English conventional names are
recognised English-language forms of foreign geographical
names, such as Moscow, Cologne or Rome.
The use of these names depends very much on the
preference of the user and the context in which they are to
be encountered. As a general guide, PCGN would
recommend the use of English names in the following cases:
▪ For names of features beyond any sovereignty, eg
South China Sea, Atlantic Ocean, so as not to attribute
sovereignty to any one country.
▪ For names of features beyond a single sovereignty (ie.
shared/divided), eg Danube, Alps, so as not to attribute
sovereignty to one country. Local spellings can also be
▪ Established conventional names, eg Munich, Vienna,
can also be used in English-language texts, or on
▪ For most
large-scale maps, local forms should be used.
Country names, eg. Germany
not Deutschland, as these names form part of the vocabulary
of the English language.
PCGN does not support the preservation of obsolete
conventionals, eg. Lyons, Leghorn. As English language
changes, so certain names go out of use.