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  #1  
Old 01-08-2004, 01:52 PM
Moo the Magic Cow Moo the Magic Cow is offline
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Why is the fabric spelled cashmere and not Kashmir?

From what I've found on google, the fabric cashmere comes from a goat called Kashmir found primarily in an area called Kashmir and its surroundings. So why do we spell it cashmere and not kashmir?
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  #2  
Old 01-08-2004, 02:05 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Because cashmere wool comes from cashmere goats, not the country Kasimir.
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  #3  
Old 01-08-2004, 02:07 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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That'll teach me to read the actual OP and not just the title.
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  #4  
Old 01-08-2004, 02:59 PM
Angua Angua is offline
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I believe that its simply a question of spelling. Hindi and the related languages that are spoken in and around the Kashmir area are phonetic, thus a "k" sound and a hard "c" sound are perfectly interchangeable, likewise the "mir" and "mere". Hence Kashmir = Cashmere. They are pronounced exactly the same, and can refer interchangably to the same things.
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Old 01-08-2004, 03:41 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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My compact OED (1st edition, not new) says it is used attributively from the name of a kingdom in the western Himalayas, Cashmere or Kashmir. It appears that the name therefore came from the country and moved onto the goats and then to their wool. First used in print 1822.

Oddly, there is no entry for Kashmir or any nearby variant.
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  #6  
Old 01-08-2004, 03:51 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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They are pronounced exactly the same
Not by me they're not.

"Cashmere" is Anglicised -- [k<h>&Zmi@r] -- "a" as in cat -- "sh" like the "s" in "measure" -- "mere" rhymes with "here."

"Kashmir" is [kaSmir] -- the "k" is unaspirated -- the "sh" is as in "shirt"* -- the "i" is a pure vowel (not diphthongized)

*No Indian language has the "French J" or "zh" sound like the "s" in "measure."
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  #7  
Old 01-08-2004, 04:02 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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What exactly do you mean when you say a language is "phonetic"?

To answer the OP, it's that the British began commerce and then colonization in India in the 17th and 18th centuries, a time when the spelling of English itself hadn't yet become standardized, let alone the transliteration of other alphabets.

It was only in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that standardized transliterations of the Arabic and Devanagari alphabets began to be used by academicians (and eventually cartographers, post-WWII). Before that, spelling was haphazard and reflected the colonialists' approximation of the native sounds they thought they heard, rendered according to the maddening vagaries of English spelling. Just try reading anything from the 18th- or 19th-century British Raj, and compare their spellings with the modern, standardized spellings based on a systematic transliteration from the Devanagari. E.g. Cawnpore <> Kanpur. Etc.

In a volume of Arabian Studies published by Cambridge University in England, I once read an account of the diary of a 17th-century English coffee merchant who was stationed at Mocha in the Yemen. At times he traveled into the coffee-growing hinterland to make purchases, to a highland town whose Arabic name is Bayt al-Faqh.

The Englishman wrote down this name as "Beetlefuckee."
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  #8  
Old 01-08-2004, 04:16 PM
Angua Angua is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jomo Mojo
What exactly do you mean when you say a language is "phonetic"?

That the symbols in a language's "alphabet" are better represented by a syllable rather than a single letter sound. This is the case with languages such as Hindi and Gujerati. I'm sorry I didn't make this clearer.

I have seen Cashmere and Kashmir used interchangeably, and pronounced identically. Personally, I honestly cannot see how the two could be pronounced differently, but maybe that's just me, and a good few years of transliterating things between Gujerati/Hindi and English has made me slightly oblivious.
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  #9  
Old 01-08-2004, 04:43 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by acsenray
*No Indian language has the "French J" or "zh" sound like the "s" in "measure."
Nitpick: Urdu is an Indian language that does have this sound, and a special letter of the alphabet to write it with. However, it occurs only in a very few loanwords from Persian (making this a very minor nitpick). You would be correct in stating that it is not found in any native words in any Indian languages.
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  #10  
Old 01-09-2004, 01:12 AM
Aankh Aankh is offline
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Originally posted by Q.E.D.
Because cashmere wool comes from cashmere goats, not the country Kasimir.
Just FYI. That would be Kashmir. It is not a country. It is a part of India and, officially, is a state that goes by the full name of 'Jammu and Kashmir'.

As acsenray mentions, because of anglicization, 'cashmere' is generally pronounced so that its syllables rhyme with 'gash' and 'here'. 'Kashmir', on the other hand would be pronounced with 'kash' as in 'hush', and 'mir' as in 'meer'.

A phonetic language is one where the sounds correspond exactly to the letters as they are written. So, English is only a partly phonetic language. For instance, if I try to say the word 'write' aloud according to the spelling, I would end up articulating something like 'waritee'.

A lot of Indian languages are phonetic, and knowing the alphabet should be good enough to let you atleast read, if not understand, words in general.
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  #11  
Old 01-09-2004, 01:36 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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<sigh>

The wool is named for the goat.

The state is named for the Led Zeppelin song.

<nitpick>
And Urdu isn't really an Indian language. Urdu first emerged as the dialect of Multan, which whilst part of the more general "Indian subcontinent" has been Pakistani territory since Partition. <nitpick>
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  #12  
Old 01-09-2004, 01:49 AM
Aankh Aankh is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by dutchboy208

<nitpick>
And Urdu isn't really an Indian language. Urdu first emerged as the dialect of Multan, which whilst part of the more general "Indian subcontinent" has been Pakistani territory since Partition. <nitpick>
<Nitpick about Nitpick>
Actually, if you trace the roots of Urdu waaaay back, it is partly descended from Sanskrit. Cite.
Furthermore, Urdu is one of the national languages of India.
</N a N>

Of course, in sheer numbers, Pakistan probably has a lot more users of the language than does India.
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  #13  
Old 01-09-2004, 05:28 AM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by dutchboy208
And Urdu isn't really an Indian language. Urdu first emerged as the dialect of Multan
That is not true. Urdu originated in the Delhi-Agra area of U.P. The Multani dialect is Lahnda, another language altogether, which partly resembles Panjabi and partly is like Sindhi. Urdu is the same basic language as Hindi. Urdu was born in India and imported to Pakistan.
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  #14  
Old 01-09-2004, 06:37 AM
BwanaBob BwanaBob is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by aankh
As acsenray mentions, because of anglicization, 'cashmere' is generally pronounced so that its syllables rhyme with 'gash' and 'here'. 'Kashmir', on the other hand would be pronounced with 'kash' as in 'hush', and 'mir' as in 'meer'.
In my experience, "here" and "meer" rhyme.
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  #15  
Old 01-09-2004, 09:38 AM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Now that we've nitpicked whether Pakistan is part of "India" (yes, it is -- part of the subcontinent called "India," but not part of the nation on that subcontinent referred to as "Bharat" in its own constitution and "India" by English speakers)...

There are numerous cases where English over the years has Anglicized the spelling and/or pronunciation of "foreign" terms adopted as standard English usage, while the indigenous people go on calling the place by their own name, and modern usage, more courteous of "foreign" sounds, uses the local pronunciation to refer to that community. I grew up, for example, learning that the big city on India's west coast where xash lives was Bombay, and certain products associated with that city were described as "Bombay [thing]" -- today we refer to it, as its inhabitants always have, as Mumbai.

Probably the closest parallel to "cashmere/Kashmir" is the wool produced by long-haired goats and rabbits in the area around the city in central Turkey that has been its capital since 1922 or so. The old name of the city, dating back to Byzantine times, and hence the name of the wool, is "Angora" -- but we now refer to the city by the Turkish variant on this universally used by its residents: Ankara.

The southeastern dialect of Low German closely related to Plattdeutsch and Nederlandisch but considered a national language of Belgium is Vlaamisch, and the area where it is spoken is Vlaander(e)n. Since the Middle Ages, though, English speakers have referred to this as "Flemish" and "Flanders" respectively (and the inhabitants as "Flemings," for which I don't know the "proper" usage).

The poultry raised around Livorno, Italy, and the city itself, are "Leghorn" in English -- giving rise to the WB cartoon character.

The capital of Russia, Moskva, is Englished as Moscow, and the surrounding area, which was the original state from which the Tsarist regime spread, is Muscovy -- both have become English adjectives for products from there.

The nation whose capital is Zagreb is locally known as Hrvatskija -- and two variants on this have become English usage. First, influenced by Austrian German and perhaps Magyar, the country itself is known in English as Croatia. But the neckwear first produced there and part of formal national attire is the cravat.

One might add that the original "Kashmir" is has two variant usages: as a physical-geography descriptor, it refers to a fertile highland valley in the middle of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. But as a political descriptor, it refers to the pre-1947 princely state held by a Hindu maharaja but much of whose population was Muslim, since divided between India (about 60%), Pakistan (about 30%), and China (who seized 10% of the mountain area for strategic reasons and has retained it). All the territory remains subject to a three-way dispute that occasionally strains Indian/Pakistani relations.
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  #16  
Old 01-09-2004, 10:52 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Quote:
today we refer to it, as its inhabitants always have, as Mumbai.
Not exactly. "Mumbai" is the Marathi version of the name and has traditionally been used by Maharashtrians speaking in Marathi. However, Bombay is a very diverse city, with large populations of Gujaratis and other Indian ethnic groups. Most of these people "always" have and still do refer to the city as "Bombay." Even Maharashtrians often use the name "Bombay," especially when speaking English, which is commonly used in professional situations.

This is true of most of the renamed cities of India. The local inhabitants have continued to use the old, colonial name without any problems (such as Benares) while westerners have been convinced that it is disrespectful to use any but the nativised name (such as Varanasi).
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  #17  
Old 09-09-2014, 03:19 AM
bldysabba bldysabba is offline
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Originally Posted by Polycarp View Post
Now that we've nitpicked whether Pakistan is part of "India" (yes, it is -- part of the subcontinent called "India," but not part of the nation on that subcontinent referred to as "Bharat" in its own constitution and "India" by English speakers)...
Sorry for the zombie, but someone was wrong on the internet.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_India#Bharat
Quote:
The first article of the Constitution of India states that "India, that is Bharat, shall be a union of states," implicitly codifying India and Bharat as equally official short names for the Republic of India.
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  #18  
Old 09-09-2014, 04:29 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Originally Posted by Polycarp View Post

The nation whose capital is Zagreb is locally known as Hrvatskija -- and two variants on this have become English usage. First, influenced by Austrian German and perhaps Magyar, the country itself is known in English as Croatia. But the neckwear first produced there and part of formal national attire is the cravat.
Nitpick: it's Hrvatska.

But yes, Anglicised spellings such as "Cashmere" and "Hindoo" do now seem rather quaint and redolent of colonialism. I think that's why we now tend to use more faithful (or perhaps just more "foreign-sounding") transliterations.
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  #19  
Old 09-09-2014, 04:41 AM
AK84 AK84 is offline
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It's a zombie, but their is a good point to be made here as to why several South Asian names are pronounced differently than how they are spelt in English. The answer is that the transliteration spellings of the names were done before the pronounciation was settled and as there are many languages in S Asia pronunciations was different amongst the peoples. So the transliteration might have been done from one language and eventual pronounciation from another.

Which is why "Punjab" is spelt like that, it's been transliterated from Farsi, while the pronunciation is more like "Panj Ahb".
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  #20  
Old 09-09-2014, 08:07 AM
am77494 am77494 is offline
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For reasons unknown to me, the British preferred the letter C instead of K when anglicizing local names. Here are some examples :

1. Kolkata - Calcutta
2. Kanpur - Cawnpore
3. Kochi - Cochin
4. Kadapa - Cuddapah
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  #21  
Old 09-09-2014, 08:11 AM
jtur88 jtur88 is offline
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For pretty much the same reason we have Madras fabrics instead of Chennai fabrics. When the authority to name places was wrested away from the English, that had no effect on the things that the English took with them when they left.
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  #22  
Old 09-09-2014, 08:56 AM
bldysabba bldysabba is offline
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Originally Posted by am77494 View Post
For reasons unknown to me, the British preferred the letter C instead of K when anglicizing local names. Here are some examples :

1. Kolkata - Calcutta
2. Kanpur - Cawnpore
3. Kochi - Cochin
4. Kadapa - Cuddapah
In fairness, I think the K is just a standard established later for transliteration. I can't see how things would be any different if they'd preferred K, and the standard later established was C. If there is one, I would be happy to learn
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  #23  
Old 09-09-2014, 09:12 AM
bldysabba bldysabba is offline
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Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
For pretty much the same reason we have Madras fabrics instead of Chennai fabrics. When the authority to name places was wrested away from the English, that had no effect on the things that the English took with them when they left.
Actually, in this case, I think Kashmir has been spelled 'Kashmir'since before the British left. This is the earliest reference I can find, just three months after India's independence - Text of Lord Mountbatten 's letter dated 27 October, 1947 to signify his acceptance of the Instrument of Accession signed by the Kashmir Maharaja https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/kasmount.htm

Quote:
"My dear Maharaja Sahib,

Your Highness' letter dated 26 October has been delivered to me by Mr. V. P. Menon. In the
special circumstances mentioned by your Highness my Government have decided to accept the
accession of Kashmir State to the Dominion of India. Consistently with their policy that in the case of any State where the issue of accession has been the subject of dispute, the question if accession
should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the State, it is my Government's
wish that as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and her soil cleared of the invader the question of the State's accession should be settled by a reference to the people.

Meanwhile in response to your Highness' appeal for military aid action has been taken today to send troops of the Indian Army to Kashmir to help your own forces to defend your territory and to
protect the lives, property and honour of your people.

My Government and l note with satisfaction that your Highness has decided to invite Sheikh
Abdullah to form an interim Government to work with your Prime Minister.

With kind regards, I remain,

Yours sincerely,
October 27, 1947.
Mountbatten of Burma."
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  #24  
Old 09-09-2014, 09:13 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Why is the fabric spelled cashmere and not Kashmir?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bldysabba View Post
Sorry for the zombie, but someone was wrong on the internet.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_India#Bharat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
Nitpick: it's Hrvatska.
I don't think the person you're both nitpicking will be responding.

He's probably having an erudite conversation on the issue with Sir William Jones.

Last edited by Northern Piper; 09-09-2014 at 09:16 AM..
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  #25  
Old 09-09-2014, 09:15 AM
bldysabba bldysabba is offline
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Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
I don't think the person you're both nitpicking will be responding.
Oh crap. Did not know that.
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  #26  
Old 09-09-2014, 09:20 AM
gnoitall gnoitall is offline
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Originally Posted by bldysabba View Post
Oh crap. Did not know that.
Take comfort. Somewhere, a zombie is luxuriating in a cravat made from the finest cashmere.
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  #27  
Old 09-09-2014, 10:28 AM
jtur88 jtur88 is offline
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Originally Posted by bldysabba View Post
Actually, in this case, I think Kashmir has been spelled 'Kashmir'since before the British left. This is the earliest reference I can find, just three months after India's independence - Text of Lord Mountbatten 's letter dated 27 October, 1947 to signify his acceptance of the Instrument of Accession signed by the Kashmir Maharaja https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/kasmount.htm
No doubt, Mountbatten was just being polite to the Maharaja, or not wishing to be seen a colonial lout, just as I would write Milano and Firenza if I were writing to an Italian friend about my proposed itinerary in his country. And, by 1947, many or the English in The Raj had probably already begun using some Indian spellings, like changing saree to sari..

Last edited by jtur88; 09-09-2014 at 10:30 AM..
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  #28  
Old 09-09-2014, 10:42 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Originally Posted by gnoitall View Post
Take comfort. Somewhere, a zombie is luxuriating in a cravat made from the finest cashmere.


Polycarp would have liked that one!
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  #29  
Old 09-09-2014, 11:30 PM
njtt njtt is offline
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Originally Posted by Angua View Post
That the symbols in a language's "alphabet" are better represented by a syllable rather than a single letter sound. This is the case with languages such as Hindi and Gujerati. I'm sorry I didn't make this clearer.
You could indeed have made it clearer, by actually using the correct word for that: syllabic. "Phonetic" means something quite different.
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:31 PM
UDS UDS is offline
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Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
No doubt, Mountbatten was just being polite to the Maharaja, or not wishing to be seen a colonial lout, just as I would write Milano and Firenza if I were writing to an Italian friend about my proposed itinerary in his country. And, by 1947, many or the English in The Raj had probably already begun using some Indian spellings, like changing saree to sari..
No. "Kashmir" has been the standard English transliteration for ages. Sir Frances Younghusband's accounts of his travels in Kashmir, boringly entitled Kashmir were published in 1909. "Kashmir" is consistently used throughout. Sir Walter Lawrence published The Valley of Kashmir in 1895. The OED doesn't include the names of countries, but it has Kashmir, meaning a native of Kashmir, with cites from 1880 and Kashmiri from 1882.

Up to about 1860, though Cashmere seems to have predominated as the English transliteration of the name. So the change probably happened between 1860 and 1880.
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Old 09-10-2014, 08:58 AM
jtur88 jtur88 is offline
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Originally Posted by UDS View Post
No. "Kashmir" has been the standard English transliteration for ages. Sir Frances Younghusband's accounts of his travels in Kashmir, boringly entitled Kashmir were published in 1909. "Kashmir" is consistently used throughout. Sir Walter Lawrence published The Valley of Kashmir in 1895. The OED doesn't include the names of countries, but it has Kashmir, meaning a native of Kashmir, with cites from 1880 and Kashmiri from 1882.

Up to about 1860, though Cashmere seems to have predominated as the English transliteration of the name. So the change probably happened between 1860 and 1880.
That may well be so, but bidysabba's reference to the Mountbatten letter did not shed any light on that fact.

Last edited by jtur88; 09-10-2014 at 09:00 AM..
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  #32  
Old 09-10-2014, 11:14 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Me, I like damascene.
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  #33  
Old 09-10-2014, 10:19 PM
Learjeff Learjeff is offline
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Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
For pretty much the same reason we have Madras fabrics instead of Chennai fabrics. When the authority to name places was wrested away from the English, that had no effect on the things that the English took with them when they left.
Bingo. It's the same reason we usually see "Peking Duck" on the menu, and not "Beijing Duck".

Which makes me wonder why we have Roma tomatos, but never mind.

;-)
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  #34  
Old 09-10-2014, 10:49 PM
bldysabba bldysabba is offline
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Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
That may well be so, but bidysabba's reference to the Mountbatten letter did not shed any light on that fact.
On the contrary, it makes it highly probable that the British government at least was already using the 'Kashmir' spelling before India got its independence. And it certainly sheds more light than your evidence free assertion that he was "no doubt" doing it to please the Maharaja of Kashmir.

Last edited by bldysabba; 09-10-2014 at 10:49 PM..
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  #35  
Old 09-10-2014, 11:07 PM
Nava Nava is offline
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Originally Posted by am77494 View Post
For reasons unknown to me, the British preferred the letter C instead of K when anglicizing local names. Here are some examples :

1. Kolkata - Calcutta
2. Kanpur - Cawnpore
3. Kochi - Cochin
4. Kadapa - Cuddapah
Some of those may have reached English via Portuguese, a language in which K is very rare.
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  #36  
Old 09-10-2014, 11:39 PM
bldysabba bldysabba is offline
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
Some of those may have reached English via Portuguese, a language in which K is very rare.
That's certainly possible with Cochin, which was an early portugese base in India, but to the best of my knowledge, the Portugese had nothing to do with the remaining three.
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  #37  
Old 09-10-2014, 11:44 PM
bldysabba bldysabba is offline
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Originally Posted by Learjeff View Post
Bingo.
No, not Bingo. In fact it has been conclusively shown that the mechanism for Cashmere/Kashmir has nothing to do with name changes that happened after the British left. The 'Kashmir' spelling had taken root well before an independent India was even a demand of the Indian National Congress.
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  #38  
Old 09-11-2014, 01:15 AM
BrightNShiny BrightNShiny is offline
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From this wiki on the Hunterian transliteration system:

Quote:
The original precursor to the Hunterian system was a transliteration method developed by Charles Wilkins, who is sometimes called the "father of Devanagari typography" because he was also the creator of the first Devanagari typeface.[4][6] William Jones, who also founded the Asiatic Society, further developed the transliteration method.[4] It was given a more complete form in the late nineteenth century by William Wilson Hunter, then Surveyor General of India.[7] When it was proposed, it immediately met with opposition from supporters of the phonetic Dowler system, which climaxed in a dramatic showdown in an India Council meeting on 28 May 1872 where the new Hunterian method carried the day. The Hunterian method was inherently simpler and extensible to several Indic scripts because it systematized grapheme transliteration, and it came to prevail and gain government and academic acceptance.[7] Opponents of the grapheme transliteration model continued to mount unsuccessful attempts at reversing government policy until the turn of the century, with one critic calling appealing to ""the Indian Government to give up the whole attempt at scientific (i.e. Hunterian) transliteration, and decide once and for all in favour of a return to the old phonetic spelling."
So, from that, I gather that the British Raj standardized on the Hunterian system in 1872, and from the article, it looks to me like Kashmir would be the proper Hunterian transliteration. Prior to 1872, the Raj (and before that, the East India Co.) appear to have haphazardly used either the Wilkins system or the "Dowler" system.
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