We’ve written before about Lithuania considering a country name change for the English language. Neighbouring Estonia has also considered changing the transcription in English (and in other languages) of its name. It was once proposed by Estonian journalist Eerik-Niiles Kross after he encountered an article by Darcy Wyatt, an American writer, in which she celebrated the fact of having been born in the US instead of having been born elsewhere:
‘I was this close to getting seriously down on myself when I remembered something I definitely have done right in my life: I was born in the USA! Just think where I could’ve been born: North Korea, Estonia, Cambodia, Burkina Faso. I could be dead by now, killed by starvation, malaria, tidal wave, rebel insurgents, drought, civil war, well poisoning, a land mine…’
Obviously, Kross deduced that Ms. Wyatt and most average Americans really had no idea where Estonia was, and that she had grouped Estonia with the other countries just because a country named ‘Estonia’ sounded remote and ‘Third World’ to America ears. Consequently Kross elaborated that the ‘Estonia’ transcription in English was doing the country a disfavour, and suggested the transcription to change to ‘Estland’ (which is the country’s name in Danish, Dutch, German, Swedish, Norwegian and other Germanic languages). Another reason for change would be the positive association with Western countries enjoying good reputation. According to Kross, ‘Estonia’ sounded like Armenia, Romania or Moldavia, while ‘Estland’ would feel cognate to England, Finland, Switzerland, Scotland or Ireland.