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MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideName Changes

One of the cursory changes instituted by the government since the 1988 uprising has been a long list of roman spelling changes for geographic names, in a further effort to purge the country of its colonial past. In most of the name changes, the new Romanized versions bring the names phonetically closer to the everyday Burmese pronunciation.

Myanmar versus Burma

In 1989 the official English name of the country was changed from the Union of Burma to the Union of Myanmar, to conform to Burmese usage. There has been no change in the Burmese name for the country. Myanmar has, in fact, been the official name since at least the time of Macro Polo's 13th-century writings; the first Burmese - language newspaper, published in 1868, was called Myanmar Thandawzin, translated by the British as Burma Herald. In the country's 1947 Constitution, the Burmese version reads Myanmar, the English version Burma.

In Burmese literary contexts, the name Myanmar refers to the whole country, Bamar (from whence the English got Burma) refers to Burman ethnicity, or to the Burman language. In everyday parlance, Bamar-pyi (Land of the Burmans) may also be used to refer to the country. The new government position finds Myanmar more equitable, since it doesn't identify the nation with any one ethnic group. If the current military regime releases control of the government to the National League for Democracy, however, there's always the possibility all the names could revert back to their colonial versions.

Lingustically speaking, the change is quite reasonable, but it has become something of a political football between the
opposition and the government. The official United Nations designation is now Myanmar, and Amnesty International uses this name as well; some English launguage periodicals - such as Asiaweek - recognise the change, while others (eg Time) don't.
The 'r' at the end of Myanmar is merely a British English device used to lengthen the preceding 'a' vowel; it is not pronounced. State enterprises that use Myanmar in their titles typically spell the word without an 'r', eg Myanma Airways, Myanma Five Star Line, Myanma Timber Enterprise so on .

Myanmar versus Burmese

Officially in post-1989 Myanmar, the word now used to mean Burmese - referring either ot a citizen of Myanmar or the language, or to any attribute of the country as a single entity ( cuisine, culture etc) - is Myanmar. In other words, it's Myanmar people (or Myanmars), Myanmar language and Myanmar customs, as in Berber people or Magyar language. Because of the lack of familiarity with the use of Myanmar as an adjective however, Lonely Planet is staying with the word Burmese for references to the people and language, just as most mid-20th century literature on Thailand continued to use the term Siamese, even after the name of the country had been officially changed (by a dictaorship) from Siam to Thailland in 1949. Bamar will be used to refer to the Burman ethnic group and to the culsine.

colonial name

burmese name

Akyab Sittwe
Amherst Kyaikkami
Arakan Rakhaing or Rakhine
Ava Inwa
Bassein Pathein
Burma Myanmar
Chindwin River (no change)
Irrawaddy River Ayeyarwady River
Mandalay (no change)
Martaban Mottama
Maymyo Pyin U Lwin
Mergui Myeik (or Beik, in spoken language)
Moulmein Mawlamyaing or Mawlamyine
Myohaung Mrauk U
Pagan Bagan
Pegu Bago
Prome Pyay or Pyi
Rangoon Yangon
Salween River Thanlwin River
Sandoway Thandwe
Sittaung River Sittoung River
Syriam Thanlyin
Taunggyi (no change)
Tavoy Dawei
Tenasserim Tanintharyi

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