No, English speakers and others using the Roman alphabet won’t have to start calling Thailand’s capital by its local name, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, and ditch the more familiar “Bangkok.” That’s the message from Thailand’s Royal Society, which is responsible for academic and language standards after a seemingly innocuous change in punctuation in official guidelines sparked a flurry of speculation over the city’s renaming.
It began when the Cabinet on Tuesday approved a proposal by the Royal Society to change how the capital would be referred to internationally from ”Krung Thep Maha Nakhon; Bangkok” to “Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok).” While people were guessing at the meaning of the change from the semicolon to the parentheses, many were giving a lot of weight to the accompanying explanation that it would “revise ” the name of the capital and would retain the name of the capital. “old” name in parentheses.
The capital is already officially known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, which literally means “great city of angels”, and most Thais abbreviate it to Krung Thep in conversation.
As speculation grew, the Royal Society clarified in a Facebook post on Wednesday that their new guidelines were only a stylistic change. “Writing the capital’s official name with the Roman alphabet can be done both like Krung Thep Maha Nakon and Bangkok,” the government agency said, allaying any non-Thai speaker’s fears of adopting the more complicated name. .
Even if the Royal Society had wanted to change the name to the one used by Thais, there is another option that would have been an even greater challenge for foreign languages.
Bangkok’s Thai name, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, is actually a shortened form of the capital’s full name, which is rooted in Pali and Sanskrit and is more of an expression to describe the city than a name: Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit. It is the longest place name in the world, according to Guinness World Records.
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