Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cape Verde becomes Cabo Verde as Cross-Language Name Nationalism Continues

East Timor, Ivory Coast, and now Cape Verde are considered incorrect by their governments.  They instead prefer that everyone calls the country by its name in the respective local language.

In late October, Cape Verde alerted the United Nations that its name can no longer be translated and always must be referred to as "Cabo Verde".  National Geographic has already recognized the language change and the United States' Board of Geographic Names will most likely follow suit.

Right now there is very little opposition to these minor countries' desire that their native language name be universal.  However, I am wondering if this sort of cross-language name nationalism will hit some more major state.  Would everyone follow the demands of Germany if it demanded everyone refer to it as "Deutschland" in all languages?  Would it be deemed neo-imperialist if the United States told Latin America that "Estados Unidos" can no longer be used?

Personally, I foresee more countries demanding their name be used cross-language as the United States, in particular, and the English language, in general, slowly lose their competitive advantage over other cultures in the globalized world.

Note: Much like South Sudan's independence, Google Maps and Bing Maps are lagging behind OpenStreetMap in recognizing the name change.

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