Re: Burma/Myanmar

From: Jeroen Hellingman (
Date: Thu Oct 07 1999 - 13:05:28 EDT

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Everson <>
To: Unicode List <>
Date: Thursday, October 07, 1999 14:24
Subject: Re: Burma/Myanmar

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
>>"Roma", Germany "Deutschland", India "Bharat" or Bhutan "Drukyul" - so
>>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?

The change from Bombay to Mumbai has nothing to do with British
officials having it wrong. Bombay is Bambai in Hindi, and Mumbai in
Gujarati and Marathi -- the latter two languages are much more common
in Bombay than the former, so it just a change to the local language, and
effected by local political interests, just as the name change in Madras
("Chennai") -- and we can expect New Delhi ("Indraprasthu" ?),
Calcutta ("Kalikata" ?) and many others to follow, especially names that
hint to the Muslim domination, like Ahmedabad, Ahmednagar, or Allahabad
-- just as hardly a road in India still officially carries the name
knows it by.

In Kerala, almost all names have changed to more rational transliterations
of their Malayalam names, because the English translations have been
quite horrible -- they will look as name changes to us.

Trivandrum Tiruvananthapuram
Quilon Kollam
Calicut Kozhikode
Alwaye Aluva


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