Today I stumbled across a document called “Toponymic Guidelines for Map and Other Editors – Estonia,” and spent an unduly long time reading it.1
I think it fascinates me because it reminds me a bit of J.R.R. Tolkien’s descriptions of the etymology and place-names of Middle-Earth, except that Estonia actually exists. I am also delighted beyond reason that there exists something called the United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographic Names, let alone that there have apparently been seven such conferences.
In my defense, I was actually doing work, trying to figure out how to correctly pronounce the name of the Estonian conductor Tõnu Kaljuste for the benefit of WQXR’s announcers. (Still no definitive answer.) ↩