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PCGNPermanent Committee on Geographical Names
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According to Catherine, current head of the PCGN, 'there are lots of very sensitive names and if the wrong one is used in a certain context that is definitely dangerous.' She points in particular to the recent renaming of the country now known as 'North Macedonia'.
Though country names are only a small part of the PCGN's work they represent the most prominent example of name choices.
That's not to say that the PCGN is beholden to the requests of other governments.
To avoid conferring sovereignty on one country unintentionally the PCGN advise that the government use the English language name that already exists--Liancourt Rocks--ironically derived from the French ship that originally 'discovered' the rock.
In most other cases the PCGN position is to try and use local names, a task that entails finding the correct names in the first place.
The systems are either devised by other countries for their own script, or by the PCGN and the BGN.
Catherine says the team has noticed a real push internationally, particularly at the UN level, to recognise these languages and that the PCGN has followed suit.
The final big task for the PCGN is to represent the British government at the biennial meeting of UNGEGN, the UN group whose goal is to promote the international standardisation of geographical names.
The general rule from the PCGN is that conventional English names such as Munich or Rome are still perfectly acceptable for informal use, but that countries may prefer the use of a locally standardised name.