toponymic query

Marc Sacks msacks at WORLD.STD.COM
Tue Nov 18 17:43:41 UTC 2003

In connection with exonyms, does any of you know why "Mumbai" is replacing
Bombay in various places? Is this political correctness, or has the city
officially changed its name?

Marc Sacks
msacks at

> I happened to come across the following in Charles Harrington Elster's
> _Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations_ this morning (s.v. Moscow, p.
> 267):
> "The Russian name for _Moscow_ is _Moskva_, pronounced muhsk-VAH or
> mahsk-VAH. _Moscow_ therefore is an exonym, a useful term that has
> appeared in various monographs on language (incluing William Safire's
> column in _The New York Times_) but that to my knowledge has yet to be
> recorded in a dictionary [n.b. it's in American Heritage but not
> OED--I have yet to do a more thorough search.] In _Crazy English_
> (1989), wordsmith Richard Lederer defines _exonym_ as 'a place name
> that foreigners use instead of the name that natives use: _Cologne_
> for Koln, _Florence_ for Firenze, _Morocco_ for Maroc.'"
> ...etc. Seems related, though not precisely what's being sought, which
> would be more like an endonym--at least according to the terms of the
> original query.
> Abigail Zitin

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