Alternative place names

Gwillim Law gwil at
Tue Sep 26 23:58:18 UTC 2000

Oscar van Vlijmen wrote:

> * Cyprus: Nicosia. Isn't this called Lefkosia at the moment?

The Greek name of this city is <lambda> <epsilon> <upsilon> <kappa> <omega>
<sigma> <iota-acute> <alpha>, usually transliterated Levkosia or Lefkosia.
Its Turkish name is Lefkosa, with a cedilla on the s.  In English it's
Nicosia; French, Nicosie; and German, Nicosia or Nikosia.  Even Cyprus
government Web pages in English (e.g. usually call it Nicosia.

Jesper Nørgaard wrote:

> I believe that tz data has an (unstated?) policy of defining the default
city of a country not necessarily to be the capital, but the city with the
highest number of inhabitants [...]

It's explicit.  In the tzcode tar file, under the heading "Names of time
zone rule files", there are eleven guidelines.  The seventh says, "Use the
most populous among locations in a country's time zone, e.g. prefer
`Shanghai' to `Beijing'. [...]"

Paul Eggert wrote:

> [...] I'm not convinced that we should switch entirely to Pinyin. [...]

We shouldn't, for a reason not mentioned.  I think it's fine to put
alternative place names into the comments, but I hope we'll resist making
frequent changes to the zone names.  Please remember that every change has a
cost.  In this case, there's the labor of updating databases, resource
files, source code, etc.  It may be negligible, but the tz archive is widely
replicated, and hundreds or thousands of people might be affected (I have no
way of estimating how many).  In fact, I would like to add a new guideline
for choosing zone names:

Do not change established names unless they become ambiguous or shockingly

Yours,    Gwillim Law

More information about the tz mailing list