The Permanent Committee on Geographical Names

 for British Official Use



HomeWork of PCGNOrganization

Importance of geographical namesPCGN documentsContact details


Geographical names on the Internet

United Kingdom place names

United Nations & geographical names

Antarctic place names

English conventional names

Country names

Romanization systems

Related sites

The Permanent Committee on Geographical Names (PCGN) was established in 1919.  Its principal function is  to advise the British Government on policies and procedures for the proper writing of geographical names for places and features outside the United Kingdom, excluding those of the Antarctic..

It provides a unique toponymic perspective on current global political affairs.

One day, a disciple asked Confucius: “If a king were to entrust you with a territory which you could govern according to your ideas, what would you do first?”

Confucius replied: “My first task would certainly be to rectify the names.”

The puzzled disciple asked: “Rectify the names?…Is this a joke?”

Confucius replied: “If the names are not correct, if they do not match realities, language has no object.  If language is without an object, action becomes impossible - and therefore all human affairs disintegrate and their management becomes pointless and impossible.  Hence, the very first task of a true statesman is to rectify the names.”

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