ANKARA, Jan 27 — In English, the country’s name corresponds, unluckily, with a large, North American bird. Ankara has decided to petition the UN to change its name to Türkiye. It’s a linguistic move that has significance for national identity.

For the English-speaking world, it’s a big change. In English, the country’s name also corresponds to a large bird that is often the butt of jokes, making it an easy target for word-play in the press. With the new name, this humour will no longer apply.

The country led by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has asked for official recognition of the new name from the United Nations so that it no longer be associated in English with the symbol of American Thanksgiving feasts. To end all confusion, Ankara wishes to rename its country “Türkiye.” The change also has cultural significance, as it corresponds with a closer translation from the Turkish language and is pronounced “Tur-kee-yeh,” the difference being a new third syllable.

The modification is more than simply about phonetic pronunciation. Certain foreign governments, such as France, are already adopting the change in their Foreign Ministries’ websites. Consumers will soon notice that the country’s products will be labeled “Made in Türkiye.” The country has launched a media campaign to make its new name known.

“Kyiv” rather than “Kiev”

Changing the way country and city names are pronounced is decidedly a trend right now. While Russia deploys tens of thousands of soldiers to the Ukrainian border, leading to concerns at Nato that Vladimir Putin is preparing offensive action, a combat is already underway in the linguistic arena when it comes to writing and pronouncing the capital’s name.

As far back as 2018, the Ukrainian Embassy asked the United States to no longer spell its capital’s name as “Kiev,” and to adopt usage of the spelling “Kyiv.” The detail is anything but insignificant. While the words’ pronunciations are similar, the former spelling actually comes from a translation of the name in the Russian language. By using the other spelling instead, the Ukrainian identity is recognised. The Ukrainian government launched a social media campaign calling for the “Kyiv” spelling. The change has been adopted by the Anglo-saxon press, if not by all outlets and governments worldwide. — ETX Studio