Sino-Platonic Papers has just released one of its popular back issues as a free PDF. This one, no. 19 (June 1990), deals with the common question of What’s up with that “Peking” spelling, anyway?
As Bosat Man explains in “Backhill / Peking / Beijing”:
The three main contributing factors to the discrepancy between Peking and Beijing are:
- a plethora of romanizations
- a welter of local pronunciations, and
- phonological change over time.
He then goes into detail, especially about the third point. The whole work is just six pages, single spaced. Here it is: “Backhill / Peking / Beijing” (1 MB PDF).