National Geographic : 1900 Jan
GEOGRAPHIC NOMENCLATURE tion of the census work in which it is not necessary to handle four or five tons of paper, while the number of clerks and other employes in the office is about 3,000. To organize and govern a force like this, for the most part untrained and collected almost at hazard from the general population, requires far more than ordinary intellectual and executive ability. The census act directs that this immense under taking shall be completed in its main outlines by the 1st of July, 1902, or a little more than two years from the taking of the census. It may be doubted whether Congress knew what is implied in this requirement, but the Director and his assistants are determined to comply with it if possible. In order so to do certain conditions are essential, namely, a sufficient number of clerks, competent clerks, a proper house in which to carry on the work, and non-interference on the part of Senators and Congressmen with the government and discipline of the office. A building in which each of the above pro cesses will be conducted in a single room on the ground floor, lighted by skylights in the roof, has been constructed in a convenient location for the especial use of the Census. GEOGRAPHIC NOMENCLATURE Mr R. T . Hill's discussion of " Porto Rico or Puerto Rico " raises a question which should be settled on a rational and permanent basis as quickly as possible, before the usage of tourists, newspapers and their reporters is more widely claimed as making precedent and constituting authority in the spelling and pronunciation of the geographical names of the countries that have lately come under the United States flag. Mr Hill, whose excellent volume on the West Indies could scarcely have been written without a competent knowledge of the Spanish language, can hardly be serious in alleging that " Puerto" is unphonetic and unpronounceable by English-speaking lips. Still less seriously can he believe that the rules of the Geographic Board are intended to imply the adoption by all nations,untranslated, of such politically significant and often temporary compound names as " The United States," any more than they would require the German Empire to be called " Das Deutsche Reich" in this country. That the supposed difficulty is largely imaginary is plainly shown by the fact that in California far more troublesome names than " Puerto" are spelled as in Spanish, and are yet cor rectly pronounced by all but newcomers to the State. That during the late war the popular pronunciation of Santiago and San Diego was almost identical merely proves the great need of reform in English spelling; it certainly does not argue either that we should adopt the mistake or change the spelling of either name.