[tz] [PATCH] Minor changes to iso3166.tab

John Haxby john.haxby at oracle.com
Thu Nov 17 10:40:52 UTC 2016

On 17/11/16 01:39, Brian Inglis wrote:
> On 2016-11-16 13:57, Paul Eggert wrote:
>> On 11/16/2016 08:14 AM, Jiri Bohac wrote:
>>> I would also change "Britain" to "United Kingdom",
>> "Britain" appears to be considerably more popular in English.

I'm British, I live in England and speak English.  I'm a citizen of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island (that's what it says
on my passport).  England is a part of Great Britain which in turn is
part of the British Isles.   The British Isles includes the Republic of
Ireland which is a different country.   The certificate for "bbc.co.uk"
has "C=GB" for the country code.

When I fill out forms that want my nationality and country of residence
I tend to vary my answers.  Should I put "English" or "British" as my
nationality?   Am I resident in England, GB or UK (there's no way "The
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island" is going to fit in
the box).  The last few times I've done this I've put "UK" for both
because at least its unambiguous and broadly matches the passport I've
just copied the number from.

Colloquially, "Britain" generally refers to the main island but probably
includes the Isle of Wight and Anglesey (although the latter is
connected by a bridge now).  "The UK" refers to all to all of the
British Isles including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man but
excluding the Republic of Ireland.

When I'm filling in web forms that want a country from a list box I
usually whizz straight down to the end and look for United Kingdom.
When that doesn't work I go back up to a little before the middle and
search out Great Britain.

Officially and formally I live in the UK, I'm from the UK and I hold a
UK passport.  It's not helped by the fact that the ISO country code is
"GB" and the top-level domain is "UK", but unless I'm referring to the
Olympics, a certificate or the sticker on my car, I don't use GB.

Are you confused yet?

It really doesn't matter what you call the place: we're quite used to
reading "GB" and "United Kingdom" or "[Great] Britain".  Unless there's
a compelling reason to change iso3166.tab I'd leave it as it is, ie "GB
Britain (UK)". Sticking a "Great" in there looks anachronistic to me and
changing "Britain" to "United Kingdom" looks weird (I don't know why, it
just does).


> Google shows 149M hits for "Great Britain", 367M for "Britain",
> 1G for "United Kingdom", and 4G for "UK".
> Are you limiting your results to a certain locale or time period?
> Results for the past year alone have similar relative frequencies,
> using Advanced Search for the word or phrase and English language,
> both over the last year and unlimited.
> "United Kingdom" and "UK" are uncontentious, and closest to the
> correct long phrases, which are contentious when not qualified
> at length.
> Britain is a colloquial term similar to using America or the
> States (and all three are contentious words) to refer to the USA.
> Great Britain is now considered a geographical term for the main
> island, excluding Northern Ireland and all the other islands
> considered part of the United Kingdom, and a contentious phrase
> when used for the UK.
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team_GB#Calls_for_renaming
> Who, What, Why: Why is it Team GB, not Team UK?
> http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-37058920
> "In fact, of the 29 athletes from Northern Ireland in Rio, the
> vast majority - 21 - have chosen to represent Team Ireland...
> Only eight are representing Team GB."
> https://twitter.com/GoogleTrends/status/754999206578941952?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
> http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/team-gb-olympic-name-row-still-simmering-in-northern-ireland-28776939.html
> Team GB is greater than the sum of its parts:
> http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/alicethomson/article3501033.ece
> "Teyrnas Unedig Prydain Fawr a Gogledd Iwerddon" shortened to
> "Teyrnas Unedig" or "Y Deyrnas Unedig" abbreviated "DU", or
> "Rìoghachd Aonaichte Bhreatainn is Èireann a Tuath" shortened to
> "Rìoghachd Aonaichte" are also now legal names for the UK, used by
> the government, with only 10.6k, 13.5k, 873k(!), 3.9k, 66.4k hits
> respectively, across all languages. ;^>

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