- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2007

In 1989 Burma officially changed its name in English to the Union of Myanmar and renamed the capital, Rangoon, as Yangon, bringing the English names into conformance with their pronunciation in the national tongue.

The military government decreed that the names of states, towns and other geographical sites were to be written in English according to the native pronunciation. The nationality Burmese also was changed to Myanmar.

“Myanmar” has been accepted by the United Nations and increasingly used internationally and in standard references. “Myanmar” functions as both noun and adjective; e.g., “the Myanmar currency,” “Myanmar officials.”

Many who regard the military junta as illegitimate continue to call the country Burma.

Government officials said the change in the country’s name was to better reflect Burma’s ethnic diversity. The term Burma connotes Burman the country’s dominant ethnicity to the exclusion of minorities who have fought for greater autonomy from the central government.

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