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Cape Verde Changes Official Name
If you read our article on the year 2013 in political geography changes, you've already heard about the change to Cape Verde's official English name. But since keeping track of country name changes is one of the primary missions of Political Geography Now, we are now presenting this in-depth report on the topic.
On October 25, 2013, this West African island country changed its official English name at the U.N., from "Cape Verde" to "Cabo Verde". Unlike other recent country name changes, like those of Libya or Hungary, Cape Verde is changing its short-form official name as well as the long-form one. The long name has also been changed, from "Republic of Cape Verde" to "Republic of Cabo Verde".
In fact, in its own official language of Portuguese the country has always been known as Cabo Verde, meaning "green cape". But curiously, partially translated "Cape Verde" has long been the established English name. Perhaps to avoid the inconvenience of juggling these slightly different appellations, the country's government has now requested to be known only by the fully Portuguese version. It is also promoting a name change in French, from "le Cap-Vert" to just "Cabo Verde".
How Do You Say That?
The traditional English name of the country, Cape Verde, is pronounced "kayp verd". On the other hand, the new name is presumably intended to be pronounced as closely as possible to the Portuguese: approximately "kah-bo vehr-dih" (the "e" at the end is pronounced something like an English "short i"). Our bet is that common English usage will default to either "vehr-day" or "vehr-dee".
What's in a Name Change?
Country Name: |
• Cabo Verde (Portugues, official English)
• Cape Verde (traditional English)
• Republic of Cabo Verde (English)
• República de Cabo Verde (Portugues)
Demonym: Cape Verdean (traditional), Cabo Verdean (official)
What Cape Verde's change will affect is official usage in the United Nations, and diplomats will also be obliged to use the new name in official English communications. Meanwhile, the international standard list of country codes, ISO 3166-1, is based on U.N. usage, meaning that "Cabo Verde" will soon begin appearing on country lists online and elsewhere (though the change hasn't come through quite yet).
Some organizations, like National Geographic, which already favors using native names whenever possible, will also oblige the Cape Verdean government in their publications. However, the majority of news media and average people may be reluctant to make the switch, as has been the case with Ivory Coast and East Timor.
Graphic of the flag of Cape Verde (Cabo Verde) is in the public domain (source).