Talk:English exonyms

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Israel/Holy Land/Palestine[edit]

Shall we add a section on Israel? It may get too long, as there are hundreds of English biblical exonyms... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Vicky Ng (talkcontribs) 03:15, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

This information is already on Wikipedia--search for a list of Biblical placenames...we could then provide it as a link within this article. However, for important localities that are currently inhabited, we might want to add them to this article...--达伟 (talk) 13:01, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Why are places like Arad, Tel Aviv, etc, added? How would one EXPECT to see these placenames transliterated? --Wiking (talk) 19:01, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

Exonym names[edit]

Where do we added exonym names? Especially medieval kings have different names in different languages. For instance Karl=Chales, Knud=Canute, Svend=Sweyn

Foreign language versions of names are not exonyms as such. Other (language) versions of these names are usually added on the individual pages, e.g. Knut.Travelbird 15:05, 24 January 2007 (UTC)


Are English names for places in England, Wales and Ireland really exonyms given the fact that the majority population of the three countries speak English as a native language ? Travelbird 14:44, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

No they most definitely are not. The details of where such place names differ can be the subject of separate articles, but they are demonstrably not names that local inhabitants don't use. To suggest otherwise is pure nationalism. Owain (talk) 19:55, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
As you quoted from the less than perfect article exonym, "An exonym is a name for a place that is not used within that place by the local inhabitants (neither in the official language of the state nor in local languages)." I'm not sure I'd accept the description of Welsh as a "local language", other than in the purely geographical sense, but this actually backs the case for including these English exonyms for Welsh places: these names are not used by speakers of Welsh, the native language of Wales. Whether you like it or not, they all derive from English corruptions of Welsh names or were invented. Some of the ones included are no longer used officially either, e.g. Cardiganshire, Ca[e]rnarvon, so they are "not used in the official language of the state" and rarely used by monoglot English-speaking Welsh people. Historically they are not native Welsh names; they came from outside and so are "exonyms". "To suggest otherwise is pure nationalism," you say. Well, some would be inclined to see your unconstructive and undiscussed edits here (and elsewhere) as "pure Unionism" (read: "British nationalism"). Enaidmawr (talk) 21:41, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't feel that this discussion benefits by either side imputing motives to the other. Moving on... In those areas of Wales where the majority speak Welsh - Ynys Mon, Gwynedd, Ceredigion, Caerfyrddin [1] - I think there is a case for the English names to be included as exonyms. That would include places such as Holyhead, Anglesey, Snowdon and perhaps Carmarthen. Elsewhere I think Owain's point is valid - the majority local language is English, and, although there are different Welsh names, these do not count as exonyms according to the dictionary definition. In some cases, incidentally, the English names predated the Welsh names - for example Chepstow, Newport, Montgomery. Ghmyrtle (talk) 22:08, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Although I do understand the argument made by Ghmyrtle, I am not convinced that it takes proper regard to the way minority languages (and Welsh is one such taken across Wales as a whole) are used, especially in the media. Nor do I believe that making fine distinctions in order to either include or exclude items from a list is necessarily the best solution for Wikipedia. To take an example; the news on S4C will refer to Yr Wyddgrug and not to Mold and almost everyone living in Mold will call it Mold which might seem to make it a Welsh exonym. However, all Welsh speakers throughout Wales would call it Yr Wyddgrug even though the local themselves would not. This would seem to provide a strong justification for classifying it as an English exonym. This same argument would apply to many Welsh places in the South of Wales, along the eastern margins and in southern Pembrokeshire where Welsh is infrequent of absent as a spoken language. To remove these words from the list of English exonyms makes this dichotomy of nomenclature invisible to the interested user of Wikipedia and, if editors are so concerned with the minutiae of the definition that they would wish to exclude words, then I would recommend instead the provision of a sentence of clarification at the start of the Welsh list rather than wholesale exclusion. And as a footnote to the previous comment, it is also worth noting the strong Welsh speaking populations of Anglesey, Carmarthenshire, Conwy, parts of West Swansea, and Powys Velela (talk) 23:53, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Your Mold example makes Yr Wyddgrug a Welsh exonym, but that doesn't make Mold an English exonym does it? The list is supposed to be a list of names in the English language that aren't used by locals in the places in question. By that definition, none of the English-language names for places in Wales are exonyms unless 0% of the local population speak English (which occurs nowhere). Owain (talk) 14:36, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
In which case you had better remove the Indian section as well as English is an official language there and it can not be said of any of the places listed that "0% of the local population speak English". And Mold is clearly an English exonym in Wales, however much you may try to twist the facts. Enaidmawr (talk) 18:34, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Rather than continuing to argue over the precise definition of the term, could this dispute be resolved by adding a sentence at the start of the Wales list, along the lines of:

NOTE: English is the most frequently spoken language in some of the locations listed below.

...? Ghmyrtle (talk) 14:48, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
That proposition has my support. Velela (talk) 14:56, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Support. Perhaps add "in others Welsh is predominant"? Enaidmawr (talk) 18:34, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes check.svgY Done. Ghmyrtle (talk) 19:47, 24 February 2009 (UTC)


Ukrainian names, originally spelled the Russian way (e.g. Kharkov, Russian: Харьков) undergo renaming in English (Kharkiv, Ukrainian: Харкiв). Russian language is very popular in Ukraine but the official language is Ukrainian only (as of today). Please make suggestions whether there is a need for a list of Ukrainian cities renamed following derussification.--Atitarev (talk) 23:43, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

linking, format of list[edit]

Suggesting rather something like:


As the English exonyms are likely to be the English WP page names, less likely to require fixing or redirecting, likely to be what an English WP user is searching for in the first place, etc. — RVJ (talk) 10:36, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree; on the English language WP the page should be at the English name, (WP:NC(use english)) and the non-english term should be in italics (WP:MOS foreign terms).
So are there any objections to us doing this? Moonraker12 (talk) 12:53, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
OK, made a start. (talk) 00:05, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
PS: Oops, forgot to log in. Moonraker12 (talk) 00:41, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Done (finally!) Moonraker12 (talk) 00:03, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Variant romanizations?[edit]

Several of the entries under Zhongguo/PRC are not strictly-speaking "English exonyms" so much as they are the Chinese names for the cities (etc) in a pre-pinyin romanization system. Since the romanization system was developed by non-Chinese (as opposed to currently-standard Hanyu Pinyin) I guess in one way they are "exonyms", but if we carry that logic to its extreme, then every name from a country where roman is not the standard script and the most common romanization standard was not developed by people of that country qualifies as an "exonym".

While I am sure the same is true of Iran, India, etc., an example from Japan would be appropriate:
(i)every city in Japan is conventionally referred to in English by a romanized version of their Japanese name;
(ii)the system used was not developed by the Japanese themselves;
(iii)the Japanese already have their own romanization standard;
(iv)the indigenous Japanese spelling is effectively the same as the foreign one for most words;
(v)however, if the same standard that is applied to Japan as to China, numerous place-names used in English to describe Japan would have to be classified as exonyms;
(vi)these include "Fukuoka" (Hukuoka), "Shizuoka" (Sizuoka), "Hiroshima" (Hirosima), "Aichi" (Aiti) and "Fukushima" (Hukusima).
(vii)The list, however, only gives ONE English place-name for Japan as an exonym -- "Japan" itself!

Of course, the above scenario is ridiculous, and the Japanese themselves in fact use both romanization systems in practice. However, it is all irrelevant, since both romanization systems are just ways of representing the native Japanese names in the roman alphabet. The same appears to be true for several items currently included in the list, including "Tientsin" and "Tsingtao". I don't know enough about Chinese romanization systems to be sure how many of them should be removed under my proposal, so I won't implement it myself, but it's something to think about.

elvenscout742 (talk) 06:22, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Also, the PRC and the ROC both use different romanization systems officially, so that all spellings in Pinyin and Wade-Giles are officially recognized by some Chinese government. elvenscout742 (talk) 06:25, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Hi, that's a fair point, however in terms of utility it's still worth noting old romanizations which have "stuck" as if exonyms, the text can be expanded to make the point. This is after all supposed to be a sourced article (hence the more explanatory copy the better) not just "List of...". I might play a bit with the edits you just made, but feel free to play with them again yourself. Thanks In ictu oculi (talk) 07:01, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
That's a good point. I actually didn't notice that this wasn't supposed to be a list, which is why I thought that entries like the Chinese ones I mentioned should be deleted as misleading. Your edits to Korea are good. I also like that you didn't reinstate "Sŏul" as the former "exonym" for "Seoul". As far as I know, that spelling was never widely-used in English, nor was the un-breved spelling "Soul", even before Revised Romanization was developed (although I might be proven wrong). elvenscout742 (talk) 07:37, 30 November 2012 (UTC)


User:Wiking removed "Herzegovina" from the list of exonyms. When I reinserted it, Wiking removed it again, with the explanation "because it is transliterated into English and a different name is not being used, see intro". However, it's not a simple transliteration. Most Bosnians use a Latin-derived alphabet, where "Hercegovina" is the native form. "Herzegovina" is a different form used in English, thus is an exonym. How is this different from "Ghent" vs. "Gent", or "Hanover" vs. "Hannover"? It's a different spelling. Please explain why "Herzegovina" should not be readded to the list. Dohn joe (talk) 18:35, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

  • This list would be endless then if we listed all toponyms in Polish, Czech, Slovak, Slovenian, Croatian, etc, which are spelled phonetically in English but do not use the same Latin alphabet characters for the same sound. Herzegovina is the English spelling for Hercegovina, not an alternative name for this territory used by native English speakers. Writing "Hercegovina" in English is hardly an option. This is unlike the two examples you brought up, which could be spelled in English the same way as they are locally, but for historical reasons are not. --Wiking (talk) 20:13, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
    What is "Ghent" if not a phonetic spelling of "Gent"? In English, "Gent" is pronounced "Jent", which means that it could not be spelled that way. And if you don't like that example, what about Dunkirk, Normandy, Latvia, Slovenia, Aragon? These are all phonetic spellings of placenames that do not use the same Latin alphabet characters, or differ only in use of diacritics. I still don't see what distinguishes Herzegovina from these placenames. Dohn joe (talk) 21:38, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
    There is no need to spell Gent as Ghent for the sake of phonetic transcription; compare to Gettysburg and many similar examples. It is, as I wrote, historical English spelling. So is Dunkirk, as there is no need to alter the French spelling, but traditionally, it is written differently in English. As for the rest of your examples, I believe they should be removed from the list, as they are not true exonyms. --Wiking (talk) 22:34, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
    It seems you may have a different interpretation of what constitutes an exonym from the editors who have contributed to the list. Why don't you go through and make a list of places you would remove, and then propose the removals here. Otherwise, it's inconsistently singling out Herzegovina. In the meantime, we can re-add Herzegovina to the list. Does that seem reasonable? Dohn joe (talk) 23:05, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
    I believe I know very well what constitutes an exonym. I see that I have not edited this article, but I have contributed to Russian exonyms over the years. It is very clear that Herzegovina does not belong on the list, while Ghent and Dunkirk do. As far as Normandy, Latvia, Slovenia and Aragon, I would rather wait for more editors to comment before removing them, as there is some doubt. Specifically, perhaps standard transliteration of Latvija and Slovenija would be Latviya and Sloveniya, and therefore, Latvia and Slovenia can pass for exonyms (again, in my opinion, they cannot, but at least this argument can be made). I believe that an imaginary French province of Chnormandie would be Shnormandy in English (and not an exonym, but rather a standard transformation), and so Normandy is not an exonym, but again, an argument can be made that it is similar to Dunkirk. Finally, the intro specifically states that the omission of diacritical marks usually does not turn an endonym into an exonym and gives and example of São Paulo. I don't see what makes Aragon different (I do realize that it is pronounced differently in English than in Spanish, but same is true for Sao Paulo), and will remove it as well unless someone enlightens us in the next couple of days. --Wiking (talk) 01:43, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────If I might chip in:
In the first place, the logic of the WP:BRD process is that when you (Wiking) make a bold edit that is reverted the next step is to discuss the matter until it's resolved, not make a statement of your position and replace the bold edit. So I think this needs reverting; I suggest either you self-revert or a third party should do so.
On the substantive issue the definition in the introduction suggests only "a minimum degree of difference" is required, ie merely more than "a simple transliteration of a different script" and more than a simple "omission of diacritical marks" (though there are exceptions even to this). So I don't see how "Herzogovina" fails as an exonym; the Croatian letter "c" and the Cyrillic letter "ц" (usually rendered "ts" or "c" in English) are rendered "z" here: more than a "simple transliteration", then. And there are plenty of other examples here of words using an alphabet with different values being exonyms in English (the Welsh section here, for example).
I'm also unclear about your argument that "Herzogovina" is just the English spelling for the place; surely that is part of the definition of an exonym, isn't it? There's no stipulation there that they must be alternative names, or to exclude names that "could be spelled... the same way as locally, but... are not". I think if you wish to re-negotiate that definition, and therefore the parameters of this article, then I suggest opening a discussion on the matter.
As for "if we listed all toponyms in Polish, Czech, Slovak, etc" that qualify as exonyms "the list would be endless": this page states that it is is "a non-exhaustive summary list". We already have breakout pages on exonyms for German, French and Italian toponyms; if the list of exonyms from Polish, Czech or Slovak etc gets too long we can always do the same with them. But using the lack of entries as an argument against inclusion is disingenuous. Moonraker12 (talk) 21:15, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Hi Wiking,
(1) English "Herzegovina" is clearly based on German "Herzegowina", and is an exonym. It belongs in the list.
(2) Re "if we listed all toponyms in Polish, Czech, Slovak, etc" that qualify as exonyms "the list would be endless": No it wouldn't. This already lists almost every exonym-toponym covered in the United Nations Manual for the National Standardization of Geographical Names 2006, and Jordan, Adamič, and Woodman Exonyms and the International Standardisation Of Geographical Names 2007.
In ictu oculi (talk) 00:27, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
I suggested before that the latest revert should be undone, per WP:BRD. It wasn’t, so I’ve done so as a third party to the original spat.
The page is now at the status quo ante, which is where it should be until the discussion is concluded. If the consensus then is to restore the original bold edit, that will be fine: otherwise it should stay as it is. Moonraker12 (talk) 13:26, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
  • How is Herzegowina a German exonym for Herzegovina? This does not follow from any definition of exonym. There is a section on Orthographic exonymy in languages with phonetic spelling, but from the introduction to this list it does not follow that such orthographic exonyms are to be included, and indeed, general practice is not to include them. Neither are they included in other similar lists, such as Russian exonyms. --Wiking (talk) 17:27, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
I think the point being made is that the English and the Croatian name are both derived from a German word, and as they both use a different spelling to the original, they both qualify as exonyms of a German toponym.
I'm not clear what you are suggesting with the link to the Orthographic exonymy section. It refers to languages where the use of “seeming” exonyms in terms of spelling is the norm; and cites those nations “ preference for their own consistent spelling”; again, the situation in English and the definition of an exonym, I would have thought. Moonraker12 (talk) 13:04, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

colonial Africa[edit]

where are these?--Kintetsubuffalo (talk) 12:17, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Removal of content[edit]

Dohn joe I've reverted this series of edits as you simply appear to be removing statements from the article which are correct and helpful to readers. In ictu oculi (talk) 02:54, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

As the edit summary indicated, I removed unreferenced annotations. "English uses German spelling", on its own, is WP:Original research without a reference. "Obsolete" or "old-fashioned" may violate WP:NPOV without a reference saying so. Annotations are only helpful if they are WP:Verified. Instead of flat-out deletion, I'll bring them here to the talk page. If any of the annotations can be referenced, we can add them back to the article. Dohn joe (talk) 03:53, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

List of unreferenced annotations[edit]

These are the items I removed from the list as being unreferenced annotations; in other words, WP:Original research. If there are references for these statements, feel free to reinsert them into the article.

  • Drau : river Drava, English uses the Slovenian/Croatian name
  • Brugge/Bruges : Bruges (English still uses French name, though in Dutch-speaking area)
  • Ieper/Ypres/Wipers : Ypres (English still uses French name, though in Dutch-speaking area)
  • Kortrijk/Courtrai : Courtrai (old - English used to use French name, though in Dutch-speaking area)
  • Leuven/Louvain : Louvain (old - English used to use French name, though in Dutch-speaking area)
  • Mandarin Aomen / Cantonese Ou mun : Macau (matches Portuguese), historically also Macao
  • Taiwan : now historically Formosa (matches historically Portuguese)
  • České Budějovice : Budweis (German name no longer used in English)
  • Františkovy Lázně : Franzensbad (German name no longer used in English)
  • Karlovy Vary : Carlsbad (German name no longer used in English)
  • Labe : Elbe, English uses the German name
  • Mariánské Lázně : Marienbad (German name no longer used in English)
  • Odra : Oder, English uses the German name
  • Plzeň : Pilsen (German name no longer used in English)
  • Sudety : Sudetenland (German name, historical entity)
  • Firenze : Florence, English uses the French name
  • Gianicolo : Janiculum, English uses the Latin name
  • Lazio : Latium (old-fashioned)
  • Livorno : Leghorn (old-fashioned)
  • Marche : The Marches (old-fashioned)
  • Monferrato : Montferrat, English uses the French name
  • Siena : Sienna (old-fashioned)
  • Trento : Trent (old-fashioned)
  • Tirolo : Tirol, English uses local German name
  • Busan : formerly spelled Pusan under older romanization system
  • Rīga : Riga, per Russian, with removal of Latvian alphabet long ī.
  • Zemgale : Semigallia (old-fashioned)
  • Suvalkija : Sudovia (old-fashioned)
  • Brielle (also: Den Briel): Brill (old-fashioned)
  • Leiden : Leyden (old-fashioned)
  • Vlissingen : old name Flushing, Netherlands (old-fashioned)
  • Odra : Oder, English uses the German name
  • Porto : Oporto (old fashioned)
  • Aragón : Aragon in historical context, also Aragón referring to modern Spain
  • Córdoba : Cordova (obsolete)
  • Galician: A Coruña / Spanish: La Coruña : Corunna (obsolete)
  • Duero : river Douro, English uses the Portuguese name
  • Gran Canaria : Grand Canary (obsolete)
  • Mallorca : Majorca, compare French Majorque, Italian Maiorca
  • Menorca : Minorca English uses the Italian spelling, also Menorca
  • Navarra / Nafarroa : Navarre, English uses the French name
  • Tenerife : Teneriffe (obsolete)
  • Zaragoza : Saragossa (old), Zaragoza (increasingly used in English)
  • Basel : Basle (regarded by some as historic, endonym Basel is used at least as frequently).
  • Bern : Berne (older form matches French, English now uses German-speaking endonym)
  • Luzern : Lucerne (English uses the French name, even though in German-speaking Switzerland)
  • Zürich : Zurich (English usually matches French spelling without umlaut)
  • Đà Nẵng : Danang, French Tourane (obsolete from Chinese)
  • Hội An : former name Faifo (obsolete from Japanese pronunciation of port at Hôi-an phô)
  • Ngũ Hành Sơn : Marble Mountains (Vietnamese name more accurately is "Five elements mountains")

Dohn joe (talk) 03:53, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

Common sense notes don't constitute "Original research" - rather than deleting content from articles if someone doubts the content they can check in Google Books and then add sources. Cheers. In ictu oculi (talk) 05:23, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
User:Dohn joe I see you just went ahead and deleted the content again. Look this is stable article content and your removal of it has been reverted. If you delete the content a 3rd time I will report it as edit warring. Instead of deleting content try sourcing it, if you feel it isn't obvious. In ictu oculi (talk) 05:27, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
That's the reverse of how WP works. Content needs to be verifiable. We can't cite "common sense". Further, I am claiming that it is not common sense that "English uses the French spelling". English uses the English spelling. That an exonym may share a spelling with French or German or Portuguese may be nothing more than coincidence. We need a source saying where the English spelling came from. Same with "obsolete" or "old spelling". This is WP:OR and WP:NPOV unless cited. The burden is on the person trying to retain unreferenced material. Dohn joe (talk) 05:31, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
I just added this to your User talk page:

The prohibition against OR means that all material added to articles must be attributable to a reliable published source, even if not actually attributed.[1] The verifiability policy says that an inline citation to a reliable source must be provided for all quotations, and for anything challenged or likely to be challenged—but a source must exist even for material that is never challenged. For example: the statement "Paris is the capital of France" needs no source, because no one is likely to object to it and we know that sources exist for it. The statement is attributable, even if not attributed.

If you do not understand the policy I suggest we take this to a forum with more editors before you make further deletions. In ictu oculi (talk) 05:44, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
I defer to Wikipedia:No original research/Noticeboard. In ictu oculi (talk) 06:03, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
So far I've gone through and found general references to English use of other language terms for Belgium and the Czech Republic. I also found modern references in modern contexts for several of the Czech names, so I removed the claims that the German names were "no longer used in English". I feel that a centralized ref at the top of each relevant country list is a better, more efficient way to convey the information, rather than a series of repetitive parentheticals. There is lots more to clean up, but I agree that this is better done entry by entry rather than by a broad brush that tosses out the baby with the bath water. Dohn joe (talk) 20:33, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
I've gone through several more countries, including Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and Turkey. Rationales given for each edit, backed up by sources. With particular regard to Istanbul, I removed the notes and references provided there because the first ref in particular never even mentioned Istanbul, and the second ref was to a list of exonyms that does not claim to be exhaustive. Nor do the authors explicitly state that Istanbul is the only exonym. Therefore, using it to claim that there is only one English-language Turkish exonym is a violation of WP:SYNTH. Dohn joe (talk) 23:02, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I've reverted this, pushing through the same deletions a third time is edit warring. There is a discussion at Wikipedia:No original research/Noticeboard. When you have at least 3 editors who have commented on your understanding of attributable content then maybe we can discuss additional sourcing. Right now you are just trashing useful and uncontroversial content. In ictu oculi (talk) 03:54, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

I can confirm that everything written about Belgium at least is correct. I also think that the annotations should not be removed. To just write 'Courtrai', for example, would give the impression that it's the current term in English; it's not, and this would do a substantial disservice to the reader. Oreo Priest talk 06:17, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
I appreciate that comment. One way I tried to address that concern was to introduce the section on Belgium with a general comment - cited to a source - that English once widely used French names even for Dutch-speaking areas, but that the modern trend is to use the Dutch names with a few exceptions. That way, the list itself is less cluttered. The other thing I did was to de-wikify the links to the names that are no longer primary (Courtrai, Mechlin, Filford), which should serve as an indication to the reader that they are no longer so. Take a look at this diff and let me know what you think. Dohn joe (talk) 06:48, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
I think the addition of 'or Courtray' was certainly a good idea. The rest, probably not. I can see why you want to include a reference in the header; it allows a general comment and it reduces "clutter" in the list. I don't however, think this works. Instead of commenting for each individually inline, you've tried to handle the exceptions to each in the heading, which doesn't really help. On top of that, your 'code', where if the term isn't the one with the link that means its use is deprecated, is about as clear as mud. Commenting on each inline isn't the most aesthetically pleasing solution, but it is much more clear and effective than your proposal. Oreo Priest talk 20:28, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Okay - I get that. How about this: instead of the long "(old - English used to use French name, though in Dutch-speaking area)", we keep the intro explanation, and below, just say "historically" or "traditionally", as we do with other countries' entries? Dohn joe (talk) 20:56, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
I think the intro about using French, as long as each entry is still annotated enough to be clear, would be a good idea, and probably work better than the current version. Just make sure nothing is left up to guesswork, problem solving or unclear codes. Oreo Priest talk 17:20, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
What about, say, "French names used in Dutch-speaking areas are marked with an asterisk (*)." - or something like that in the intro after the explanation? Then for Courtrai, we go "traditionally Courtrai* or Courtray", while for Bruges we just go "Bruges*". No guesswork there... Dohn joe (talk) 17:41, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Give it a shot. If it's no good then In ictu oculi or I will complain offer feedback. Oreo Priest talk 05:53, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Done. See what you think. Dohn joe (talk) 06:52, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Looks good. Oreo Priest talk 17:42, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll do likewise for Switzerland and Czech Republic, which have analogous issues (French instead of German and German instead of Czech, respectively). Dohn joe (talk) 18:32, 6 December 2013 (UTC)


  • I see you've partially deleted again Fourth deletion. However since you've only done it to Belgium I wondering if it was accidental? The whole point of inviting editors from projects is so they can comment refine on the content you're objecting to, which they can't do, because you've deleted it. Can you please restore the full text of the Belgium section. In ictu oculi (talk) 08:45, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
    ??? I thought I had restored the whole page to the status quo ante, including Belgium. It should look the same as it did a week ago. Dohn joe (talk) 15:29, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

I've taken a look at the Austrian and German names in the list and most of them seem right, albeit currently unsourced. I think a "balance of probability" argument applies here, i.e. we should leave the original list in the article because the balance of probability is that they are correct. Even if there are incorrect entries, they will flushed out sooner by moving to my next proposed step than by engaging in an edit war. So, step 2 is to work together to provide authoritative references. To that end I propose Langenscheidt Muret-Sanders Großwörterbuch Deutsch-English, 2004, as a starting point for the German names. This is the biggest and most comprehensive dictionary in this well-known publisher's range and has a list of the most common geographical exonyms, funnily enough, most of them coincide with the list. --Bermicourt (talk) 21:36, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

I think that's a reasonable suggestion on both parts. Let's make sure to coordinate this page with the German-specific list page. Dohn joe (talk) 17:44, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Okay, thanks Dohn joe, I will add the Langenscheidt references to the relevant entries here and will look at the German-specific page too. This doesn't rule out other appropriate sources being used nor having more than one ref per entry, but we probably don't want too many - just 2 or 3 varied but representative sources. I have a couple of English geography books on Germany that might also be sufficiently authoritative for now, unless and until we can find better sources. Bermicourt (talk) 20:25, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Done that for Austria and Germany. Reassuringly Langenscheidt confirms the vast majority of the existing list and adds quite a few more already recognized on Wikipedia. There are a couple of slightly strange ones, but this exercise has certainly narrowed down the field of those that need further investigation. I will continue to work on this. --Bermicourt (talk) 21:26, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

Fifth deletion[edit]

*Brugge/Bruges : Bruges (English still uses French name, though in Dutch-speaking area). Seems to be a particular urgency to delete this. Can I ask why a [citation needed] tag was not used instead? In ictu oculi (talk) 07:36, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Brugge Walking Tour: Travel On The Dollar - 2011 "Part of Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern part of Belgium, Brugge is a postcard perfect ..."

Can I ask, have you deleted any content from the article which wasn't specifically approved, suggested or urged by a visiting editor from the various projects? In ictu oculi (talk) 07:45, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you're saying. The current version (with the asterisks) looks fine to me. Oreo Priest talk 15:50, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
To be honest I didn't even see those asterisks. Maybe it is, it's less visible but no information is lost. I'm just making sure than any removals have buy-in of more than 1 editor. If Oreo Priest says its fine then its fine. In ictu oculi (talk) 16:27, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Native names in Canada and the US[edit]

There are places in Canada and the United States that have names in English and various native languages. I have begun a section for the US with "Denali", the native name for Mount McKinley. Please feel free to add more. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 07:53, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Dotted İ[edit]

I made some additions for Turkish place names. I also think that the explanation about the use of dotted İ in case of İstanbul is redundant. There are two versions of the same letter in Turkish. Dotted version is like i in tin and the undotted version is like e in open. İstanbul as well as İzmir, İznik and İzmit all have dotted versions. Nedim Ardoğa (talk) 08:10, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

So do you propose removing Istanbul from the list entirely, or just the notes following the entry? Dohn joe (talk) 17:43, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Sorry for the delay. I don't propose to remove the entry. I think the paragraph about the use of dotted or undotted ı can be omitted . Nedim Ardoğa (talk) 19:50, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
Nedim, sorry which of the two do you consider is redundant?

Lonely Planet Turkey ed. Verity Campbell 2007 Page 233 "There are also flights between İzmir and Europe on various European airlines (see p672). With the launch of İzmir Airlines, direct flights to Europe will greatly increase, and İzmir is billed to become one of Turkey's biggest hubs." and Page 291 "Original İznik tiles are antiquities and cannot be exported from Turkey, but new tiles make great, if not particularly cheap, souvenirs."

Exonyms and the International Standardisation of Geographical Names: Approaches towards the Resolution of an Apparent Contradiction Peter Jordan, Milan Orožen Adamič, Paul Woodman, Vienna 2007 Page 210 [lists Istanbul, as an English exonym of İstanbul. Istanbul appears to be the only English exonym listed for any Turkish city].

İstanbul as well as İzmir, İznik and İzmit all have dotted versions in Turkish, but in English sources like Lonely Planet İstanbul is Istanbul, but İzmir, İznik and İzmit are İzmir, İznik and İzmit. See also Archive_7#Requested_Move Talk:İzmir. In ictu oculi (talk) 07:43, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Calcutta, (historical/old-fashioned)?[edit]

I'd like a discussion on the bracketed explanation of the usage of Calcutta. From my experience Calcutta is still widely used to refer to Kolkata, as most current English-speakers have grown up with the name Calcutta. I propose rendering a variation of 'declining in use' or 'going out of fashion' instead, to reflect the name change being fairly recent in the scheme of things. (Cesdeva (talk) 17:29, 5 December 2013 (UTC))

How about "traditionally" - that seems to say that it still has currency in a way that "historical/old-fashioned" doesn't. Dohn joe (talk) 18:57, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
I'd agree that 'traditionally' would be a good alternate choice. I'll change it to that later unless other opinions/suggestions arise(Cesdeva (talk) 20:23, 5 December 2013 (UTC))
Would you also apply the same term to Bombay, Madras, etc.? Dohn joe (talk) 20:29, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── At present I would apply the term to those too, they still seem to endure despite a noticeable decline. On an interesting side note, i notice the term 'Madras' certainly lives on in common usage within the name Madras curry sauce and 'Bombay' within Bombay Biryani. Not the only usage, i'm just in the mood for curry (Cesdeva (talk) 21:59, 5 December 2013 (UTC))

I'm going to remove the parentheses within the India section to bring it into standardisation with the rest of the article too (Cesdeva (talk) 22:34, 5 December 2013 (UTC))


I'm glad that people are expanding this list, but it's worrying that so many entries are unsourced. Without a source, how can we know that each item is a genuine exonym rather than just a name? bobrayner (talk) 23:03, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

What do you see as the difference? Dohn joe (talk) 23:08, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Now historically[edit]

The list contains the phrase "now historically" 36 times. What is this supposed to mean? On the face of it, it is a contradiction in terms. Does it mean that the name was once common but is now historical? But everything historical was once common; that's the definition of history! Whatever it means, it should be re-phrased to make the meaning clear. Scolaire (talk) 11:55, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

I suppose its slightly unusual, my take is that it means the name is now only used in a historical context and has fallen out of common usage. 'Historically' would perhaps fit better. Ultimately it is a means of separating those English exonyms that were once prevalent and now aren't. (Cesdeva (talk) 14:09, 7 December 2013 (UTC))
(ec):The correct form of the word is actually "historical". Grammar really does matter. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 14:55, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
If that is what it means, then it should be replaced with "used only in a historical context". What bothers me is that you say it is "your take" on it. Does that mean that people have been adding the phrase over the years with only a vague idea of what it means? Scolaire (talk) 14:41, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
It's possible, but let's battle the Ambiguity Illuminati another day. Dealing with the present, I do however believe that more clarity, standardisation and efficiency can be found; maybe coloured Asterisks * can be used with a note saying "used only in a historical context" at the top of each section? The same could be done for other additional notes, using the remaining colours * * * *. (Cesdeva (talk) 16:18, 7 December 2013 (UTC))
Eh, no. Let's get rid of the meaningless phrase now, and we can talk about coloured asterisks at our leisure. Scolaire (talk) 18:59, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
I agree that Now historically is not clear enough. I'm just trying to avoid annotation clutter. So do you not want an annotation regarding the historicity or do you want a clearer phrase instead? (Cesdeva (talk) 19:21, 7 December 2013 (UTC))
I've already done the substitution. You can go ahead with your proposal for clutter reduction now. Scolaire (talk) 19:27, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Annotating an exonym as "historical" also needs to be referenced as, in my experience, there is a tendency for this to be a matter of WP:POV. For example, Braunschweig is assumed by Wikipedia to be the modern English name rather than Brunswick, but Langenscheidt would seem to recognize the latter as still acceptable, suggesting at the very least that the jury should be out on that one. and I'm sure there are other, better, examples... --Bermicourt (talk) 20:42, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Marseilles is another one. These are all 21st-century books that use it (Okay, some of them are reprints of 18th-century books, but still). Scolaire (talk) 21:25, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
The trouble with exonyms like these is that, it is difficult to distinguish between ignorance and authority. E.g. most English speakers know we call München Munich because the city is so well known, but not many people have heard of Braunschweig and even fewer know that its English name is Brunswick. And when ignorance becomes widespread, it tends to trump knowledge, at least on Wikipedia! Partly because WP:COMMONNAME tends to be seen as the overriding principle (even though the policy indicates that there are other factors). --Bermicourt (talk) 21:34, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
I tend to agree. Do you have a proposal on how to distinguish between exonyms that are truly historical and those that are perhaps used less often nowadays but were traditionally used? Dohn joe (talk) 01:23, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

Clutter reduction[edit]

Right so i'm proposing that methods be discussed regarding the tidying up of annotations on the list. The list is becoming rather cluttered with annotations and i feel a method should be employed to make it more organised. My proposal involves a coloured asterisk system, as shown below: (Cesdeva (talk) 19:46, 7 December 2013 (UTC))

Not a good idea. It violates WP:COLOR - readers with impaired vision will not be able to understand it. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 20:11, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
An already existing problem is that asterisks are used in various places with different meanings. The same symbol may not be used to indicate different information within a page. Any given symbol may only have one meaning in an article. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 20:22, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Ok, i understand. I'd noticed the various Asterisks. Are there a variety of other symbols that could be implemented? (Cesdeva (talk) 22:37, 7 December 2013 (UTC))

Croatian Cities[edit]

Should Zara (for Zadar) and Ragusa (for Dubrovnik) be included? Both of these names show up in historical contexts don't they? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:35, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done: Noyster (talk), 10:16, 29 January 2015 (UTC)