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Peoplese Geographical & Cosmological Names

Astronomical Entities   Land Masses   Islands   Mountains   Deserts   Salt Water Entities   Fresh Water Entities


Why are old geographical names (in English and other European languages) inadequate? 


            Because they are outdated.

            Places were named with no global perspective, and before their full descriptions were known.

                        E.g. Caspian Sea (a lake), Bay of Bengal (a sea).

            Places were named mainly by Europeans, with a European, not a global, perspective.

                        E.g. “Near East” and “Far “East” (i.e. near and far from Europe).  Europe even declared itself a continent!

            Places were sometimes named after the first European explorer to “discover” them.  E.g. Bering Sea, Magellan Strait.

            Centuries ago when many places were named, ethnicity sensitivities were not an issue.  Times have changed.

            In Peoplese, oceans, seas, gulfs, bays, straits, channels, lakes, etc. are correctly identified,

                        and in many cases local geographical names are utilized.

            As for cosmological words, we’re still learning what’s out there (not “up there”).

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Definitions of Geographical Features: 

  continent      A vast land mass surrounded by water.  Planet Earth has six continents: Eurasia, Africa, South America, North America, Antarctica, and Australia.
  mega-peninsula  A gigantic peninsula.  E.g. Europe, India, Indochina, Alaska.
  peninsula    An area of land mainly surrounded by water, connected to a mainland.
  archipelago  A chain of islands.  Many archipelagos are the tops of underwater mountain ranges.
  island      An area of land, smaller than a continent, completely surrounded by water.
  isthmus  A narrow strip of land bordered on both sides by water, connecting two larger bodies of land.
  cay   A small low island.
  ocean  

Uncapitalized, the vast body of salt water that cover’s almost 3/4 of Earth’s surface.
        Capitalized, the 5 large subdivisions of the ocean:  Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, and Antarctic.

  sea   

A body of salt water, within an ocean, marked by two or more adjacent land boundaries. E.g. Sea Caribbean, Sea Bengal, Sea Arabia.

  gulf      A body of salt water almost completely surrounded by land.  E.g. Gulf Mexico, Gulf Great, Gulf Persia
  lagoon      Shallow salt water along a coast with partial barrier to open sea or ocean.
  bay   

A body of salt water, smaller than a gulf, forming an indentation in a shoreline. E.g. Bay Manila, Bay San Franccisco.

  cove  An indentation in a shoreline, smaller than a bay.
  channel   A long, wide navigable route, as between a continent and islands.
  strait   A navigable passage of water connecting two large bodies of water, much shorter and narrower than a channel.
  estuary   The part of the lower course or mouth of a river that mixes with salt water tide.
  river    A large natural channel of fresh water flowing through land.
  stream  A small natural channel of fresh water flowing through land.
  brook   A very small natural channel of fresh water flowing through land.
       Typically brooks empty into streams, which empty into rivers, which empty into seas or oceans – thereby draining the land.
  arroyo   A small steep-sided watercourse or gulch in a desert area, dry except after heavy rains.
  creek   A stream or channel within a coastal marsh.
  canal  A constructed narrow waterway, typically used for navigation or irrigation.
  lake   A body of water completely surrounded by land; natural or artificial (such as formed by a dam).
  pond  A body of water, smaller than a lake, completely surrounded by land, natural or artificial (such as formed by a dam)
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Capitalization

            Capitalize the generic word only if it’s part of the proper name.

                        E.g., Lake Malawi, Ocean Atlantic, but not continent Eurasia, nation Denmark, county Cork, province Quebec.

            Writing “the Atlantic ocean” is comprehensible but clumsy; whereas “the Malawi lake” is accurate only if Malawi has one lake.

 

Word order

            Continent Eurasia, Lake Malawi, River Jordon, Mountain Range American Spine, Mount McKinley, Sea Bengal, Ocean Atlantic.

            But:  First Street, Tulip Avenue, Pine Lane – because the proper name is what is wanted quickly,

                        and in everyday conversation street / avenue / lane, etc. designations are secondary.

 

“the World” is defined by its context. 

  The world of a goldfish is its pond.  The world of a teenybopper is her family, her friends, her school, and what she is familiar with.  The world of an Indian may be India.  The world of a diplomat may be planet Earth.  The world of an astronomer may be the known universe.  Without context, “the world” has no meaning.  

 

Place Name Preferences

            Ideally geographical names should last for millenniums, while geopolitical names come and go.  If more than one name defines a particular place, the ancient / historic name is preferable, unless there is a reason why not.  Peoplese uses “Mesopotamia” and “Persia”, two ancient, beautifully sounding words, for the regions principally occupied by modern nations Iraq and Iran.  Peoplese retains the Biblical name “Canaan”, more recently re-named Palestine.  (The Bible is an important source of geographical names not because it is a religious book but because it is the only surviving ancient text of the region.)  Colonial names are geopolitical names, not geographical names, and should not be retained unless the post-colonial native inhabitants so choose.

            Reasons to abandon an historic place name can be many.  Biblical “Great Sea” (named millenniums before people realized it was a gulf), subsequently renamed (from Latin “midland”) Mediterranean Sea, is in Peoplese “Gulf Great”.  Many lakes were originally dubbed “seas”.  It was a shame to replace beautifully sounding “Ceylon” with neutral sounding “Sri Lanka”.  There’s nothing “central” about the region of far-southern North America currently named “Central America”. 

            And, by the way, “north” is not “up” any more than “west” is “left”.


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