Cote D'Ivoire (sp?)

When did The Ivory Coast start to become referred to as Cote D’Ivoire in English, and why? The narrator on the BBC coverage of the Olympic procession claims that it is the standard way now to refer to the country, but I’ve always heard it referred to as The Ivory Coast.

Is “The Ivory Coast” now offensive? If it’s not, why not refer to other countries using the name that the locals use, i.e. Espagne?

Well, the country’s name in English is “Ivory Coast,” but French is their official language (or an official language – I’m not sure which stance Cd’I chose; some African countries chose to make English or French, whichever was common among the upper and middle classes, their official language; others chose to make both one of them and one or more common vernacular official languages). So the name of the country in its own official language is Cote d’Ivoire (with a circumflex over the first o, by the way).

In addition, the official languages of the Olympics are French, English, and the language of the present games – in this case, Greek – when it isn’t one of the above two – in that order. Unless the games are being held in an English-speaking venue, the French holds precedence.

It was changed in 1993 and actually Polycarp, to be more precise, the translated name would be “Ivory Coast”, but Cote d’Ivoire is how the CIA refers to the country now.

I forgot this snipped from the CIA’s website:

One of my political science professors explained this one to me. It would be similar to Germany changing their name to Deutschland. The change is important, for nationalistic reasons. However, it does not change the actual name of the country. As a side note, Cambodia changed its name to Kampuchea when the Khmer Rogue took power.

The countries were presented in all three languages - with Cote d’Ivoire being used for both French and English.

According to Bob Costas’ scintillating color commentary, there’s a “no translation” clause for the country name in the constitution.

Whatever that means.

Yeah, I caught that and wondered “what the hell?” Seems to me that the overwhelming majority, if not all, of the people who would be interested in a translation would be from other countries and wouldn’t give a rat’s patoot about said constitution.

Anyone know the straight dope on that one?

I think it was a case of sloppy and incomplete translations in the listings of the countries - they were meant to be in Greek, English and French. The names called out were obviously on the printouts given to the journalists because the narrator for the BBC repeated some of the errors. The one I picked up on was Timor L’Este (sp?) given as the English name for East Timor.

Ivory Coast is called Cote D’Ivoire by Ivorians and other French speakers, but in the English speaking world it still is the Ivory Coast, just as in Spanish it is called la Costa de Marfil.

(Maybe I should start a thread on place names in other languages which would be unrecognisable to the natives.)

Be thankful that we can refer to Hrvatska and Shqiperia by their English names of Croatia and Albania!

Timor officially changed it’s name to Timor-Leste in 2002 when it joined the United Nations (our commentator at the opening ceromony was full of interesting tidbits).

There wasn’t any sloppy translating; Ivory Coast and East Timor simply insist on being referred to in their respective languages. It’s dumb, but there ya go.

Quoth Wikipedia:

You are right, I checked it right after I posted. I found the government website which uses both names, but it appears Timor Leste is what they call themselves now. The BBC commentator could have used the occasion to enlighten the ignorant masses (me included) in the same way the Kiwi one did, instead of just parroting what the stadium announcers said.

Interesting too about the Cote d’Ivoire rule. Let’s see if Hellas and Suomi - to name just a couple - follow suit.

I think the statute of limitations has kind of gone past for those guys. (Côte d’Ivoire, by contrast, became independent in 1960, and Timor-Leste in 2002.)

Incidentally, I don’t know whether Timor Leste has gone to the lengths that Côte d’Ivoire has to insist it be known in Portuguese. After all, in its other official language, Tetum, it’s called Timor Lorosa’e, not Timor Leste. It may have just requested to be known as Timor Leste in international fora (such as the UN and the Olympics) rather than generally, as Côte d’Ivoire did.

If with Ivory Coast you would go to war,
Address your ultimata to Cote d’Ivoire;
But it’s world peace I’d prefer to see;
Timor L’este conturbat me.