By any other name

Stop calling it the Czech Republic! It’s Czechia! Just like Slovakia.

Yeah, right. And Holland? Or Taiwan? Or Belarus?  And Cologne? Or Calcutta! Not to say Copenhagen.

I know we can’t say Ayer’s Rock any more but p-lease! Potayto, potahto, tomayto, tomahto – who cares? Unless you want to talk about scones.


Author: janus

I'm back......and front - in sunny Sussex-by-the-sea

9 thoughts on “By any other name”

  1. Half the fucking places in the world have changed names more often than most people have clean knickers!
    Who the hell can keep up with it? I own 13 atlases, from 1920 onwards through to the 90s, the only thing recognisable is the shape of the continents!!
    I ought to buy a new one but have given up as I no longer care. I don’t give a bugger what they call the places as long as the denizens therein stay exactly there within their borders and not on our patch.
    I’m waiting for the edition that renames a certain city as Londonistan.

    Definitely prefer scones, now shall we discuss buttermilk versus bicarb!

  2. Not at all boring, Janus.

    I can cope with “potato; potahto’, but not with the changes of place names.

    I can sort of accept that Ceylon wants to be known as Sri Lanka, and I can understand why Ayers Rock is now Uluru, but really why do we have to call Peking Beijing, or Bombay Mumbai. If it’s simply to please the natives – why don’t the Brits insist that London and Dover are called London and Dover all around the world?

    Come to think of it, I’m not too happy with name changes either. When I was taught history, the magnificent opponent of the Romans was called Boadicea – then along came a bunch of linguists and decided she was called Boudicca …

    There are times when things should be just left as they are.

  3. Boadicea: “Peking” was based on a French transcription of the name in the Nanking dialect. It wasn’t necessarily wrong and is certainly no more divergent than Cantonese or Fujianese pronunciations of the same characters! The change was merely the result of agreeing to bureaucratic pedantry.

    In Germany people give me strange looks for pronouncing London “Lun-den”, not “Lawn-dawn”. It’s really ghastly what these continental types do the English tongue, at least the Japanese have the excuse that they have no “L”, don’t use the Roman alphabet and thus cannot be expected to write it correctly.

  4. I imagine British visitors heard locals saying Mumbai as if it were ‘Burma’. Londinium or London never sounded like Londres! 😎

  5. Janus: I once met an Indian woman. When I asked her where she came from, she said: “Madras, but you may know it as Chennai”. Bombay, much like Ceylon and Canton, entered English through the approximation of the Portuguese approximation of the local name!

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