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  #1  
Old 11-27-2005, 02:48 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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Cities/Countries whose Native Names are Different from English Names

I'm looking for cities and countries whose names, in the local labguage, are significantly different from what we call them in America.

Obvious example: Germany/Deutchland, Finland/Suomi, Cologne/Koln, Florence/Firenze.

Any good examples from the Arabic-speaking world? I mean, do Egyptians use the name "Alexandria," or do they call their town something else in Arabic?
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  #2  
Old 11-27-2005, 02:57 PM
Schnitte Schnitte is offline
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I wouldn't include Cologne or Florence in this list. Both Cologne and Köln are derived directly from Latin Colonia, and so are Florence and Firenze (Florentium, IIRC). Those are not cases of fundamentally different names, rather slightly different pronunciation.

Alexandria is Al-Iskandariyyah in Arabic (or the transcription of its Arabic name into our Latin alphabet); it goes back directly to its ancient name, derived from the city'S founder Alexander the Great.

Jerusalem (Yerushalayim in Hebrew, al-Quds "the Holy one" in Arabic) might be mentioned here.
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  #3  
Old 11-27-2005, 03:18 PM
Noone Special Noone Special is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schnitte
Jerusalem (Yerushalayim in Hebrew, al-Quds "the Holy one" in Arabic) might be mentioned here.
Nah, not really. Lots of "J"-s in the transcription of Hebrew words were carried over from Latin, where they (presumably) had the proper "Y" sound; so "Jerusalem" is really just a very slight corruption of Yerushalem, which is the original name of the city (the ancient Caananite name, of which Yerushalayyim is a slight "Hebrification" -- both pronounciations appear in the Old Testament)
Al-Quds is just a completely different name given, much later, by the Arabs (just as the Romans tried to rename it Ilia Capitolina), and so is basicly irrelevant to this discussion.


If, however, you're looking for an English name that is nothing like the original -- Arabic in this case -- look no further than Egypt, which is Mizrayim in Hebrew, and something very similar (can't remember the exact pronounciation) in Arabic.

Also, just because nobody has mentioned it yet, Hellas (or "Ellas"?) doesn't sound very much like "Greece"
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  #4  
Old 11-27-2005, 03:19 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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Greece is Ellas in Greek (well, that's the Romanized version of the word at least.) This comes through in English when we call thing "Hellenic."
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  #5  
Old 11-27-2005, 03:33 PM
Schnitte Schnitte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noone Special
Nah, not really. Lots of "J"-s in the transcription of Hebrew
Al-Quds is just a completely different name given, much later, by the Arabs (just as the Romans tried to rename it Ilia Capitolina), and so is basicly irrelevant to this discussion.
Maybe al-Quds is much younger as a name, but it seems to be a common name for the city among speakers of Arabic, and so it's far from being irrelevant here - the OP had asked about cities whose local name differs substantially from the common English name, and al-Quds/Jersualem exactly fits that. The OP didn't include impose any conditions on how long the name has to have been used, or where it came from.

And just one slight nitpick: It was Aelia Capitlina, not Ilia.

Other places that come to mind include Wales/Cymru, Japan/Nihon/Nippon, the Basque Country/Euskadi and probably Austria/Österreich, although the former is a Latin translation of the latter, respectively of a medieval German form of the latter.

Switzerland (Suisse in French, Svizzera in Italian, and Schweiz in German) uses its Latin variants Helvetia and Confoederation Helvetica for some offical purpuses, for example on coins.
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Old 11-27-2005, 03:34 PM
Schnitte Schnitte is offline
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Confoederatio, that is. And there's one include/impose too much in my last post. I really ought to get used to using the preview.
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  #7  
Old 11-27-2005, 03:48 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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There's a good list here - notable examples:

Albania - Shqipëria

Hungary - Magyarország

Scotland - Alba

Isle of Man - Ellan Vannin (or also just Mannin)


Plus, Cornwall - Kernow


Admittedly Manx and Cornish are extinct languages!
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  #8  
Old 11-27-2005, 04:06 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Actually, almost any country which has a significant history and which does not have English as its principal language will have an indigenous name different from the common English name.

Norway: Norge
Sweden: Sverige
Finland: Suomi
Denmark: Danmark
Germany: Deutschland
Austria: Oesterreich
The Netherlands: Die Nederlanden
Belgium: Belgique
Spain: Espańa
Italy: Italia
Croatia: Hrvatska
Switzerland: (numerous names noted above)
Czech Republic: Cesky
Serbia: Srbija
Greece: ‘Ellas (pronounced Hellas)
Estonia: Eesti
Russia: properly transliterated, Rossiya
Ivory Coast: Cote d’Ivoire
India: Bharat
Burma: Myanmar
Japan: Nihon
Korea: Chosen
Turkey: Turkiye
Cambodia: Kampuchea, Khmer
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  #9  
Old 11-27-2005, 04:25 PM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noone Special
-- look no further than Egypt, which is Mizrayim in Hebrew, and something very similar (can't remember the exact pronounciation) in Arabic.

It's "Misr" (with an "accented" "s" ) in Arabic.
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  #10  
Old 11-27-2005, 06:54 PM
Excalibre Excalibre is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polycarp
Actually, almost any country which has a significant history and which does not have English as its principal language will have an indigenous name different from the common English name.
Right, but many or most of these are very similar to the English, and obviously historically related to the English terms.


Quote:
Germany: Deutschland
This is of course an interesting one. The German term is related to "Teutonic" and similar terms describing Germanic people in general; the Italian adjective is still tedesco for that reason. Cecil addresses the multitude of names for it in a column, but (as he states) the origin of the Roman term GERMANIA is not known for certain.


Quote:
Spain: Espańa
I've always wondered about the exact relation between the English term and the terms used in the Romance languages: Espańa, Espagne, Espanha, and so forth. The origin is in the Latin HISPANIA (originally from Phoenician, possibly from a term meaning "Land of Rabbits." The loss of the initial H in the modern Romance languages reflects the loss of that phoneme in Latin during Classical times at the latest (I forget exactly when.) I'm not certain where the loss of the E in English comes from; it's possible that the first syllable was entirely lost at some point in Romance/Late Vulgar Latin, and the E in the Spanish word is just the usual epenthetic added to prevent a consonant cluster that is impossible word-initially.


Quote:
Italy: Italia
This reflects, as far as I know, the usual English habit of using terms derived from French. The French Italie is the result of the usual loss in French of final A, making it an entirely predictable cognate of the Italian Italia.


Quote:
Estonia: Eesti
Unlike Hungary and Finland (which speak related languages), with their radically different native and English names, this one at least resembles the English, though I'm not sure of the origin.


Quote:
India: Bharat
Can anyone tell about the origin of the term "India"? How old a name is "Bharat"?


Quote:
Burma: Myanmar
Actually, not a strange occurrence at all. The name in Burmese is pronounced, so I've read, /baa ma/; "Myanmar" (pronounced "myahn ma") is simply an ancient form of the same word (though exactly what led the ruling regime to demand its use overseas I'm not certain of.) The Rs are simply the result of bad British transliteration - there is no sound resembling the American R in either of the words, but those R-dropping Brits used it to mark long vowels.
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  #11  
Old 11-27-2005, 07:05 PM
Monty Monty is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polycarp
Korea: Chosen
조선 Jo-seon (formerly romanised as Chosun)
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  #12  
Old 11-27-2005, 07:21 PM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Excalibre
Estonia: Eesti
"People from the East", in either German or Swedish (can't recall which), as pronounced in Estonian.
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  #13  
Old 11-27-2005, 10:09 PM
MEBuckner MEBuckner is offline
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Don't think any of these have already been mentioned....

Bhutan: Druk-Yul
China: Zhongguo or Zhonghua
Maldives: Dhivehi Raajje
Morocco: Al Maghrib
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  #14  
Old 11-27-2005, 10:20 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monty
조선 Jo-seon (formerly romanised as Chosun)
Thanks for the correction; I did that one and Japan/Nihon from memory.
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  #15  
Old 11-27-2005, 10:24 PM
CynicalGabe CynicalGabe is offline
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Moscow: Moskva
Saint Petersburg: Sankt Peterburg
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  #16  
Old 11-27-2005, 10:26 PM
CynicalGabe CynicalGabe is offline
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Auschwitz: Oswiecem (sp)
Prague: Praha
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  #17  
Old 11-27-2005, 10:30 PM
jastu jastu is offline
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New Zealand: Aotearoa
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  #18  
Old 11-28-2005, 12:21 AM
Zoe Zoe is offline
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Vienna = Wien (pronounceed almost as Ween as far as I can tell.)

Copenhagen = Kobenhavn (The last syllable is pronounced sort of like "hawn.")
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Old 11-28-2005, 01:26 AM
dtilque dtilque is offline
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New Orleans
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  #20  
Old 11-28-2005, 01:34 AM
Noone Special Noone Special is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schnitte
Maybe al-Quds is much younger as a name, but it seems to be a common name for the city among speakers of Arabic, and so it's far from being irrelevant here - the OP had asked about cities whose local name differs substantially from the common English name, and al-Quds/Jersualem exactly fits that. The OP didn't include impose any conditions on how long the name has to have been used, or where it came from.
I suppose we'd need the OP to clarify, but I suspect (s)he meant "places that we (English speakers) have invented names for, that are nothing like the original place names."
In the case of Jerusalem/Al-Quds, arguably it would be the Arabs who "messed up" the perfectly good, existing name in favor of something they invented... while English has remained true to the source -- what the original inhabitants actually called the place.
Anyway, right now -- politics aside -- the city is officially called "Yerushalayim" by the people controlling it... not "Al-Quds"
Quote:
And just one slight nitpick: It was Aelia Capitlina, not Ilia.
Yup
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  #21  
Old 11-28-2005, 02:10 AM
Alessan Alessan is online now
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Noone Special - they way I was tought in 7th-grade Arabic, Al-Quds is short for Urushalim Al-Quds, or "Jerusalem the Holy." Think of it as a nick-name.
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  #22  
Old 11-28-2005, 02:21 AM
Rodgers01 Rodgers01 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoe
Vienna = Wien (pronounceed almost as Ween as far as I can tell.)
Actually, it's pronounced Veen, not Ween.


I'm told Puerto Rico is referred to as Borinquen among many of the islanders; apparently it's an adaptation of the original native name of the place. I don't think that name has any official status though, so it might not count.
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  #23  
Old 11-28-2005, 06:48 AM
naita naita is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CynicalGabe
Auschwitz: Oswiecem (sp)
Auschwitz is the German name for the now Polish town of Oświęcim. Since it probably was of little interest to English speakers back when it had a significant German population I suppose it does fit with the OP, but the name was once used by the inhabitants.
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  #24  
Old 11-28-2005, 07:04 AM
Pushkin Pushkin is offline
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In the Republic of Ireland, IIRC, road signs have English and Irish names for cities and towns on them. It seems like virtually all large towns and cities in the Republic of Ireland have been renames by the British and the names are still in place. Wikipedia has lists of Irish towns and cities with their original names.

Across the Irish border, in Northern Ireland, a lot of fuss is made by some to have both the English and Irish names of streets on signs.
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  #25  
Old 11-28-2005, 07:06 AM
hammos1 hammos1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
Scotland - Alba
Bit of a stretch, surely? There's only 60,000 Gaelic speakers in Scotland, out of a population of over 5 million.
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  #26  
Old 11-28-2005, 07:19 AM
bizzwire bizzwire is offline
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Teegeeack/Earth?


whaaat????
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  #27  
Old 11-28-2005, 07:32 AM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammos1
Bit of a stretch, surely? There's only 60,000 Gaelic speakers in Scotland, out of a population of over 5 million.
The OP asked for the 'local language' - without defining it more clearly (note my comments about other Celtic languages )
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  #28  
Old 11-28-2005, 07:37 AM
Schnitte Schnitte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noone Special
Anyway, right now -- politics aside -- the city is officially called "Yerushalayim" by the people controlling it... not "Al-Quds"
This is seriously in danger of getting into the neverending debate over Jerusalem's status, but even accepting Israel's control over it, Arabic is common as a native tongue among a large percentage of the city's population, and even more, it's an official language of the State of Israel. Which makes me wonder - maybe you can help here - what Jerusalem is called in official Israeli documents in Arabic.
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  #29  
Old 11-28-2005, 08:25 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schnitte
Other places that come to mind include Wales/Cymru...
This also holds true for many of the place names within Wales; some of them are recognisable English versions of the name (Caerdydd=Cardiff), others are literal translations (although as very many Welsh place names are literally descriptive of features of the the location, the correlation may be coincidental) and yet others are just completely different (Abertawe=Swansea).
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  #30  
Old 11-28-2005, 10:14 AM
hammos1 hammos1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
The OP asked for the 'local language' - without defining it more clearly (note my comments about other Celtic languages )
Groovy- in that case, let me add one more:

United States- Turtle Island
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  #31  
Old 11-28-2005, 10:26 AM
bordelond bordelond is online now
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I haven't seen the Thai name for Bangkok yet given -- Krung Thep (กรุงเทพ).
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  #32  
Old 11-28-2005, 10:28 AM
bordelond bordelond is online now
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Originally Posted by bordelond
I haven't seen the Thai name for Bangkok yet given -- Krung Thep (กรุงเทพ).
Erk. In Thai letters, that'd be กรุงเทพ .
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  #33  
Old 11-28-2005, 10:39 AM
CynicalGabe CynicalGabe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naita
Auschwitz is the German name for the now Polish town of Oświęcim. Since it probably was of little interest to English speakers back when it had a significant German population I suppose it does fit with the OP, but the name was once used by the inhabitants.
I'm aware of this. But Auschwitz is the name it is known by in America, at least, so I felt it fit.
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  #34  
Old 11-28-2005, 12:07 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Quote:
Can anyone tell about the origin of the term "India"? How old a name is "Bharat"?
An important locus of Indian civilisation were settlements on a river (now almost entirely within the borders of Pakistan), known locally as Sindhu, from a Sanskrit word meaning something like "big water." Persians translated Sindhu as Hindu, and the Greeks took the Persian form and made it Indus. Alexander's campaigns ended somewhere in the vicinity of the Sindhu/Indus, so the Greeks were familiar with the river and the land beyond it, which they called India. The territory around and beyond the Indus was known to the Greeks, Romans, and later Europeans as India from then on.

It's a little more tricky to come up with the origin on the other side. The land we now call India was not politically united until the British came along. There were times when one occasional emperor or another managed to conquer most, but not all, of the Indian Subcontinent, but so far as I know, no such regime ever imposed a single name on the resulting political unit. The people of India knew about various smaller units, which tended to change over time, but didn't come up with a unitary name.

The Turco-Mongols, under leaders such as Babur, learned from the Persians that the people over there around and beyond the Hindu river were Hindus, so they called it Hindustan, but this was never a universally accepted (by the natives) name for the entire subcontinent. The use of Hindustan as a synonym for India by Indians is a modern development and has more to do with the existence of a neighbouring state called Pakistan.

It seems to me that what happened was that, once unified under British rule, the Indian people began to form a unitary identity and then had to reach back into ancient mythology to come up with a native name. Bharat was a mythological ruler of roughly the territory comprising British India. The land ruled by Bharat is Bharat Barsha or Bharatvarsh.
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  #35  
Old 11-29-2005, 04:14 PM
hibernicus hibernicus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pushkin
It seems like virtually all large towns and cities in the Republic of Ireland have been renames by the British and the names are still in place.
This may be a bit nit-picky, but not all the English names in use are the result of renaming by the British (English). Many of the English names were conferred by the Norse founders of the towns - Wicklow, Dublin, Waterford, Wexford.

In fact, there are many placenames (about 14% of all townlands) where the Irish name is a translation from the original English. English has been spoken in Ireland for a very long time.

The biggest town I can think of at the moment with an English name is Newbridge.
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Old 11-30-2005, 03:56 AM
Pushkin Pushkin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hibernicus
This may be a bit nit-picky, but not all the English names in use are the result of renaming by the British (English). Many of the English names were conferred by the Norse founders of the towns - Wicklow, Dublin, Waterford, Wexford.

In fact, there are many placenames (about 14% of all townlands) where the Irish name is a translation from the original English. English has been spoken in Ireland for a very long time.

The biggest town I can think of at the moment with an English name is Newbridge.
Pit-nick away, I never knew that. I assumed it was all done by British rule.
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