Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-28-2005, 04:41 PM
JohnBckWLD JohnBckWLD is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Seaford Long Island, NY
Posts: 4,061
Certain Languages Change The Names Of Geographic Places - Can You Provide Examples?

I don't know if my general question has a specific answer - so I'm gonna put this into IMHO. I guess this query is a combination: what languages, which places and why thread poll.

In English, there are quite a number of places in which the native name of a location is changed to the point of being completely unrecognizable. I'm not talking about oceans, deserts, mountains or seas - I'm referring to places people live. I don't know if my OP title is clear - what I'm trying to figure out is why do English speaking peoples refer to (for example):

Osterreich as Austria? Instead or either what Austrians refer to it as - or as it translates: Eastern State. Maybe it's the umlaut.

Espana as Spain? Is it because of that squiggly thing over the 'N'?

Italia as Italy or Roma as Rome? It can't be a spelling thing in this case. And if you ask me, the native names of those places sound much nicer.

Deutschland as Germany? I realize the word Germany probably has it English roots on the pre-unification Germanic tribes - but the people of Germany call themselves Deutch and their nation Deutschland - Why don't the English speaking people do the same?

Anyway, I'm admittedly ignorant about most other languages. I know the Spanish refer to the the city I live in as Neuva York - and that I completely understand. They chose to translate the word new into their language, which is fine by me. On the other hand, if the Spanish chose instead to refer to NY as Taco Delmingo, I'd be a little perplexed.

Poll Question: Do you know any non-English languages where the geographical names of English-speaking places are changed as dramatically as Schweiz being referred to as Switzerland?
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 03-28-2005, 05:11 PM
capybara capybara is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Citizen of the World
Posts: 4,989
Belgium's full of them, of course, and the French towns near the border have other names with the Flemings. Some towns have different names depending on if you speak Dutch or French: Mons/ Bergen (a translation issue), Braine-la-Chateau/ Brakel (also translation), Liege/ Luik/ Lttich (last one the German version), Gent/Gand/Ghent, Lille in Flemish is Rijssel; Colonge/ Kln/ Keulen.
Why? Sometimes things are easier to pronounce, from the time first contact was made or later; or the name was transliterated into a new language at one point and then the pronounciation shifted or transliteration was improved (Beijing/ Peking) or the name is a toponym that's been literally translated (like Mons/ Bergen: "Mountain" or "Hill" or something; Austria in Spanish and English (from Latin root I suppose), sterreich, Oostenrijk: eastern kingdom). Sometimes it's that these people call themselves "The True Human Noble People on the Earth" and their neigbors call the same group "Filthy Eaters of Dog" or "The Barbarians who Can't Speak Correctly." Or a third group asked the second group here who the first were and got the nasty version (I think this was the case with some indigineous American groups-- isn't that the deal with "Eskimo" for the Inuit, or is that UL?)
  #3  
Old 03-28-2005, 05:45 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 36,859
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBckWLD
Poll Question: Do you know any non-English languages where the geographical names of English-speaking places are changed as dramatically as Schweiz being referred to as Switzerland?
Code:
Danish  	Schweiz
Dutch 	Zwitserland
English 	Switzerland
Finnish 	Sveitsi
French 	Suisse
German 	Schweiz
Greek 	Ελβετία
Hungarian 	Svjc
Italian 	Svizzera
Portuguese 	Sua
Spanish 	Suiza
Swedish 	Schweiz
Polish 	Szwajcaria
Russian 	Швейцария
Arabic 	سويسرا
Japanese 	スイス
  #4  
Old 03-28-2005, 06:06 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 36,859
Oops, I posted before I finished. Seems like several of those names for Switzerland would give the English version a good run - Dutch, obviously, and perhaps Polish as well. And Greek uses a form of the Roman name for the country: Helvetia, which the name the Swiss themselves use on coins.

This happens in all languages. Spanish calls Norge Noruega (Norway), Deutschland Alemania (Germany), and Sverige Suecia (Sweden).
  #5  
Old 03-28-2005, 06:09 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 36,859
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBckWLD
Deutschland as Germany? I realize the word Germany probably has it English roots on the pre-unification Germanic tribes - but the people of Germany call themselves Deutch and their nation Deutschland - Why don't the English speaking people do the same?
The Master speaks: Why are there so many names for Germany, AKA Deutschland, Allemagne, etc.?
  #6  
Old 03-29-2005, 02:03 AM
MEBuckner MEBuckner is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Posts: 11,393
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBckWLD
Poll Question: Do you know any non-English languages where the geographical names of English-speaking places are changed as dramatically as Schweiz being referred to as Switzerland?
In French England, Scotland, and Wales are Angleterre, Ecosse, and Pays de Galles; across the Atlantic Newfoundland is Terre-Neuve.
  #7  
Old 03-29-2005, 02:08 AM
Sublight Sublight is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 10,287
Well, Japanese does this for almost all place names, simply because it lacks the sounds to render them exactly in their native pronunciation.

A few that really get changed, though:
England - Igirisu (no idea where that came from)
America - Beikoku (long and torturous explanation for where this comes from (and why the characters mean "Rice Country"). Despite being used in the South Park Chinpokomon episode, nobody actually uses it when speaking, only when writing (and then not very often). The common name is Amerika)
China - Chuugoku ("Middle Kingdom")
Korea - Kankoku
North Korea - Kita Chousen
Soviet Union - Soren

And then there's that whole Nippon/Japan thing.
  #8  
Old 03-29-2005, 04:32 AM
Cat Jones Cat Jones is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Semi-Welsh in Paris
Posts: 1,153
IMHO I'd imagine that it comes down to history - was a place significant enough to merit a translation into your language and did you feel that you needed to 'explain' what that place was? Did you and that place have a shared linguistic heritage ? Did you first come into contact with that place while your language was still evolving?

I'd guess that the names of the Latin American countries are the same in most languages as they are recent inventions.

The 'angle' root of England is common to most European languages as they 'decided' on the name for the country the Angles were the dominant tribe but the Welsh for England (Lloegyr) means 'lost land' and the English for Cymru (Wales) means 'land of foreigners'. The only English cities / towns with their 'Welsh' names are those such as Oxford (Rhydychen) which were of enough significance to Welsh people to need a name.

Between France and England the places where the names are changed (although not unrecognisably) are ports like 'Dunkirk/Dunkirque', 'Dover/Douvres' and the capital cities.

The ones that confuse me are when the name of the country and the name of the nationality differ in Italian for example German is Tedesco but the country in Germania ... oh and I have no idea where Polish, which has guessable Francja and Brytania, gets 'Wlochy' for Italy !
  #9  
Old 03-29-2005, 07:43 AM
Napier Napier is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Mid Atlantic, USA
Posts: 8,800
Key West, the westernmost island in the Florida Keys, evolved out of the French for bone due to many animal bones there IIRC. I think the word for bone looked related to the root "osteo-", maybe something like "ousse", which sounds like "wes". At lest, this is what I heard.

What we call "Munich" in the US is spelled "Meunchen" in Munich. Actually, instead of the "eu" they use a "u" with an umlaut, but I understand "eu" is a correct substitute when you don't know how to get an umlauted character (which on SDMB I don't).
  #10  
Old 03-29-2005, 08:08 AM
Nava Nava is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 36,389
For some reason, people who speak English insist on referring to

Sevilla as Seville
Zaragoza as Saragossa

and on doing funny things to the pronunciation of most other towns (poor Barcelona becomes something that sounds like Barrsiiilunah, Burgos becomes Baugou, Toledo becomes Tolido)

Key West comes from the Spanish Cayo Hueso. Cayo is a small island, Hueso means bone. Key Biscayne is Cayo Vizcaino - the guy who first mapped that area was from Vizcaya.

A lot of these come from an effort to conserve the original pronunciation while not asking "how do you spell it" - the same happens to my name, which is spelled Mariluz in Spanish but MariLou in English.
  #11  
Old 03-29-2005, 08:35 AM
Colibri Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 36,859
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Jones
The ones that confuse me are when the name of the country and the name of the nationality differ
The best example in English is probably "Dutch" for people from the Netherlands/Holland.

In Latin America everyone calls people from Costa Rica ticos, although costarricense exists.
  #12  
Old 03-29-2005, 10:37 AM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Not here. There.
Posts: 18,667
Rome and Roma

Could the English names of very old cities of common parlance have evolved in the same way that common words of the language did? Many nouns in Old English had complex systems of case endings which mostly merged to -e and eventually became silenced. We all know that the terminal es used to be pronounced; if you try that on the word "Rome" it sounds an awful lot like "Roma".
  #13  
Old 03-29-2005, 10:43 AM
matt_mcl matt_mcl is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Montreal
Posts: 20,201
Canada being a bilingual country, there are official lists as to which geographical names are translated and which are not.

All provinces have bilingual names: in about half the cases, they're the same except that the French has a definite article (la Saskatchewan), but in the other half, the name is translated (la Nouvelle-cosse, la Colombie-Britannique, Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador, l'le-du-Prince-douard, les Territoires du Nord-Ouest).

The rest are "features of pan-Canadian geographical interest" (large important ones, or ones of which most Canadians have heard: Hudson Bay/la baie d'Hudson, the St. Lawrence River/le fleuve Saint-Laurent, Cape Breton Island/l'le du Cap-Breton.

According to the federal government, with very few exceptions names of cities are not to be translated; you are therefore supposed to write "Qubec" or "the city or Qubec" in both official languages, not Quebec City. (Since provinces are translated, of course, you're supposed to write "Qubec, Quebec". ) Needless to say, nobody does this and English speakers universally call it Quebec City.

As for names of other geographical, there's nothing at all unusual about languages having their own names for places where they speak other languages. Languages have their own names for nearly all countries, (most of the exceptions being very recently created ones, though not even all of those -- although it asked to be called Timor-Leste, nearly all English speakers call it East Timor, and even Cte d'Ivoire is still working on it).

Quote:
The best example in English is probably "Dutch" for people from the Netherlands/Holland.
As I understand it, the word originally meant German (Deutsch); there are a few early citations for the word in that sense, and of course there's the German-speaking Pennsylvania Dutch; somehow it got applied to a Germanic-speaking people next door.

Quote:
In Latin America everyone calls people from Costa Rica ticos, although costarricense exists.
Doesn't "tico" come from the Costa Rican habit of using the diminutive suffix -tico as a diminutive (as other Spanish dialects use -ito)?
  #14  
Old 03-29-2005, 11:27 AM
Colibri Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 36,859
Quote:
Originally Posted by matt_mcl
As I understand it, the word originally meant German (Deutsch); there are a few early citations for the word in that sense, and of course there's the German-speaking Pennsylvania Dutch; somehow it got applied to a Germanic-speaking people next door.
Actually, it has been pretty common in the U.S. to refer to anyone of German extraction as a "Dutchman" - more so in the past than it is now. One case is baseball Hall-of-Famer John "Honus" Wagner, of German extraction, whose knickname was "The Flying Dutchman." Another is the German-Jewish gangster Arthur Simon Flegenheimer, aka "Dutch Schultz."


Quote:
Doesn't "tico" come from the Costa Rican habit of using the diminutive suffix -tico as a diminutive (as other Spanish dialects use -ito)?
That's my understanding.
  #15  
Old 03-29-2005, 11:39 AM
AskNott AskNott is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Anderson, IN,USA
Posts: 14,572
I'm told that in France, Versailles is "Vair-sigh," with that French growl on the r. The town of Versailles in Indiana, US, is "Ver-sails."
  #16  
Old 03-29-2005, 12:54 PM
Mithril Mithril is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 881
Quote:
Originally Posted by Napier
What we call "Munich" in the US is spelled "Meunchen" in Munich. Actually, instead of the "eu" they use a "u" with an umlaut, but I understand "eu" is a correct substitute when you don't know how to get an umlauted character (which on SDMB I don't).
Close. 'ue' is the substitute for u with an um laut. 'Eu' is pronounced like 'oy' (Remember Euler's method in math class?). Munich is Muenchen auf Deutsch.
  #17  
Old 03-29-2005, 02:45 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Portman Road
Posts: 17,369
Previous threads on this topic:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=285753
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...ad.php?t=42924
  #18  
Old 03-29-2005, 04:35 PM
suranyi suranyi is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 7,405
The bottom line is that all languages do things like this, for a combination of historical and linguistic reasons. Compiling a list is entertaining, but not very enlightening.

Ed
  #19  
Old 03-30-2005, 12:17 AM
shijinn shijinn is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: waist deep in ink
Posts: 4,197
my japanese is weak. but i'll try anyway till someone corrects me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sublight
... England - Igirisu (no idea where that came from)
sounds like 'english' to me.
Quote:
America - Beikoku (long and torturous explanation for where this comes from (and why the characters mean "Rice Country"). Despite being used in the South Park Chinpokomon episode, nobody actually uses it when speaking, only when writing (and then not very often). The common name is Amerika)
this sounds like the chinese word for America. (mei guo)
Quote:
China - Chuugoku ("Middle Kingdom")
from the chinese word for China. (zhong guo)
Quote:
Korea - Kankoku
from the chinese word for Korea. (han guo)
Quote:
North Korea - Kita Chousen
from the chinese word for North Korea. (bei chao xian)
Quote:
Soviet Union - Soren
from the chinese word for the Soviet Union. (su lian)
  #20  
Old 03-30-2005, 05:01 AM
China Guy China Guy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 10,847
Chinese place names have changed considerably. More accurately, the romanization/standardization of chinese has changed. Peking to beijing, Nanking to Nanjing, Canton to Guangzhou, etc.

Basically, global media switched to the mainland pinyin system about 1980 and all these place names then switched to the new nomenclature.
  #21  
Old 05-05-2005, 07:41 AM
Gymnopithys Gymnopithys is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri
Code:
Danish  	Schweiz
Dutch 	Zwitserland
English 	Switzerland
Finnish 	Sveitsi
French 	Suisse
German 	Schweiz
Greek 	Ελβετία
Hungarian 	Svjc
Italian 	Svizzera
Portuguese 	Sua
Spanish 	Suiza
Swedish 	Schweiz
Polish 	Szwajcaria
Russian 	Швейцария
Arabic 	سويسرا
Japanese 	スイス
Add Svizra in Romansh, one of the four official languages.

and Confoederatio Helvetica, the official name that stands for the four other designations. (Whence CH as post code, and CHF used in banking for Swiss Francs)

(I like the Japanese name. We're real squares !)
  #22  
Old 05-05-2005, 08:05 AM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Schlaraffenland
Posts: 20,611
In German, Milan is referred to as Mailand but much better is Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), which is something like Elfenbein Kuste (literally translated, "elephant bone coast").

Also, for what it's worth, Krungthep*, the capital of Thailand, is Bangkok to everyone outside of Thailand. I think Bangkok (or Bang Kok) is the original small village on the site. Bang = village, Kok = (I don't know, but not what you're thinking).


*The full name of the capital of Thailand is "Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit". Even in Thai this is a bit long to put on a t-shirt
  #23  
Old 05-05-2005, 08:29 AM
Gymnopithys Gymnopithys is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Napier
Key West, the westernmost island in the Florida Keys, evolved out of the French for bone due to many animal bones there IIRC. I think the word for bone looked related to the root "osteo-", maybe something like "ousse", which sounds like "wes". At lest, this is what I heard.
That's is a tortuous explanation.
Keys is from Spanish cayo(s) "shoal, islet". Isn't it what they are ?
  #24  
Old 05-05-2005, 08:41 AM
Gymnopithys Gymnopithys is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,197
The United States are called by the:

French Etats-Unis, abbreviated E.U.
Spanish Estados Unidos which they abbreviate EE.UU. (the double letters meaning plural)
German Vereinigte Staaten
Yugoslavs Zjdinjene Drzhave
Finns Yhdysvallat
Welsh Taleithiau Cyfenol or yr Unol Daleithian America
Gaels an t-Oilean-ur (New Iceland)
Arabs al-Wellat al-Motaheda
Chinese Mei-kuo (which is their pronunciation of "America"); given a Chinese
etymology the name would mean "beautiful country"; it is also called Mei zhou, in which mei "beautiful" has only a phonetical value for the accentuated syllable in America; zhou = continent. Japanese Beikoku is their pronunciation of the Chinese name ! Given a Japanese etymology, the name would mean "land of the rice" which is unapplicable since the Japan used to produce much more rice than the U.S.
  #25  
Old 05-07-2005, 12:05 PM
UselessGit UselessGit is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Reykjavik/Iceland
Posts: 658
Doesn't pretty much every language have its own name for Geographic places? I can't even think of one country we call by its indigenous name here and several city names have also been "translated" (e.g. Kiev into Kaenugardur, Kobenhavn into Kaupmannahofn*).

For the record, we usually call the USA "Bandarkin" or just "Amerka" but the "correct" term would be "Bandarki Norur-Amerku" (The United States of North-America), abbreviated as BNA. We often refer to New York as "Nyja Jorvik", mostly because York was originally called Jorvik and while your language has changed, ours hasn't.
  #26  
Old 05-08-2005, 05:33 AM
Gymnopithys Gymnopithys is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by UselessGit
Doesn't pretty much every language have its own name for Geographic places? I can't even think of one country we call by its indigenous name here
France, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Congo, Viet Nam, Kyrgyzstan and many others.
  #27  
Old 05-08-2005, 06:25 AM
pseudotriton ruber ruber pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Outer Control
Posts: 10,394
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gymnopithys
France, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Congo, Viet Nam, Kyrgyzstan and many others.
To say nothing of England, Australia, Scotland, Canada, Jamaica, etc., of course.
  #28  
Old 05-08-2005, 06:53 AM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Portman Road
Posts: 17,369
Quote:
Originally Posted by pseudotriton ruber ruber
To say nothing of England, Australia, Scotland, Canada, Jamaica, etc., of course.
Chicago, Massachusetts, ...
  #29  
Old 05-08-2005, 12:46 PM
kiffa kiffa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Near the St Johns River
Posts: 913
Congo.....aahhhhemmm

There's the Republic of the Congo [Brazzaville is the capital city] and there is the Democratic Republic of the Congo [Kinshasa is the capital city]. Both countries are Francophone but Brazza was colonized by the French and Kinshasa by the Belgians. Both have gone thru name changes - often linked to their colonial past.
Both go by Le Congo when you are incountry. A bit of trivia: Brazzaville and Kinshasa are facing each other - looking across the Congo River - and are the two closest capital cities in the world.

The Congo people [tribe] live in both countries.

It was easier to tell the countries apart way back when Mobutu created Zaire...based on the old portugese name for this area. Then he proceeded to ransack the country Congo/Kinshasa for any bit of wealth to put into his own pocket or to bribe any possible political opponent with a ministerial post. There's alot more sad history to this country but this isn't the right thread to rant and rave.
  #30  
Old 05-08-2005, 01:06 PM
Gymnopithys Gymnopithys is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by pseudotriton ruber ruber
To say nothing of England, Australia, Scotland, Canada, Jamaica, etc., of course.
How else would they call their own country ? tell me.
  #31  
Old 05-08-2005, 01:32 PM
Shirley Ujest Shirley Ujest is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Somewhere in the Middle.
Posts: 21,387
Zimbabwe use to be called Rhodesia


I believe British Honduras is now Belize, but I always get those Central American countries jumbled up.
  #32  
Old 05-08-2005, 04:03 PM
Antigen Antigen is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: was Montreal, now MD
Posts: 7,116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gymnopithys
That's is a tortuous explanation.
Keys is from Spanish cayo(s) "shoal, islet". Isn't it what they are ?
From a Florida tourism site:

Quote:
The Spanish name for this island is Cayo Hueso, meaning "island of bones". This name was given to the island by Spanish explorers when they found the skeletal remains of many Indians.
That's the explanation I've always heard. Makes more sense coming from a Spanish word than from French, since it was Spain that landed there first.
  #33  
Old 05-08-2005, 11:40 PM
DataZak DataZak is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 603
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gymnopithys
The United States are called by the:

French Etats-Unis, abbreviated E.U.
Spanish Estados Unidos which they abbreviate EE.UU. (the double letters meaning plural)
German Vereinigte Staaten
Yugoslavs Zjdinjene Drzhave
Finns Yhdysvallat
Welsh Taleithiau Cyfenol or yr Unol Daleithian America
Gaels an t-Oilean-ur (New Iceland)
Arabs al-Wellat al-Motaheda
Chinese Mei-kuo (which is their pronunciation of "America");

<snip>
And in Malaysia, we refer to it as Amerika Syarikat. IMO, a more literal translation would be Negri-negri Bersekutu Amerika but the former is shorter and maybe that's why it's preferred over the latter.
  #34  
Old 05-09-2005, 12:07 AM
dangermom dangermom is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Northern CA
Posts: 9,154
In Danish:

Germany is Tyskland, where y is a tightened 'oo' sound. I guess from the 'Teuton' root. The German language is tysk.
France is Frankrig, =Franks kingdom (cognate to reich)
A lot of place names end with ien: Italien, Belgien, Californien, etc.
China=Kina, and Chinese is kinesisk. Not much of a 'ch' in Danish.
Other pronunciation quirks mean that Hawaii comes out as Hav-ay-ii, and Japan as Yapan, which is even further from Nippon than the English version.
  #35  
Old 05-09-2005, 02:15 AM
DataZak DataZak is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 603
In Malay:

France = Perancis (pronounced Per-run-cheese)

Netherlands = Belanda

Spain = Sepanyol

Egypt = we use its Arabic name, Mesir

Lebanon = Lubnan

Saudi Arabia = Arab Saudi

Japan = Jepun

USA = As mentioned in my post above, Amerika Syarikat

I think that's it.
  #36  
Old 05-09-2005, 02:17 AM
Johanna Johanna is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Altered States of America
Posts: 12,470
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gymnopithys
The United States are called by the:

Arabs al-Wellat al-Motaheda
Correction... al-Wilyt al-Muttahidah.

The Arabic name for the Ivory Coast is al-Shil al-j, a literal translation of "the Ivory Coast." How come Arabs and Germans can get away with translating the name into their language, but in English we're forced to use the French version?

As for the 2 Congos, I can never get the names straight. I thought the one with Brazzaville was the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Then Laurent Kabila, changing the name back from Zaire, took the name Democratic Republic of the Congo to totally confound anyone's attempts to tell the two countries apart. Should have left it Zaire. At least the name Zaire has flair and it wasn't already taken.
  #37  
Old 05-09-2005, 07:18 AM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
Mod Rocker
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: N E Ohio
Posts: 40,324
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gymnopithys
Quote:
Originally Posted by UselessGit
Doesn't pretty much every language have its own name for Geographic places? I can't even think of one country we call by its indigenous name here
France, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Congo, Viet Nam, Kyrgyzstan and many others.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pseudotriton ruber ruber
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gymnopithys
France, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Congo, Viet Nam, Kyrgyzstan and many others.
To say nothing of England, Australia, Scotland, Canada, Jamaica, etc., of course.
(bolding mine)
?? Did you two happen to notice that UselessGit was posting from Iceland/Ijsland and was, therefore, refering to how those countries names appear in the language of that island country?
  #38  
Old 05-09-2005, 07:39 AM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Portman Road
Posts: 17,369
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomndebb
(bolding mine)
?? Did you two happen to notice that UselessGit was posting from Iceland/Ijsland and was, therefore, refering to how those countries names appear in the language of that island country?
No - the question was not only about Icelandic:
Quote:
Originally Posted by UselessGit
Doesn't pretty much every language have its own name for Geographic places?
To which the answer is 'no'.
  #39  
Old 05-09-2005, 08:57 AM
Johanna Johanna is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Altered States of America
Posts: 12,470
I posted in a thread once about Arabic names for Arab countries, and listed them all.

Most of the Arabic names are the same as in English or recognizably similar. In the case of Filastin, al-Urdun, and Suriyah the Arabic forms are derived from the same origin as the English forms, but developed differently. The vowel u in Suriyah reminds us that the Greek letter upsilon, which became y in English, was originally u. Suria However, to avoid being consistent, which would make things distressingly easy to understand, the Greek upsilon in Libua was converted to i in the Arabic name for Libya: Libiya.

By the way, the name of Libya written in Arabic script is one of the longest graphical palindromes in any language:
Code:

|          |
|          |
| |  |  |  |
\/ \/ \/ \/ 
 ..  .  ..  
  #40  
Old 05-09-2005, 10:07 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 41,412
I've never understood why the English form of Firenze is Florence -- that seems a pretty big change. Ditto for the French calling London Londres.

I can understand changing Warszawa to Warsaw and Moskva to Moscow, but why Lebanon for Liban? Or Greece for Hellas? It's not as if these names are difficult to pronounce. The Master has already addressed Germany/Deutschland.

and, IIRC, Egypt is something completely different to Egyptians.
  #41  
Old 05-09-2005, 10:59 AM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Portman Road
Posts: 17,369
Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham
I've never understood why the English form of Firenze is Florence -- that seems a pretty big change.... but why Greece for
Hellas? .
Both come from the Roman names, Florentia and Graecia
  #42  
Old 05-09-2005, 11:24 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 41,412
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham
I've never understood why the English form of Firenze is Florence -- that seems a pretty big change.... but why Greece for
Hellas? .


Both come from the Roman names, Florentia and Graecia

Well then why for how come "Firenze", since Italian derives from Latin?
  #43  
Old 05-09-2005, 12:20 PM
Eurograff Eurograff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Inland Finland
Posts: 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham
Well then why for how come "Firenze", since Italian derives from Latin?
I think this may have been addressed in some of the earlier threads (different names for places in other languages is quite a popular topic in GQ) but probably the original Florentia just became Florenza or Fiorentia at some point, then came the medieval Fiorenza and finally, in 1500s, Firenze. Italian is different from Latin anyway, remember that it also has some influence from various Germanic tribes' languages among others, possibly it's just that 'Fio' was easier to pronounce than 'Flo', or something similar. Basically those sounds just changed a little and gradually. Two thousand years is a lot of time and languages are always under change.

Interestingly, the Florentine football club is called ACF Fiorentina even today. And obviously the original Florentia comes from Flora, flower or blossom.
  #44  
Old 05-09-2005, 12:31 PM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Paris
Posts: 16,837
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gymnopithys
The United States are called by the:

French Etats-Unis, abbreviated E.U.
.

Which, I would mention, is a pain, because I consistently mistake E.U. (Etats Unis, USA) for U.E (Union Europeenne, European Union) when reading papers (especially since I'm accustomed to read E.U. standing for European Union in english).
  #45  
Old 05-09-2005, 05:39 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
Mod Rocker
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: N E Ohio
Posts: 40,324
Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
No - the question was not only about Icelandic:

To which the answer is 'no'.
True. The short answer is "No." However, neither poster responded "No." In responding to the line
Quote:
I can't even think of one country we call by its indigenous name here
each poster provided a list of countries in which English uses the original spelling, giving the impression that they might have missed the second portion of the post to which they were respoonding. It is not true in English, but may well be true in Icelandic.
  #46  
Old 05-09-2005, 05:46 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Portman Road
Posts: 17,369
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomndebb
In responding to the line each poster provided a list of countries in which English uses the original spelling, giving the impression that they might have missed the second portion of the post to which they were respoonding. It is not true in English, but may well be true in Icelandic.
Fair enough. Although I'm still interested in knowing the Icelandic for Kyrgyzstan.
  #47  
Old 05-10-2005, 03:56 AM
Gymnopithys Gymnopithys is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Antigen
From a Florida tourism site:


That's the explanation I've always heard. Makes more sense coming from a Spanish word than from French, since it was Spain that landed there first.
Cayo Hueso is a re-translation of Key West in which Hueso is a Spanish corruption of West. I can't find the original explanation for this.

In Google:
Cayo Hueso is how Cubans call KEY WEST.
Casa Cayo Hueso, which means "Key West House"...
  #48  
Old 05-10-2005, 06:51 AM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Schlaraffenland
Posts: 20,611
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna
I posted in a thread once about Arabic names for Arab countries, and listed them all.

Most of the Arabic names are the same as in English or recognizably similar. In the case of Filastin, al-Urdun, and Suriyah the Arabic forms are derived from the same origin as the English forms, but developed differently. The vowel u in Suriyah reminds us that the Greek letter upsilon, which became y in English, was originally u. Suria However, to avoid being consistent, which would make things distressingly easy to understand, the Greek upsilon in Libua was converted to i in the Arabic name for Libya: Libiya.
That reminds me... in French, Libya has all the same letters as in English, but in a different order: Lybia. Does any other country work out like that?
  #49  
Old 05-10-2005, 08:37 AM
UselessGit UselessGit is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Reykjavik/Iceland
Posts: 658
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomndebb
It is not true in English, but may well be true in Icelandic.
And indeed it is in most cases; thanks tomndebb--like so many other souls whose intentions are good, I tend to be somewhat misunderstood.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
Fair enough. Although I'm still interested in knowing the Icelandic for Kyrgyzstan.
Through a complex filtering of Icelandic grammatical rules and traditions, and after a dash of creative brilliance, it is ultimately Icelandized as ...."Kyrgistan". As it turns out, we've really only translated names of places of some significance to Iceland--makes sense, I guess.

Don't know if it's a moot point but there are of course differences in geographical names from one language to the other; the Germans call Belarus "Weisrussland" while we call it "Hvta-Rssland" but it's all the same name, "White Russia". I actually think relatively few countries share the exact same Geographic name for one city or country, just look at a fairly simple names like Zimbabwe/Simbabwe/Simbabve.
  #50  
Old 05-11-2005, 07:47 AM
Johanna Johanna is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Altered States of America
Posts: 12,470
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShibbOleth
That reminds me... in French, Libya has all the same letters as in English, but in a different order: Lybia.
C'est pas vrai. Libya in French is Libye.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:26 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017