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Published 2 years ago with 11 Comments

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  • RoamingGnome
    +2

    Now that the military junta is gone, can we please go back to calling it Burma?

    • AdelleChattre
      +3

      As long as we can go back to calling the United States "the Colonies."

      • RoamingGnome
        +2

        That's not even remotely close to analogous. In fact, it's almost 180* in the opposite direction.

        • AdelleChattre
          +3

          How so?

          • RoamingGnome
            +3

            Because "the Colonies" is derogatory, or demeaning at the very least, while "Burma" is not.

            • AdelleChattre
              +2

              Both are their British colonial names. Why would the U.S. be entitled to self-determination but not Myanmar?

            • Appaloosa
              +2
              @AdelleChattre -

              The BBC (which still refers to the country only as Burma) writes that:

              "Burmah, as it was spelt in the 19th Century, is a local corruption of the word Myanmar. They have both been used within Burma for a long time, says anthropologist Gustaaf Houtman, who has written extensively about Burmese politics. ... If Burmese people are writing for publication, they use 'Myanmar', but speaking they use 'Burma', he says. ...

              "Richard Coates, a linguist at the University of Western England, says adopting the traditional, formal name is an attempt by the junta to break from the colonial past. 'Local opposition groups do not accept that, and presumably prefer to use the old colloquial name, at least until they have a government with popular legitimacy,' [Coates says]. 'Governments that agree with this stance still call the country Burma.' "

              It's quite an interesting conundrum!

            • AdelleChattre
              +2
              @Appaloosa -

              With all due respect to the BBC and their constant and devoted service to Her Majesty, The Queen, if we’re not going to accept Myanmar's word for it, a better authority is the Economist.

            • Appaloosa
              +2
              @AdelleChattre -

              Yes, I read both of those before, which is the complication. Both words are, have been used for many years. The pre-junta group don't want to legitimize a name change that a military government made to throw off the old colonial name, which was a name, Bama, used prior to the Brits in spoken language. Once a legitimate government is put in place, they may want to ask the people of that country what name they would like to be called, since it seems two regimes, one colonial and one a military dictatorship didn't think to ask.

            • AdelleChattre
              +2
              @Appaloosa -

              Even the Japanese used 'Burma' when they occupied, right? What do the Chinese use?

            • Appaloosa (edited 2 years ago)
              +4
              @AdelleChattre -

              Yes....the Chinese for Burma is Mindian which is probably how they heard Myanma...which is the correct name as recognized even by the pre-junta crowd. What they object to is the Anglicized version Myanmar....with an r. If you really get into the nuances of it, it is just that....very nuanced,

              from wiki:

              The regime changed the name of the country in English; it did not change the official name of the country in Burmese. Former opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at first opposed the new name "Myanmar", pointing out the hypocritical justification of inclusiveness put forward by the regime. Opposition parties, although they oppose the English name "Myanmar", do not oppose the official Burmese name Myanma, and no opposition party is proposing to use the colloquial name Bama as the official name of the country.

              Finally, a lot of criticism also focused on the lack of linguistic soundness of the reform. Only four language scholars sat in the 1989 commission, while the majority of the commission was made up of military officials and civil servants with no particular knowledge of linguistics. The new names adopted often lacked serious linguistic credibility, and some appear questionable (the final "r" at the end of the name Myanmar makes sense only for a speaker of a non-rhotic dialect of English).

              As a caveat, there was great tension at the border with the Karen, the Burmese military and Thailand when the name was changed.

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