Title page


The following table contains languages with non-Roman writing systems as identified in the Report of the Working Group on Toponymic Data Exchange Formats and Standards (7th United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. New York, 13-22 January 1998. Document E/CONF.91/CRP.11). It also contains some other languages mentioned in the toponymic guidelines for individual countries.

Languages are arranged alphabetically after their English name. The names of languages conform to those mentioned in the appropriate United Nations resolutions.

In column 4 the year of the adoption of the system by the United Nations is given. In brackets the first part refers to the United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names, and the part after the slash to the number of the resolution.

In column 5 various other systems are mentioned that could have some international usage. An equation mark (=) will indicate that the systems in question more or less coincide. By national system one would ordinarily mean those adopted by national cartographic services for rendering their geographical names. BGN/PCGN refers to systems jointly adopted by the United States Board on Geographic Names and the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use. Almost all the systems have been published in a book "Romanization Systems and Roman-Script Spelling Conventions" by the Defense Mapping Agency (U.S.) in 1994. I.G.N. stands for Institut gιographique national in France. ISO is the abbreviation of the International Organization for Standardization, and its systems here are presented for the sake of integrity. ISO transliteration schemes are normally not used for rendering geographical names.

Language Writing System Country (Countries) Romanization Systems
United Nations Other
Amharic Ethiopic Ethiopia 1967 (I/17)  
    BGN/PCGN 1967
Arabic Perso-Arabic (General) 1972 (II/8) = BGN/PCGN 1956
    I.G.N. System 1973
    ISO 233:1984 (transliteration); ISO 233-2:1993 (simplified transliteration)
  Algeria (see General)  
  Bahrain (see General)  
  Chad (see General)  
  Comoros (the) (see General)  
  Djibouti (see General)  
  Egypt (see General)  
    National: Survey of Egypt
  Iraq (see General)  
  Israel (see General)  
  Jordan (see General)  
    National: Royal Jordanian Geographic Centre System
  Kuwait (see General)  
  Lebanon (see General)  
  Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (the) (see General)  
  Mauritania (see General)  
  Morocco (see (General)  
  Oman (see General)  
  Qatar (see General)  
  Saudi Arabia (see General)  
  Somalia (see General)  
  Sudan (the) (see General)  
  Syrian Arab Republic (the) (see General)  
  Tunisia (see General)  
  United Arab Emirates (the) (see General)  
  Yemen (see General)  
Armenian Armenian Armenia — BGN/PCGN 1981
    ISO 9985:1996
Assamese Bengali India 1972 (II/11), 1977 (III/12)  
    National: Hunterian System
Byelorussian Cyrillic Belarus — National 1998
    BGN/PCGN 1979
Bengali Bengali Bangladesh 1972 (II/11), 1977 (III/12)  
    National: Hunterian System
  India 1972 (II/11), 1977 (III/12)  
    National: Hunterian System
Bulgarian Cyrillic Bulgaria 1977 (III/10)  
    BGN/PCGN 1952
Burmese Burmese Myanmar — BGN/PCGN 1970
Chinese Chinese China 1977 (III/8) = BGN/PCGN 1979; = ISO 7098:1991
    Modified Wade-Giles (1912)
  Singapore — Modified Wade-Giles (1912)
Dari Perso-Arabic Afghanistan — BGN/PCGN 1958*
Dzongkha Tibetan Bhutan — National 1994
Georgian Georgian Georgia — BGN/PCGN 1981
    ISO 9984:1996
Greek Greek Cyprus 1987 (V/19) = ELOT 743, = ISO 843:1997
  Greece 1987 (V/19) = ELOT 743, = ISO 843:1997
Gujarati Gujarati India 1972 (II/11), 1977 (III/12)  
    National: Hunterian System
Hebrew Hebrew Israel 1977 (III/13) = BGN/PCGN 1962
    ISO 259:1984 (transliteration); ISO 259-2:1994 (simplified transliteration); ISO/DIS 259-3 (phonemic conversion)
Hindi Devanagari India 1972 (II/11), 1977 (III/12)  
    National: Hunterian System
Japanese Sino-Japanese Japan — National: Kunrei-siki (1954), = ISO 3602:1989
    National: Modified Hepburn, = BGN/PCGN
Kannada Kannada India 1972 (II/11), 1977 (III/12)  
    National: Hunterian System
Kazakh Cyrillic Kazakhstan — BGN/PCGN 1979
Khmer Khmer Cambodia 1972 (II/10) = BGN/PCGN 1972
Kirghiz Cyrillic Kyrgyzstan — BGN/PCGN 1979
Korean Korean (General) — McCune Reischauer 1939, = BGN/PCGN
    ISO/TR 11941:1996
  Democratic People's Republic of Korea (the) — National 1992
  Republic of Korea (the) — National: Ministry of Education 1984
Laotian Laotian Lao People's Democratic Republic (the) — National System (= BGN/PCGN 1966)
Macedonian Cyrillic Cyrillic The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 1977 (III/11) = BGN/PCGN 1981
Malayalam Malayalam India 1972 (II/11), 1977 (III/12)  
    National: Hunterian System
Maldivian Divehi (Thaana) Maldives — National 1987 (= BGN/PCGN 1988)
Marathi Devanagari India 1972 (II/11), 1977 (III/12)  
    National: Hunterian System
Mongolian Cyrillic Mongolia — BGN/PCGN 1964
 Mongolian China 1977 (III/8)**  
  Mongolia —  
Nepalese Devanagari Nepal 1972 (II/11), 1977 (III/12)  
    BGN/PCGN 1964
Oriya Oriya India 1972 (II/11), 1977 (III/12)  
    National: Hunterian System
Pashto Perso-Arabic Afghanistan — BGN/PCGN 1968
Persian Perso-Arabic Iran (Islamic Republic of) 1967 (I/13) = BGN/PCGN 1958
Punjabi Gurmukhi India 1972 (II/11), 1977 (III/12)  
    National: Hunterian System
Russian Cyrillic Belarus 1987 (V/18)  
  Kazakhstan 1987 (V/18)  
  Kyrgyzstan 1987 (V/18)  
  Russia 1987 (V/18)  
    BGN/PCGN 1947
    ISO 9:1995 (transliteration)
  Tajikistan 1987 (V/18)  
  Uzbekistan 1987 (V/18)  
Serbo-Croatian CyrillicCyrillic Bosnia and Herzegovina 1977 (III/11)  
  Yugoslavia 1977 (III/11)  
Sinhalese Sinhalese Sri Lanka —  
Tajik Cyrillic Tajikistan — BGN/PCGN 1994
Tamil Tamil India 1972 (II/11), 1977 (III/12)  
    National: Hunterian System
  Singapore 1972 (II/11), 1977 (III/12)  
  Sri Lanka 1972 (II/11), 1977 (III/12)  
Telugu Telugu India 1972 (II/11), 1977 (III/12)  
    National: Hunterian System
Thai Thai Thailand 1967 (I/14) = BGN/PCGN 1970
    ISO 11940:1998 (transliteration)
Tibetan Tibetan China 1977 (III/8)**  
Tigrinya Ethiopic Eritrea — BGN/PCGN 1994
Turkmen Cyrillic Turkmenistan — BGN/PCGN 1979
Uighur Perso-Arabic China 1977 (III/8)**  
Ukrainian Cyrillic Ukraine — National 1996
    BGN/PCGN 1965
Urdu Perso-Arabic India 1972 (II/11), 1977 (III/12)  
    National: Hunterian System
  Pakistan 1972 (II/11), 1977 (III/12)  
    National: Hunterian System
Uzbek Cyrillic Uzbekistan — BGN/PCGN 1979


* The system applies to Persian of which Dari is a variation

** Although the appropriate United Nations resolution does not mention these languages by name, it recognizes the Scheme for a Chinese Phonetic Alphabet (Pinyin) as China's official alphabet scheme and recommends that it be adopted as the international system for the romanization of Chinese geographical names. The Chinese Phonetic Alphabet (Pinyin) covers the direct transcription of Mongolian, Tibetan and Uighur scripts, as well as Chinese.