“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

It's "Moonshine," you American idiots!
Thursday, January 20, 2011

Over the past few decades we've slowly been replacing the incorrect American version of foreign cities' names with the proper, more native versions: Peking to Beijing. (I miss the word Peking, I really do.)

There's also Bombay to Mumbai (I miss the word Bombay, I really do.)

There are others; I just can't think of them.

For the record, my hometown of Burlington, Colorado is still Burlington.

And, interestingly, you know who hasn't jumped on this wagon? The Germans, of all people. Those fastidious sticklers for accuracy continue to let Americans absolutely butcher their fine cities' names.

Cologne is actually Koln (umlaut on the o, but I can't find the umlaut key). Koln is pronounced this way: push out your lips, keeping mouth open, and say "cool" with an "n" on the end.

And good 'ol Munich. The real pronunciation is actually closer to "moonshine." Honest. I took six years of the language....though I have no idea why.


Blogger geeky Heather said...

You know, I asked my British tour guide in Munich why we call it "Munich" rather than "Munchen" (imagine there's an umlaut over that "u"). 'Cause this is a pet peeve of mine, too...why the heck do we call Hellas, "Greece"?? Or Firenze, "Florence"?

Anyway, he told me that actually, "Munich" is much closer to the original Old High German name (of "Munichen", according to wikipedia). So actually, the Brits are calling it by the older name. Then he said, "Honestly, you Americans have buildings older than most of the ones here, and that's saying something!"

I'd still like to know why we call Hellas, "Greece", though!

January 21, 2011 at 12:47 PM  
Anonymous Gonzalo Barr said...

There is no rhyme or reason, other than convention. It happens in all languages. "Brooklyn" became "bruchelino" to many southern Italians. "New York" is pronounced "Nova Yorkee" in Brazilian Portuguese. And "America" is the "Land of Rice" to the Japanese. Go figure.

January 25, 2011 at 11:47 AM  

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