More on Beijing, Peking and name changes

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Lilli Lee asks if we can still order Peking Duck, or whether we now have to ask for Beijing Duck. Some names are fixed, and regardless of other changes in the language, they remain. Strangely, this has happened three times with phrases containing the word duck: we can still order Peking Duck and Bombay Duck (not Mumbai Duck), and the species of duck known as the Muscovy Duck has not changed its name to Moscow Duck.

The Bombay Stock Exchange has not changed its name either, and I don’t see any suggestion that the Indian film industry should become known as Mollywood instead of Bollywood.

We now travel to Livorno instead of Leghorn, but leghorn is still a breed of chicken, and a type of straw hat.

One Comment

  1. It’s not just Peking duck. We still talk about Pekinese dumplings, Pekinese cuisine, etc. I just wonder where the “Peking” pronunciation came from in the first place. The closest Chinese dialect is Cantonese “Pak King”, while “Beijing” is an accurate romanization of Putonghua.

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