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Old 07-27-2003, 11:27 PM
RexDart RexDart is offline
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Country names, their origins, and a minor UN question

The Germans don't call their country Germany. They call it Deutchland.

The Japanese don't call their country Japan. They called it Nippon, and now Nihon.

So where do these names we have for other countries come from, and why do we use them? Don't the citizens of a country basically determine what their country is called? If the Germans call it Deutchland, why do we persist in calling it Germany? Germany isn't a translation of Deutchland, because Deutche doesn't really mean "Germans", it means what it says. They call themselves the Deutche, so that's what they are, right?

And at the UN, do the placards with the countries names use their proper name, what the people of that country call it, or do they use Anglicized names and these other basically made-up names we have?
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Old 07-27-2003, 11:53 PM
chula chula is offline
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In NY the placards are in English. I imagine they might be in French in Geneva, since that's another one of the working languages of the UN.
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Old 07-28-2003, 12:25 AM
commasense commasense is online now
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The Master on the question of Germany/Deutschland.
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Old 07-28-2003, 01:17 AM
Askance Askance is offline
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>Don't the citizens of a country basically determine what their country is called?

In their own language, yes. In others' languages, of course not. They can ask to be known as what ever they like, but there is no imcumbency for someone to change a term in their own language just because someone else asks them to.
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Old 07-28-2003, 06:41 AM
amanset amanset is offline
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Re: Country names, their origins, and a minor UN question

Quote:
Originally posted by RexDart

The Japanese don't call their country Japan. They called it Nippon, and now Nihon.
Really? How/why did that happen?
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Old 07-28-2003, 07:14 AM
Diceman Diceman is offline
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Internet extensions seem to be based on the country's internal name. For example, the extension for German websites is .de
  #7  
Old 07-28-2003, 07:29 AM
everton everton is offline
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This question has been asked before:

Names of Countries, but in other languages.
A question about the word "Germany"
The Dutch Netherlands
What do Chinese people call China?
Why do Germans call their country Deutschland?
Why do we translate countries names
Names of foreign places
etc. etc.

Another question that could be asked is "Why don't people bother running a search before they post to GQ"?
  #8  
Old 07-28-2003, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by AndrewT
In their own language, yes. In others' languages, of course not. They can ask to be known as what ever they like, but there is no imcumbency for someone to change a term in their own language just because someone else asks them to.
That doesn't stop them from trying though! cf Burma / Myanmar and Kazakstan / Kazakhstan.



And Diceman, that is indeed true, because with only one exception that I can think of (uk/gb) the top-level-domains come from the ISO-3166 country codes, and there the individal countries do have a say. (Burma managed to get their ISO3166 country code, and subsequently TLD, changed to MM.
  #9  
Old 07-28-2003, 08:15 AM
Monty Monty is offline
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amanset: It didn't happen. There's more than one pronunciation in Japanese for the name of their country: Nihon/Nippon.
  #10  
Old 07-28-2003, 09:10 AM
amanset amanset is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Monty
amanset: It didn't happen. There's more than one pronunciation in Japanese for the name of their country: Nihon/Nippon.
Ah, OK.

Cheers.
  #11  
Old 07-28-2003, 09:53 AM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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Just in case it wasn't covered in the other links. . .

Some country names courtesy of *Jomo Mojo

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...threadid=85642

Some info on Japan/Nippon/Nihon
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...threadid=83756

*Not to be confused with Mojo Jojo
  #12  
Old 07-28-2003, 12:52 PM
punkkid punkkid is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Monty
amanset: It didn't happen. There's more than one pronunciation in Japanese for the name of their country: Nihon/Nippon.
Actually it's more complicated than that. The Japanese don't have an 'h'. Their 'h' is slightly labialized, so it is something between an 'f' and an 'h.' In the days of exploration, 'pp' was the accepted way of pronouncing this translingually, but now 'h' is more accepted.

But that's a side issue...
  #13  
Old 07-28-2003, 01:50 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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The same applies to cities. Wien=Vienna, Praha=Prague, Mockba (or moskva)=Moscow, etc.
  #14  
Old 08-02-2003, 07:04 AM
universe.zip universe.zip is offline
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I don´t know of any other cases, but it is actually impolite for Finns to call Estonia "Eesti", even though this is the Estonian name for their country. For a variety of historical and cultural reasons it is considered much more appropriate (by Finns and Estonians alike) to use the Finnish name "Viro".

As for the UN: I´m not sure about the placards, IIRC, at the Vienna HQ they are in English. On documents and when speaking, however, they are in the language used (i.e. one of the six official languages), and the interpreters of course use the appropriate name in the language they are interpreting into.
  #15  
Old 08-02-2003, 12:31 PM
xejkh xejkh is offline
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To quote Chefguy:
Mockba (or moskva)=Moscow,

But "Mockba" is Cyrillic. "Mockba" is pronounced "moskva", not "mock-bah".
  #16  
Old 08-02-2003, 01:42 PM
Jayrot Jayrot is offline
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Quote:
Internet extensions seem to be based on the country's internal name. For example, the extension for German websites is .de
'Fraid not.

Japan (Nihon) = .jp
Russia (Rassiya) = .ru
Thailand (Not sure, but probably not Thailand) = .th
China (?) = .cn

English prevails.
  #17  
Old 08-02-2003, 02:13 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by xejkh
To quote Chefguy:
Mockba (or moskva)=Moscow,

But "Mockba" is Cyrillic. "Mockba" is pronounced "moskva", not "mock-bah".
Well, duh, did you read my entire post?
  #18  
Old 08-03-2003, 01:12 AM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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If you read the link to the thread (which was posted here) I guess it boils down to what the country itself wants. Cote De Ivorie means Ivory Coast in French. But until the Ivorians insisted we call it Cote De Ivorie we called it Ivory Coast.

China insists we call it Bejing (Sp??) not Peking. So we do.

The Burma / Myanmar question exists because the United States does not recognize the government that changed the name of the country to Myanmar.

When I went on a tour of the UN the guide said they do rotate the names of the countries in alphabetical order according to a certain language. So the seats in the General Assembly do change. I can't remember what the criteria is offhand though.
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Old 08-03-2003, 02:17 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Beijing.
  #20  
Old 08-03-2003, 09:17 AM
Monty Monty is offline
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Peking & Beijing, IIRC, are actually pronounced identically. They're just different romanization systems.
  #21  
Old 08-03-2003, 09:19 AM
Monty Monty is offline
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So, what about the tone languages? Y'all going to try pronouncing the names of places with the correct tones?
  #22  
Old 10-28-2011, 03:53 PM
MRYuhs MRYuhs is offline
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Why Japan and not Nippon in English

When Japan was first discovered by the English, it was done with Chinese navigators on board. The Chinese call the country Xiapon which sounds like "Japan" in English. Hence the name. The true name of the country is Nihon, or Nippon. Both are correct. One is merely a different dialect from the kansai dialect.
  #23  
Old 10-28-2011, 04:05 PM
leahcim leahcim is offline
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Oddly, the name the undead have for themselves is "RrrrrRrrrrrGrhhhhh". They have no idea where we're getting "Zombie" from.
  #24  
Old 10-28-2011, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRYuhs View Post
When Japan was first discovered by the English, it was done with Chinese navigators on board. The Chinese call the country Xiapon which sounds like "Japan" in English. Hence the name. The true name of the country is Nihon, or Nippon. Both are correct. One is merely a different dialect from the kansai dialect.
Cute story, but wrong. Japan was known to the English (and other Europeans) centuries before any of them ever sailed to it.
  #25  
Old 10-28-2011, 05:06 PM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayrot View Post
'Fraid not.

Japan (Nihon) = .jp
Russia (Rassiya) = .ru
Thailand (Not sure, but probably not Thailand) = .th
China (?) = .cn

English prevails.
However,

Spain (Espana) = .es
Burma (Myanmar) = .mm
Chad (Tchad) = .td
Morocco (Maghrib?) = .ma

and, interestingly enough,

Switzerland (Confoederatio Helvetica) = .ch, which comes from Latin, which I do not believe is a national or official language of the country.

South Africa (Zuid Afrika) = .za , from Dutch, which is not an official language of the country.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country...p-level_domain

Last edited by robert_columbia; 10-28-2011 at 05:07 PM. Reason: wrong domain
  #26  
Old 10-28-2011, 05:42 PM
hibernicus hibernicus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRYuhs View Post
The true name of the country is Nihon, or Nippon. Both are correct. One is merely a different dialect from the kansai dialect.

They are not different dialects. The two pronunciations are used by speakers of kansai dialect and kantou dialect. The use varies with context.
  #27  
Old 10-28-2011, 05:50 PM
ctnguy ctnguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
South Africa (Zuid Afrika) = .za , from Dutch, which is not an official language of the country.
When the "ZA" abbreviation was first assigned to South Africa in 1936 - as an international vehicle registration code, not a TLD of course - Dutch was still an official language. (And Afrikaans spelling was not completely formalised, so that even in Afrikaans it might have been spelled with a Z.)

Last edited by ctnguy; 10-28-2011 at 05:52 PM.
  #28  
Old 10-28-2011, 05:56 PM
njtt njtt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post

South Africa (Zuid Afrika) = .za , from Dutch, which is not an official language of the country.
More likely from Afrikaans, which derives from Dutch, and is an official language of the country (one of eleven). I am not exactly sure when these national domains were assigned, but probably it was when Afrikaans speakers were still the ruling elite (it is still the most widely spoken language amongst South African whites).
  #29  
Old 10-29-2011, 07:10 AM
ctnguy ctnguy is offline
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
More likely from Afrikaans, which derives from Dutch, and is an official language of the country (one of eleven). I am not exactly sure when these national domains were assigned, but probably it was when Afrikaans speakers were still the ruling elite (it is still the most widely spoken language amongst South African whites).
Afrikaans spells it "Suid-Afrika". (It is possible, though, that in 1936 when the code was first used Afrikaans spelling was not completely standardised.)
  #30  
Old 10-29-2011, 08:16 AM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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A couple of points:

Cote d'Ivoire (preferably with circumflex over the first o) is the official name of the country in {their official language? / one of their official languages?}, French, which is the standard lingua franca and official government-use language between their ethnic groups. They've requested it be used rather than English, German, etc. translations of its meaning. Kind of like we don't translate Republica de Argentina to "Silvery Republic." (Note that it's "Ivoire", not Ivorie", as misued in one of the linked threads. The adjective form in English (and I believe French) is "cotedivoirian".)

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
Switzerland (Confoederatio Helvetica) = .ch, which comes from Latin, which I do not believe is a national or official language of the country.
Yes, Latin is not an official or national language there, but it was a language in common knowledge until very recently. And the Latin designation, chosen specifically for its neutrality, is the official name, which avoids giving preference to any of the three official-language forms: Schwyz, Suisse, or Svissera.

Last edited by Polycarp; 10-29-2011 at 08:20 AM.
  #31  
Old 10-29-2011, 12:00 PM
Hypnagogic Jerk Hypnagogic Jerk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polycarp View Post
The adjective form in English (and I believe French) is "cotedivoirian".)
In French, it's simply "ivoirien". Would "ivoirian" be correct in English?

Quote:
Yes, Latin is not an official or national language there, but it was a language in common knowledge until very recently. And the Latin designation, chosen specifically for its neutrality, is the official name, which avoids giving preference to any of the three official-language forms: Schwyz, Suisse, or Svissera.
Actually "Schweiz" in German and "Svizzera" in Italian. The word "Schweiz" does derive from "Schwyz", which is a city and (founding) canton in Switzerland.
  #32  
Old 10-29-2011, 04:46 PM
RadicalPi RadicalPi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypnagogic Jerk View Post
In French, it's simply "ivoirien". Would "ivoirian" be correct in English?
Yes. Ivoirian (I usually pronounce eye-vwor*-ee-in.)

* Pronounced like the word war with a v in front of it.
  #33  
Old 10-29-2011, 06:42 PM
thelurkinghorror thelurkinghorror is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
Switzerland (Confoederatio Helvetica) = .ch, which comes from Latin, which I do not believe is a national or official language of the country.
It's not one of the four languages, but it is an bias-free choice so they don't have to choose between Schweiz, Suisse, Svizzera, or Svizra (nobody expects the Romansh!). The only Swiss citizens who might be expected to speak Latin are the Swiss Guards, living in the Vatican and all.

Add to the list of countries with official foreign names in English is "the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste," better known as East Timor.
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:26 AM
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And, in case you wonder, "sa" is the code for Saudi Arabia.
  #35  
Old 10-31-2011, 07:52 AM
EKDS5k EKDS5k is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by punkkid View Post
Actually it's more complicated than that. The Japanese don't have an 'h'. Their 'h' is slightly labialized, so it is something between an 'f' and an 'h.' In the days of exploration, 'pp' was the accepted way of pronouncing this translingually, but now 'h' is more accepted.

But that's a side issue...
I know that this is like 8 years old, but where does this come from? There is definitely an 'h' sound in Japanese, and there is a difference in pronunciation between Nihon and Nippon.
  #36  
Old 10-31-2011, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayrot View Post
'Fraid not.

Japan (Nihon) = .jp
Russia (Rassiya) = .ru
Thailand (Not sure, but probably not Thailand) = .th
China (?) = .cn

English prevails.
Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
However,

Spain (Espana) = .es
Burma (Myanmar) = .mm
Chad (Tchad) = .td
Morocco (Maghrib?) = .ma
And actually, the list from Jayrot could also be from French (Japan, Rusia, Thailand, China if I'm not mistaken). Given how recently French was the prevailing trade language, I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case. Anyway, I imagine it was a matter of what each country wanted to have as their symbol and whether it was already "taken", and those cited begin by not using the Latin alphabet (us "our country's name begins with an E, damnit, not an S" being the exception).
  #37  
Old 10-31-2011, 09:36 AM
Hypnagogic Jerk Hypnagogic Jerk is offline
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
And actually, the list from Jayrot could also be from French (Japan, Rusia, Thailand, China if I'm not mistaken).
In French? It'd be Japon, Russie, Thaïlande and Chine. (But yes, all those abbreviations work in French as well.)
  #38  
Old 10-31-2011, 09:53 AM
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Those "abbreviations" are the ISO 3166-1 country codes.
  #39  
Old 10-31-2011, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayrot View Post
Thailand (Not sure, but probably not Thailand) = .th
Prathet Thai

Quote:
China (?) = .cn
Chung-Kuo or Zhongguo
  #40  
Old 10-31-2011, 02:03 PM
thelurkinghorror thelurkinghorror is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EKDS5k View Post
I know that this is like 8 years old, but where does this come from? There is definitely an 'h' sound in Japanese, and there is a difference in pronunciation between Nihon and Nippon.
I am no Japanese expert, but the "h" syllable line goes: "ha hi fu he ho" in modern Romanization systems like Hepburn. The "fu" is a sound that is between English "fu" and "hu," sort of an aspirated(?) "f" sound. I have never heard that the same occurs in ha, hi, he, and ho, so my puzzlement matches yours, although maybe someone more knowledgeable can chime in.
  #41  
Old 10-31-2011, 02:08 PM
hibernicus hibernicus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EKDS5k View Post
I know that this is like 8 years old, but where does this come from? There is definitely an 'h' sound in Japanese, and there is a difference in pronunciation between Nihon and Nippon.
Correct. The (ancient) post you are replying to was wrong in implying that Nihon and Nippon are two ways of representing the same pronunciation.
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Old 11-01-2011, 01:01 AM
EKDS5k EKDS5k is offline
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Er, so there's no confusion, I speak passable Japanese, lived there for a while, etc etc insert more internet showboating here, and I'm fully aware that the post I quoted was completely wrong. I'm just wondering where they got the idea.
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