[Mansa-l] "Segou," "Ségou," or "Segu" in English?

Martin Klein martin.klein at utoronto.ca
Fri Jan 30 10:01:18 CST 2015

I think that Segou is fine. It is more common and if my memory is 
correct, is used in Mali. We academics respect new official 
orthographies, but the countries that proclaim them often stick to old 
spellings. It is really not necessary to preserve the diacritical marks 
in English. Let me remind you that Munchen is Munich in English, Londres 
is London in English, and Roma is Rome. I do not think anyone is 
terribly bothered.

Martin Klein

On 1/30/2015 10:16 AM, dzo at bisharat.net wrote:
> Minor question about nomenclature occasioned by an encounter on 
> Wikipedia: Which spelling of the Malian city - Segu, Ségou, or Segou - 
> is more common in academic and professional literature in English? 
> Over the years I recall seeing "Segou" more in development literature 
> and "Segu" more in literature on pre-colonial history. Occasionally 
> the French spelling - i.e., "Ségou" with the accent aigu - is also 
> encountered in English, but that seemed to be the exception (the 
> accent not being necessary for pronunciation or disambiguation, and 
> being inconvenient to produce on standard QWERTY keyboards).
> The English Wikipedia however titles its article "Ségou"/1 and a 
> suggestion to rename it either "Segu" or "Segou" has met with strong 
> opposition/2 based on the assertion that the city is referenced in 
> English language "reliable sources" more often in the French 
> (accented) spelling - a claim that surprised me and has since neither 
> been verified nor disproven.
> Thanks in advance for any feedback on the subject.
> Don Osborn
> 1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A9gou
> 2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:S%C3%A9gou (scroll down page to 
> section about proposed "move" to a new title)
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