Alternative place names

Oscar van Vlijmen o.van.vlijmen at
Tue Sep 26 00:12:32 UTC 2000

To the discussion about possible alternative zone names in the tz-data

I wrote:
> If one doesn't like those names as zone names, just add them as a comment.
And Paul Eggert replied:
>> That has already been done in the latest tz sources.
Sorry, I missed this one! It's good that this happened, because the
alternative names are a valuable feature of the tz data, worth mentioning.

About the Greenland names:

>From the postal codes Greenland page
"3970 Pituffik (Dundas, Thule Air Base)"
"3971 Qaanaaq (Thule)"
See also:

Paul Eggert wrote:
>  ... But this is another hint that perhaps we should
> leave the tz Zone names alone, at least for now.

In conclusion for the Greenland case I would like to suggest:
Keep the current zone names because Thule and the other Danish names are
globally more common, keep the commented Inuit names, but change Pituffik to
Qaanaaq. However small Qaanaaq is, it refers to Thule; Pituffik refers to
the air base.

There are several other small inconsistencies in the zone names and comments
of the tz data files.
I took a look at the Asia file, with the latest Times atlas, the huge
millennium edition, in front of me:

* Bhutan: the name of the capital is Thimphu, not Thimbu. It is possible
that Thimphu (not an f but an aspirated p) is a closer transliteration of
the Dzongkha prononciation than the old British transliteration Thimbu.
* Cambodia: Phnom Penh says the tz data, Phnum Penh is a more modern
* China: Chungking: seems to me an old and wrong French transliteration of
Chongqing; the q is not a k-sound, but a ts-sound.
* Cyprus: Nicosia. Isn't this called Lefkosia at the moment?
* Kazakhstan: Aqtau: could be a pre-1940 transliteration; since the Cyrillic
script was reused, the correct transliteration, according to the Times
atlas, is Aktau. Where on earth is Aqtobe? TZ data says it's in the
Aktyubinsk time zone. Since Aktyubinsk is on the map (both as an oblast'
name and as the capital of that county), why not change Aqtobe to
* Kirgizstan: should be Kyrgyzstan.
* Laos: Vientiane. Put in a comment the better transliteration of Lao name:
* Qatar: Al Dawhah: it's Ad Dawhah or the more Latin alternative Doha.
* Bahrain: no need for '-' in Al-Manamah, so: Al Manamah.
* Syria: Damascus; comment: Dimashq.
* Thailand: no, I won't suggest a comment for the (abbreviated) formal name
Krung Thep; just Bangkok. If you really like the long one, here it comes:
Krungthep Mahanakhon Amorn Rattanakosin Mahintara Yudthaya Mahadilok Pohp
Noparat Rajathanee Bureerom Udomrajniwes Mahasatarn Amorn Pimarn
Avaltarnsatit Sakatattiya Visanukram Prasit (ref.:
* Turkmenistan has since 1991 the Latin alphabet instead of the Cyrillic.
I'm not sure if it's Ashkhabad or Ashgabat at the moment. I think the
* Vietnam: tzdata says: Saigon's official name is Thanh-Pho Ho Chi Minh. How
nice, but isn't the capital Ha Noi? The fact that probably more Americans
actually have been in Saigon should not play any role ;)

So, there is still a bit of work to do if one would like to dot some i's.

Oscar van Vlijmen

More information about the tz mailing list