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November 30, 2004

You Say Mombai, I Say Bombay

India is a rapidly growing presence, both economically and as a major English-speaking country. So confusion over just what to call some of the country's major cities is a problem that is becoming increasingly common in the classroom. Malaysian news site The Star looks at the background to recent names changes that have given us familiar cities with less familiar names, such as Mumbai (Bombay), Kolkata (Calcutta) and Chennai (Madras). The city of Cochin was renamed Kochi, though "administrators at the Cochin University of Science and Technology kept the old name because they feared the school could be confused with Japan's Kochi University." The article also looks at some other examples worldwide of names that have been changed from the anglophone pronunciation of colonial times.
Bombay or Mumbai, the name debate goes on

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