Thursday, October 12, 2006

What's in a name?

I started this blog because sometimes things annoy me to such an extent that I want to speak out. I tried doing this on various forums or "have your say" sites - but got fed up of having my posts censored by some over-sensitive moderator. Sometimes, as with the Windsor race clashes or the state of our armed forces, these things coincide with news items. More often they do not. This post does not.

Quite frankly, I am fed up to my back teeth of hearing about "Beijing" and "Mumbai". We're told that this is the correct pronunciation of these city names. Bollocks! They are Peking and Bombay - have been for donkeys years and should remain so. Maybe they are pronounced as "Bayzhing" and "Moombuy" in China and India, but that doesn't mean we have to start calling them that.

Or are we to start referring to the capital of France as Paree? Should the eternal city be known as Roma? Should we refer to the 1958 Munchen air disaster? Is Capetown to be referred to as Kaapstad? Of course not. Do we expect the French to stop calling our capital city "Laundra" and insist they pronounce it as London? No. And if we did they'd soon tell us where we could go (quite rightly).

I'm well aware that, in the case of Bombay there was an official name change in 1997, while Peking's name was changed as the way of translating Chinese was changed. So what? That's for linguists and academics to argue over. What we should not do, as British, is allow our culture to be perverted to suit the requirements of other cultures.

Bombay duck, anyone?

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