Town's New Proposed Name Looks Like a Typo

It's !Nami#nus
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 26, 2015 10:13 AM CST
This Jan. 17, 2013, file photo shows houses in the southern Namibian town of Luderitz.   (AP Photo / File)

(Newser) – A linguistic storm is brewing in Luderitz, where some residents of the remote Namibian town are protesting plans to change its name to !Nami#nus. Those are not typographical errors: The name, proposed by some government officials and tribal authorities, incorporates click-like sounds in the language spoken by the Nama ethnic group in the southern African nation. Those sounds are often represented in written form with punctuation symbols.

But Luderitz resident Crispin Clay says the proposed name could hurt the "international reputation" of coastal Luderitz as a tourist destination and might not be recognized by computers and websites. The town was named after German colonizer Adolf Luderitz. The Germans slaughtered tens of thousands of Nama and Herero people after local rebellions in the early 20th century.

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