Re: Burma/Myanmar

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Thu Oct 07 1999 - 08:08:29 EDT

Ar 17:23 -0700 1999-10-05, scríobh Christopher John Fynn:

>I've never quite understood why people these days seem to feel a need to
>change the *English* name of a country or place whenever the powers that
>be in that place decide to change it. In English we don't usually call Rome
>"Roma", Germany "Deutschland", India "Bharat" or Bhutan "Drukyul" - so when
>speaking or writing English why call Burma "Myanmar", Peking "Beijing" or
>Bombay "Mumbai"?.

For the last two, I think there's nothing wrong with us updating to more
correct pronunciations than those cogged together by civil servants of the
British Empire. Pinyin is _convenient_, and why not use it for all
placenames in China?

As for the Myanmars, well, a government informs the UN of its name, and the
UN informs the registration authority for ISO 3166.

Many people don't use the terms countries prefer, even so. How many of you
think that the country whose capital is Dublin is called "The Republic of
Ireland"? Well, it isn't. It's called "Ireland". And it's not called
"Southern Ireland" either. (The Republic of Ireland is a football team.)

>Is it just a coincidence that all the governments who have
>insisted on these particular changes do not exactly uphold liberal democracy
>and the human rights of the people they rule?

I'm sure it is.

Michael Everson * Everson Gunn Teoranta *
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire/Ireland
Guthán: +353 1 478 2597 ** Facsa: +353 1 478 2597 (by arrangement)
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn;  Baile an Bhóthair;  Co. Átha Cliath; Éire

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