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Thailand Is Changing The Name Of Its Capital City Bangkok

Rebecca Shepherd

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| Last updated 

Thailand Is Changing The Name Of Its Capital City Bangkok

Thailand is changing the name of the capital Bangkok to its local name, according to the Office of the Royal Society (ORST).

The official name change means that Bangkok will now be known as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, but Bangkok will still be recognised.

The new name will not come into effect until it is vetted by a committee in charge of scrutinising all draft bills, the Bangkok Post has reported.

Credit: Flickr/Hans van der Kroef
Credit: Flickr/Hans van der Kroef

Thailand’s Royal Society - which is responsible for academic and linguistic standards - cleared up any confusion after a seemingly innocuous change in punctuation in official guidance sparked a flurry of speculation that the city’s name was being changed.

The Cabinet approved a Royal Society proposal changing the way the capital is referred to internationally from 'Krung Thep Maha Nakhon; Bangkok' to 'Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok)'.

As people sought to divine the meaning behind changing the semicolon to parentheses, many attached great weight on the accompanying explanation that it would 'revise' the name of the capital city and keep the 'former' name in brackets.

Credit: Flickr/Reiner M. Kraemer
Credit: Flickr/Reiner M. Kraemer

The capital is already officially known in the Thai language as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, which literally means 'great city of angels', and most Thais shorten it to just Krung Thep in conversation.

As speculation grew, the Royal Society clarified in a Facebook post on Wednesday that its new guidance was simply a stylistic change.

The government agency explained: "Writing the capital city’s official name with the Roman alphabet can be done both as Krung Thep Maha Nakon and Bangkok," removing any fears from non-Thai speakers about adopting the more complicated name. We just don't adapt very well to change, do we?

Credit: Flickr/Hotel Kaesong
Credit: Flickr/Hotel Kaesong

Even if the Royal Society had meant to change the name to the one used by Thais, however, there is another option that would have been an even greater challenge for foreign tongues.

The Thai name for Bangkok, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, is actually a short form of the capital’s full name, which is rooted in Pali and Sanskrit and is more of a phrase to describe the city than a name: Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.

That is the world’s longest place name, according to Guinness World Records and we dare you to give it a go after a skin full, good luck.

Featured Image Credit: Flickr/Hotel Kaesong

Topics: Travel, News

Rebecca Shepherd
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