Alex Massie

Department of Names

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Much blogospheric hand-wringing on whether to refer to a great Indian city as Bombay or Mumbai. This is a road I've been down before. Ezra Klein says that "Bombay is the term of the colonialist oppressors. Mumbai is the term of the people who live and vote and die there."

Well fine. Does this mean Americans will cease referring to Edinburgh as Edinboro?

UPDATE: Commenter Deiseach makes the essential, and correct, point: "I presume when you were in college in Dublin you referred to Kingstown, Kingsbridge Station and King's County? Anyone who thinks they have a consistent way of using place names in these situations is kidding themselves." As it happens, um, I did from time to time refer to Kingstown and Sackville Street and all the rest of it. Of course, some people thought I was a prize ass.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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