Re: Burma/Myanmar

From: John Jenkins (
Date: Fri Oct 08 1999 - 06:42:38 EDT

Michael Everson <> writes:

> 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?

Well, I for one am glad that nobody's trying to foist "Xianggang" off on the

"Peking" is a name whose use in the West dates back long before the British
had any significant influence in China. What I have been taught is that it
originates with the Jesuits. Switching to "Beijing" because it's closer to
the modern spelling of the modern pronunciation is a bit silly IMHO; why,
then, don't we switch to Zhongguo instead of "China" itself?

John H. Jenkins

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