region/feature using a name completely unrelated to the one the locals use.
    The question I'd like to ask is: Who are the locals?
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    ireney said:
    How about Switzerland which we persistently call Helvetia? (Ελβετία).

    :)
    Have you ever seen a Swiss postage stamp?

    The Swiss themselves write Helvetia on their stamps. It is the Latin name for the country.
     

    TimeHP

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    Did I get it right?
    Yes, you did! What a relief!
    What I ask is: why should colonizers have the right to change the original toponyms?

    Well, I don't, erm, see any abuse at all, but maybe that's because I live in a country where certain cities have up to three different names
    Maybe. Or Maybe because your country is not a colony of some powerful empire...;)

    The question I'd like to ask is: Who are the locals?
    Example:
    Zimbabwe was formerly known as southern Rhodesia, named from the English explorer who colonized it, Cecil Rhodes. Its present name, Zimbabwe, is the original one, in Bantu language of the indigenous people.
    Zimbabwe means 'sacred house', and I suppose for indigenous people is the best and perfect toponym.

    Ciao
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    Zimbabwe is not the "original" name.
    Zimbabwe/Rhodesia/Southern Rhodesia is a country created by European colonisers. It did not previously exist.

    The country Zimbabwe takes is name from Great Zimbabwe, the ruined remains of a city in the south-east of the country.
     

    TimeHP

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    Zimbabwe is not the "original" name.
    Zimbabwe/Rhodesia/Southern Rhodesia is a country created by European colonisers. It did not previously exist.

    The country Zimbabwe takes is name from Great Zimbabwe, the ruined remains of a city in the south-east of the country.
    The story of the country is too much complicated to write it here. But here is a link.
    http://www.africanet.com/africanet/country/zimbabwe/history.htm
    Anyway it was just an example. Just like that of Mount Everest.
    There a lot of places in the world where people are changing geographical names which were chosen and imposed by colonizers.

    Thank you.
    Ciao
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    TimeHP said:
    Hi all.
    Don't you think that western civilization shouldn't change the geographical names of places in the world?
    But we haven't done that in a while, now. We have been trying to behave. ;)

    TimeHP said:
    And I think that before Cristoforo Colombo and Amerigo Vespucci, America had its name, that was that used from the first inhabitants...
    I don't think so. What name would that have been?
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    maxiogee said:
    Fenixpollo????
    The fiery chicken hasn't posted in this thread.

    :eek: :eek: Whoops! again! Sorry foxfirebrand!! Thanks maxiogee :)

    (Let's see what I'm going to do next)

    Brioche thank you for pointing out a mistake Foxfirebrand (and NOT Fenixpollo) has already pointed out and I have acknowledged.
     

    fenixpollo

    moderator
    American English
    Here I am! :D
    ireney said:
    I am not sure if I have understood exactly what TimeHP means mind you. I think I can safely say that he opposes the 'habit' of naming a geographical region/feature using a name completely unrelated to the one the locals use.

    I am not sure however how he feels about the 'habit' of using a wrong word (Britain, Grecia etc) that is not completely unrelated per se or a word which could be considered 'correct' in the past but no more (See my previous post [#20] about France).

    If I understood correctly he doesn't mind wrong transliterations (such as Beijing, becoming Pekino in Greek from the old English Peking ) although I am sure he seems to object to i.e. Belarus been called 'White Russia'.
    Actually, "wrong transliterations" is an error that should be corrected for. It has, recently, as the English name for Bombay was changed to Mumbai. (I fail to see, however, how "Peking" is simply a bad transliteration of "Beijing"). London should be London no matter how far you get from it.

    English isn't the only language that should change! All languages have assigned some place names that are not related to the original. Wouldn't it improve cross-cultural communication if everyone called Germany by the name "Deutchland", for example?

    I agree that the politics of place names is difficult. Even inside the U.S., the current English names of some places are the third or fourth name that particular place has been given, by a series of invaders and groups intent on laying claim to the place (different tribes, the English, Spanish, French...).

    Not every place name should be changed, of course. And people shouldn't worry about bending over backwards to pronounce a place-name just as the locals pronounce it. If English-speakers pronounce "France" with a short "a" instead of a long "ah", we should be excused; and we should also be forgiven if we mangle the pronunciation of more complicated place names.

    Parangaricutirimícuaro, anyone? :D
     

    tafanari

    Senior Member
    English, Spanish, French, and Italian
    TimeHP said:
    Example:
    Zimbabwe was formerly known as southern Rhodesia, named from the English explorer who colonized it, Cecil Rhodes. Its present name, Zimbabwe, is the original one, in Bantu language of the indigenous people.
    Zimbabwe means 'sacred house', and I suppose for indigenous people is the best and perfect toponym.

    Ciao
    But the Bantu people are not originally from there either. They migrated there from somewhere else just like other ethnic groups who came to the area, including the British. What makes them local/indigenous? That they immigrated first? Is it a first come first served thing?

    This may seem like a silly argument but many countries all over the world have this problem. For example, in Algeria, there is was an Arabization programme after independence to make things more local but what about the Berber population? They're not Arabs. They were there before the Arabs invaded. Why force another foreign language on them? So they renamed Constantine and Oran and gave them Arabic names. But many of my Berber friends insist that Arabic is a language from Arabia and has nothing to do with their heritage.

    It kind of reminds me of some black nationalists who change their name from "Craig Wilson" to "Malik Abdul Sharif" under the impression that the former is a "slave name" or a "white name" and the latter an "African name."

    Well, it's not an African name. It's an Arabic name. And the Arabs had black slaves too. So I don't know what we would gain by changing names "back" to whatever sounds original because few things are.

    Is New Amsterdam the original name for New York? Well, yes and no. Before that, I guess Mana hata was controlled by the Lepe but were these the original inhabitants or did they buy the island for much cheaper than 24 dollars from somebody else?
     

    Fernando

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish
    You have my permission to call España, "Spain", "Spanien", "Espagne", "Espanha", "Al Andalus", "Spagna", the name given by those evil invaders, Romans and Arabs.
     

    french4beth

    Senior Member
    US-English
    A dear friend pointed out a sad but true point about American housing developments: once the species is wiped out, the street is named after it - usually, Elm Street has no elms on it, Quail Run has no quail, and on and on...
     

    optimistique

    Senior Member
    tafanari said:
    Is New Amsterdam the original name for New York?
    You mean 'Nieuw-Amsterdam'?;) With its Brede Weg (Broadway) and its Konijneneiland (Coney Island)?

    But I agree with you. If you go back far enough, no people live on the place it originally came from. (The Europians came from Russia/Africa/Asia, the Americans from Asia/Europe, Everybody from Africa?) So maybe only the Africans then?

    I understand you TimeHP, but I think it's simply something too complicated. The locals of now are very likely to be invaders too of the locals before them. Who knows if they have already 'abused' their geographical names?
     

    Girl Of Ipanema

    Member
    French living in Brazil
    And what about the "portuguezation" or "spanization" of towns ? Like the incredible "onquitongui" I saw once on a Portuguese newspaper about 15 years ago, which I had to read 5 times aloud to understand they were talking about "hong-kong" ? And "uaxinguetoni" that I saw w/ my own eyes here in Brazil, standing for "washington" (actually, this is the name of a person...they love to give names like Roosevelt, Marylin Monroe, etc...written in the most hidious ways !!????)
     

    tafanari

    Senior Member
    English, Spanish, French, and Italian
    optimistique said:
    You mean 'Nieuw-Amsterdam'?;) With its Brede Weg (Broadway) and its Konijneneiland (Coney Island)?
    Oops! But yeah. The housing projects I live is are called Breukelen Housing Projects which is named after the original Dutch name for the place where I live. I understand there is a town somewhere else with that name. There are reminders everywhere in NYC of our Dutch past and the flag of the city has orange in it because of the Dutch.

    optimistique said:
    I understand you TimeHP, but I think it's simply something too complicated. The locals of now are very likely to be invaders too of the locals before them. Who knows if they have already 'abused' their geographical names?
    In this case, the Bantu name is also "foreign." Zimbabwe comes from a ciy that was the capital of the Mwanamutapa Empire. But the Bantu have only been in the area for about a thousand years. Before that the Khosian people were there (now a minority in Zimbabwe). These "natives" are very different, culturally, lingustically, and genetically from the Africans that populate Zimbabwe today.


    The way I see it, the Shona people are no more native than anybody else.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    fenixpollo said:
    Here I am! :D Actually, (I fail to see, however, how "Peking" is simply a bad transliteration of "Beijing").

    It isn't. Peking comes from the southern Chinese pronunciation of "North Capital". Europeans make contact first in the south of China.

    How should we pronounce Hong Kong?
    Hong Kong is pretty close to the local pronunciation of "Fragrant Harbor", but in "North Capital" they say Xiang Gang. Which is correct? Should the Beijingers pronounce "Fragrant Harbor" in the Cantonese way?

    Wouldn't it improve cross-cultural communication if everyone called Germany by the name "Deutchland", for example?

    Well, some people cannot pronounce Doichlant as the Germans do.
    Using the Chinese as an example: the Chinese sound system makes it impossible. A Mandarin Chinese syllable can end only in a vowel, n or ng, and there is no /oi/ sound.
    Once the word has been passed though the Chinese sound system, it's extremely unlikely that Germans would recognise their country's name.
    Plus I'm sure that the Chinese will stick with De Guo as the country's name.
    And France will say Fa Guo, and Russia E Guo.


    And people shouldn't worry about bending over backwards to pronounce a place-name just as the locals pronounce it. If English-speakers pronounce "France" with a short "a" instead of a long "ah", we should be excused; and we should also be forgiven if we mangle the pronunciation of more complicated place names.

    It's neither a long a, nor short a, it's a nasal a.
    Unless the pronuciation is very, very close to the original language, there's really not much point in merely spelling it correctly.

    :D
     

    TimeHP

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    I tried to explain that I'm referring to those countries that have been recently colonized (I'm not speaking of roman and gallic invasions...).

    It seems the most of you think it's ineluctable that the names of geographical places undergo a change.
    And it's fatal that 'the last colonizer in town' decides to give the name of her wife to the nice river or that of his dog to the beautiful lake.
    You're probably right.

    But The United Nation have created a Group of Experts of Geographical names who have also the task of promoting names used by indigenous and
    minority groups, geographical names as cultural heritage, liaison
    with user groups and so on...

    Just to give you some other examples:
    1.
    The Republic of Korea has asked to the United Nations to notice the wrongfulness of the reference to the sea between Korea and Japan as 'Sea of Japan' and has asked to change the name in 'East Sea', declaring that 'Sea of Japan' has never been recognized at any international conference or by any international convention.
    2.
    Maybe you've heard about 'Indian renaming controversy'. I don't know a lot about it, but if I'm not wrong it's related to an effort for renaming towns and other geographical places to regional or pan-Indian names.

    Yes, they're just names.
    But a toponym is a piece of the culture of a country.
    Anf for people who were subjected and deprived of much, it can be much more that a simple word.

    Many thanks.
    Ciao
     

    fenixpollo

    moderator
    American English
    In this forum, I have occasionally I have argued in favor of changing place names to reflect more accurately the native language of the inhabitants of that place. I have been surprised that I am always an absolute minority. I always thought that language aficionados would be in favor of being correct.

    I see the names for places like Japan as incorrect. The Japanese don't call their country Japan; they call it something else. In order to be authentic, honest and respectful, we should use their name for their place, not our name for it.

    Of course it isn't cut and dried. Of course every situation is not black and white, but is charged with politics of race, ethnicity, culture, politics, etc... But where it's possible, on a case-by-case basis, changes should be made.

    As Time says above, there's no such thing as "just a name".
     

    french4beth

    Senior Member
    US-English
    fenixpollo said:
    In this forum, I have occasionally I have argued in favor of changing place names to reflect more accurately the native language of the inhabitants of that place. I have been surprised that I am always an absolute minority. I always thought that language aficionados would be in favor of being correct.

    I see the names for places like Japan as incorrect. The Japanese don't call their country Japan; they call it something else. In order to be authentic, honest and respectful, we should use their name for their place, not our name for it.

    Of course it isn't cut and dried. Of course every situation is not black and white, but is charged with politics of race, ethnicity, culture, politics, etc... But where it's possible, on a case-by-case basis, changes should be made.

    As Time says above, there's no such thing as "just a name".
    I agree, fenixpollo - and I couldn't have said it better!
     

    robbie_SWE

    Senior Member
    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    Sorry Fenixpollo, but I can't agree with you!

    I would never in my whole life be able to say this (it's a very big city located in Asia and it is visited by millions of tourists every year):

    Krung Thep Maha Nakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udom Ratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanu Kamprasit

    This is the name given by its natives. Go check it out! Can you guess what city this is??

    Respectfully,

    :) robbie
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    robbie_SWE said:
    Sorry Fenixpollo, but I can't agree with you!

    Krung Thep Maha Nakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udom Ratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanu Kamprasit

    This is the name given by its natives. Go check it out! Can you guess what city this is??

    Respectfully,

    :) robbie
    It's Bangkok, of course.
     

    french4beth

    Senior Member
    US-English
    From wikipedia:
    Bangkok, known in Thai as Krung Thep ... Bangkok began as a small trading center and port community, called Bang Makok ("place of olive plums")... Rama I built his palace on the east bank in 1782 and renamed his city Krung Thep, meaning the "City of Angels". The name Bangkok now refers only to an old district on the Thonburi side of the river, but continues to be used to refer to the entire city by most foreigners... as Krung Thep, or Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
    Bang Makok isn't that far off from the name Bangkok! ;)
    And from the same source - the meaning of the entire name:
    "
    The city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukam." Local school children are taught the full name, although few can explain its meaning because many of the words are archaic.
    If the natives can't even explain it...
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    imithe
    robbie_SWE said:
    But would you ever say its original name Brioche, instead of Bangkok??
    Do the locals?
    My wife is from close to Tubbercurry in Co. Sligo - it's only eleven letters long and yet it's known to most up there as Tubber, and that's probably only because there is a nearby town of Curry, or they'd have used it! ;)
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    maxiogee said:
    Do the locals?
    My wife is from close to Tubbercurry in Co. Sligo - it's only eleven letters long and yet it's known to most up there as Tubber, and that's probably only because there is a nearby town of Curry, or they'd have used it! ;)
    They can't spell, either. It's only 10 letters!

    The official spelling on maps is Tobercurry - probably to make it closer to the Gaelic name Tober an Choire = the well of the cauldron.
     
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