Sunday, 22 June 2008

Basel or Basle

Right then, I'd like to get something out of the way.

Some of you might have wondered why I have insisted up till now on writing 'Basle' instead of 'Basel'. It was because 'Basle' is, strictly speaking, still the UK spelling (pronounced "Baarl", an anglicised version of the French 'Bâle'). However, I have to admit that, other than on this blog - and like most other English-speaking ex-pats living here - I normally pronounce and spell the city's name as 'Basel'. This, of course, is the common usage among locals and within German-speaking regions. People in the US also spell it like that.

In recent years, 'Basel' has increasingly also become the more recognised English spelling. Switzerland's two big banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, have been spelling it as 'Basel' in their English correspondence for many years now. Basel Tourismus, the local tourist board, even asked the BIS (Bank for International Settlements) to use 'Basel II' instead of 'Basle II' when referring to the Revised International Capital Framework which it published in 2004.

Using 'Basle' for this blog was a self-conscious attempt on my part, I'm afraid, to cling on to something which, to my mind, now sounds slightly twee and outdated, and "ever so British". I suppose I was trying to be a bit contrary but also demonstrably non-American. But sod that. With immediate effect, I shall now be writing Basel instead!

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