November 16, 2002 7:13 AM   Subscribe

GeoNative. Placenames in minority and indigenous languages.
posted by plep (7 comments total)
Bombay's my home. I hate the fact that the state govt. changed the name to Mumbai. Sure I use Mumbai now, but if I am talking about it, I usually end up calling it Bombay. The city's port authority came up with a good idea to keep it's acronym the same, it used to be Bombay Port Trust aka BPT, and they are now known as the Brihan-Mumbai Port Trust aka the BPT. Brihan-Mumbai means Greater Mumbai. The international airport still is referred to as BOM on luggage tags. I'd rather be called a Bombayite, Mumbaikar just doesn't have that feel to it.
posted by riffola at 7:26 AM on November 16, 2002

I love that site and have consulted it for years -- variant place names are one of my favorite things. You might have provided a link to his Main Index page, which gives a better idea of the riches therein. Ainu names for Japanese towns! Abkhaz names for Georgian towns! Who could resist? (Don't answer that. But I can't.)
posted by languagehat at 8:34 AM on November 16, 2002

I think of languagehat as our own Rosetta stoner.
posted by y2karl at 9:04 AM on November 16, 2002

Great start on this site. 233 languages listed, 6576 to go!
posted by TheFarSeid at 9:30 AM on November 16, 2002

It's an impressive site with worthy purposes ("promote respect and increase knowledge"). It's my first visit to the site and I got on to read about the Webmaster's home country - the Basque Country. This following bit of information provided by the webmaster himself for the visitors ("Still, we believe that the survival of Basque culture and the Basque nations is linked to the language. The violence issue is the hardest point of the Basque conflict, surely, but the key political issue is the language. Being independent, autonomous or not, as long as the language is alive, there will be a Basque Country. Not otherwise." (full text here)) is hard to ignore as it gets you thinking of other "guardians" of minority & native languages who are also fighting or struggling to keep their languages alive.

For example, only recently were the Kurdish people in Turkey allowed to broadcast & be educated in the Kurdish lanuguage.

I also think of the struggles of the Hmong hill tribes (China/Laos/Thailand) and the Mon people (of Burma).
posted by taratan at 12:04 PM on November 16, 2002

Great resource, plep! Thanks.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:08 PM on November 16, 2002

Arg. I just spent forty-five minutes finding links and writing about connections between the Hmong and Ju/'hoansi !Kung kinship and naming systems, based on this passage from taratan's link:

All people bearing the same surname are supposed to be related to each other, even though there may not be any known blood ties between them. This entails the same social obligations towards each other as if they are members of the same family. When a stranger from the same clan visits, you are supposed to treat him and offer him hospitality as if he is your own close relative. Thus, traditionally a Hmong man can visit other Hmong men anywhere and expect to be well received by them.

And then my browser froze. So thanks, plep and taratan, and everyone go research !Kung kinship yourself. It's interesting stuff, I promise.
posted by hippugeek at 1:50 AM on November 17, 2002

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