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Because they are outdated.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 (an oceansea).
Places were named mainly by Europeans, with a European, not a global,
E.g. “Near East” and “Far “East” (i.e. near and far eastward from
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, oceanseas, gulfs, bays, straits, channels, lakes,
are correctly identified,
and in many cases local geographical names are utilized.
Satellite imagery is used..
As for cosmological words, we’re still learning what’s out there (not
Definitions of Geographical
vast land mass surrounded by water. Planet Earth has six
continents: Eurasia, Africa, South America, North America, Antarctica,
gigantic peninsula. E.g. Europe, India, Indochina, Alaska.
||An area of
land mainly surrounded by water, connected to a mainland.
||A chain of
islands. Many archipelagos are the tops of
underwater mountain ranges.
||An area of
land, smaller than a continent, completely surrounded by
strip of land bordered on both sides by water, connecting two
larger bodies of land.
the vast body of salt water that cover’s almost 3/4 of
Capitalized, the 5 large
subdivisions of the ocean: Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic,
body of salt water, within an ocean, marked by two or more adjacent
land boundaries. E.g. Caribbean Oceansea, Bengal Oceansea, Arabia Oceansea.
||A body of
salt water almost completely surrounded by land.
E.g. Mexico Gulf, Persia Gulf.
salt water along a coast with partial barrier to open sea or
body of salt water, smaller than a gulf, forming an indentation in a
shoreline. E.g. Manila Bay, San Francisco Bay.
indentation in a shoreline, smaller than a bay.
wide navigable route, as between a continent and islands.
navigable passage of water connecting two large bodies of water, much
shorter and narrower than a channel.
of the lower course or mouth of a river that mixes with salt
natural channel of fresh water flowing through land.
||A small natural channel of fresh water flowing through land.
Typically brooks empty into rivers, which empty into oceanseas or oceans – thereby
steep-sided watercourse or gulch in a desert area, dry except
after heavy rains.
constructed narrow waterway, typically used for navigation or
||A body of
water completely surrounded by land; natural, or artificial
(such as formed by a dam).
||A body of
water, smaller than a lake, completely surrounded by land,
natural or artificial (such as formed by a dam)
Capitalize the generic word only if it’s part of the proper name.
E.g., Lake Malawi, Ocean Atlantic, but not continent Eurasia, nation
Danmark, county Cork, province Quebec.
Writing “the Atlantic ocean” is comprehensible but clumsy; whereas “the
Malawi lake” is accurate only if Malawi has one lake.
Therefore adding "the" is not necessary..
Recommended (but not required): Continent Eurasia, Lake Malawi,
River Jordon, Mountain Range American
Spine, Mount McKinley,
Oceansea Bengal, Ocean Atlantic. If preferred, can also
write: Atlantic Ocean, Jordan River, etc.
But: First Street, Tulip Avenue, Pine Lane – because the
name is what is wanted quickly,
and in everyday conversation street / avenue / lane, etc. designations
“the World” is
defined by its context.
world of a goldfish is its bowl or pond. The world of a
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
Earth. The world of an astronomer may be the known
universe. Without context, “the world” has no meaning.
Ideally geographical names should last for millenniums, while
geopolitical names come and go. If more than one name defines
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.
retains the Biblical name “Canaan”, more recently re-named
Palestine and Israel. (The Bible is an important source of
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 "Mediteranean Gulf" (spelled with one "r"). Many
were originally dubbed “seas”. There’s
about the region of far-southern North America currently named “Central
And, by the way, “north” is not “up” any more than “west” is “left”.