I had lunch with a friend today who asked me a great question. “Why do we call it Mexico City, when it’s Ciudad de Mexico? Why do we call Espana, Spain? Why do we translate the names of cities into our own language? It’s not that the names mean anything once they’re translated.”
Okay, it was actually several questions but he made one powerful point that I had never considered. I know about Middle East, Far East, Near East — all Western-centric references but I never questioned my centricity to place names.
I know that my Latin friends think I live in Estados Unid0s. What will happen to these references as we begin truly to think of ourselves as citizens of the world?