Paul Koning pkoning at
Wed May 30 13:33:37 UTC 2007

Rather than spend lots of energy exploring the spelling politics of
various towns in various countries, it might be easier to look for a
common pattern.
There are two possible approaches:
1. Spell city names by the "local language rule"
2. Spell city names by the "English language convention".  In other
words, as the name is most likely to appear in an English language
newspaper or magazine article. right now does the latter. 
In fact, you don't really have much choice; it needs to be #2.
#1 works if there is a single official (or widely accepted) spelling,
and that spelling can reasonably be rendered in the character set used
in  (I think that's plain ASCII, as in ISO 646.)  If there's
more than one official language, there's a definite problem.
For example, says "Europe/Brussels" which is the English
language form of the name of Belgium's capital.  If you wanted to use
approach #1 (local language rule) you would *have* to have two entries
(Europe/Brussel and Europe/Bruxelles) because local language politics
there can get quite heated and listing only one of the two is very much
Switzerland has four official languages.  I don't know how to render
Europe/Zurich in all of them.  If you use the local language of the
town, you have to put an umlaut on that u.
So to get back to Calcutta, or Delhi: you can't very well put the local
spelling of the name in unless you're using the local script.
(Which one would that be -- India has at least six.)  Or you could use
the official translateration into the latin alphabet, if there's a
plausible transliteration.  But that wouldn't work for European
languages that use diacritical marks and have no standard way of doing
without them (German does, but I don't think Rumanian does, so how would
you render the local version of Rumania's capital?).
Conclusion: stick with #2, which means stick with "Calcutta" (or
"Delhi") unless and until a different spelling becomes generally
accepted for English language documents.
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