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Colombia not Columbia!

Helping people to understand the difference between ‘Colombia’ and ‘Columbia’!

You’ve no idea how irritated Colombians get when people spell their country’s name wrong! (and I can certainly relate to that, after having my name [Naomi] spelled a thousand different ways!). I think some people think that ‘Colombia’ is just the Spanish spelling and that ‘Columbia’ is the English spelling. In fact, ‘Colombia’, the country, is spelled the same way in both languages!

To briefly summarize:

Colombia = the South American country.

Columbia = a US university; a film production company; half of the name of a Canadian state etc.
Perhaps we can have a T-shirt campaign to help people understand the difference? 🙂 Here’s my attempt below on a T-shirt design website I discovered!


2 Comments on Colombia not Columbia!

  1. I understand that the issue is one of identity and branding. Colombians want to assert their identity and make a name for themselves. In that respect, I can see why they are annoyed by misspellings. However, from a non-Colombian point of view, this annoyance seems petty (based on an inferiority complex?). With some major languages (e.g., English, German) naming the places that Columbus visited after him with a “u,” it should not cause so much posturing and annoyance when ignorant and well-meaning foreigners misspell the darn name (I say darn, because if I were a Colombian, I’d rather not be named after a historical figure with such a track record of cruelty).

    • I think it’s less a case of Colombians wanting to make a name for themselves and more a case of wishing the world would spell the name of their country correctly. Christopher Columbus was actually the anglicized version of the Italian name Cristoforo Colombo, and Colombia the country is written the same in English as in Spanish. I understand their annoyance as my name is regularly spelt incorrectly and I don’t think it’s petty to wish that people would pay more attention to the way it’s actually spelt!

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