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Old 03-22-2003, 07:09 PM
Drum God Drum God is offline
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A question about the word "Germany"

An earlier post pointed out that the major European country that English speaking people call Germany is actually called Deutchland be the people who live there.

Why does English have a word so totally removed from the name for the country in the native's language? Is there a German word for "Germany" (other than Deutschland) and what does it mean?What other countries have names that are totally different in English than in the local language? For example, Espana and Spain are phonetically similar. The same is true for Italia and Italy.

So what do you word sleuths say?
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  #2  
Old 03-22-2003, 07:12 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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FWIW, the Germany's full name is the Federal Republic of Germany, in German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland.
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Old 03-22-2003, 07:15 PM
Drum God Drum God is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Q.E.D.
FWIW, the Germany's full name is the Federal Republic of Germany, in German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland.
But see, that's what I mean. I assume that "Bundesrepublik" is a word that means something along the lines of Federal Republic. You can even see the word "republik", suggesting a common root. But Deutschland is no where close to looking or sounding like "Germany." Why do you suppose that is?
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Old 03-22-2003, 07:33 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Germania was the name of two provinces, Germania Superior and Germania Inferior, along the eastern bank of the Rhine during the Roman Empire. They were named after the Germani, the Latin name for a tribe, which presumably called itself something along the same lines. In Late Latin the name Germania came to be applied to all the kingdoms of the Eastern Franks and their predecessors and successors, roughly equivalent to the early Holy Roman Empire. English Germany derives from Germania by an easily deduced route.

(It's worth noting that Allemagne in French derives from another tribe, the Allemani, by a quite similar route.)

Deutschland is, of course, the land of the Deutsch, the Germans, which derive that from the self-appelation of yet a third Germanic group, the Teutonii, which meant, roughly, "we the people," the /teut*/ root carrying the meaning of "people" (=ethnic group). A similar root exists in the Celtic languages, giving rise to the Irish tuath -- which was borrowed from which in prehistory is a good question.
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Old 03-22-2003, 07:35 PM
BrightNShiny BrightNShiny is offline
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http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_162.html
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  #6  
Old 03-22-2003, 08:04 PM
samclem samclem is offline
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In Cecil's reply, in the column linked to by BrightNShiny, Cecil says
Quote:
Many authorities believe it was a Celtic term meaning "neighbors" that the Gauls bestowed on the folks next door. (There's an Old Irish word gair meaning "neighbor," although there's also an Old Irish word gairm meaning "battle cry." The path of linguistic progress is never easy.) One holdout thinks it was the name of a Celtic people the Teutons conquered and whose name somehow got transferred to the victors.
My Chambers, Dictionary of Etymology suggests that
Quote:
It has been suggested that the name was given by the Gauls to their eastern neighbors, particularly a group of Celtic peoples in northeastern Gaul and that afterwards the name was extended to all Germanic peoples, by cognates of suggested Celtic derivations such as Old Irish gair neighbor, or Old Irish gairm shout, cry, are wanting in form (vowel quantity is long, where a short vowel is expected; m comes from an incompatible cluster, such as -sm) and possibley in meaning (though the meaning of neighbor may be relevant, if it is not the same word as German.
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Old 03-22-2003, 08:49 PM
Drum God Drum God is offline
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Interesting. So really, the name one calls a country has a lot to do with the experience one's culture has had with the other country. I always imagined that, in English at least, a geographical name was an attempt to replicate what the local people actually called it.

I like the idea that the name for your own tribe is "us guys" and the name for another tribe would be "those guys", but that doesn't help if you want friendly relations with "those guys." Wouldn't trade be easier if both tribes agreed on what each tribe would be?

What other countries have so many different names?
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Old 03-22-2003, 09:07 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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Quote:
I always imagined that, in English at least, a geographical name was an attempt to replicate what the local people actually called it.
Actually, it tends to be the opposite. English speakers (and, I would not be surprised, most other peoples) tend to use the name they first hear used of a group, rather than waiting to meet the group and ask them what they call themselves. This is true of a great many indian nations: Do you think the Flatfeet or the Nez Perce (pierced noses) called themselves by those names? The most famous is probably the group known among themselves as Dakota and Lakota, but known from the period of white expansion through the end of the weekly Western movie as Sioux--from an Ojibwa word meaning, roughly, venemous snake.
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Old 03-22-2003, 09:12 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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Quote:
I always imagined that, in English at least, a geographical name was an attempt to replicate what the local people actually called it.
Actually, it tends to be the opposite. English speakers (and, I would not be surprised, most other peoples) tend to use the name they first hear used of a group, rather than waiting to meet the group and ask them what they call themselves. This is true of a great many indian nations: Do you think the Flatfeet or the Nez Perce (pierced noses) called themselves by those names? The most famous is probably the group known among themselves as Dakota and Lakota, but known from the period of white expansion through the end of the weekly Western movie as Sioux--from an Ojibwa word meaning, roughly, venemous snake.
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Old 03-22-2003, 09:17 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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aaaaargh

Flatfeet was supposed to be Flathead and Blackfoot!
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Old 03-22-2003, 09:24 PM
hermann hermann is offline
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Hmmmmmmmm......."Flatfeet". The famous tribe of policemen.
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Old 03-22-2003, 09:56 PM
samclem samclem is offline
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Wait until the "blackhead" tribe gets wind of this!
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Old 03-23-2003, 01:18 AM
Rusalka Rusalka is offline
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Just to add a bit to what polycarp says, it is true that all of the names for germany are derived from the names of one or another german tribe. "Teutonen" was just the name of the tribe that won out in naming the whole country. I'd be interested in finding out when this "Teut-" root came into common usage for the whole people or language.

Don't forget, we use the word "Teutonic" to describe germans. "Dutch" is a corruption of the word Deutsch, which comes from the same root as "Teutonic". There are still some place names in Germany that begin with the "T", i.e., Teutoburger Wald. "Deutsch" had a correct spelling of "Teutsch" not so long ago.
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Old 03-23-2003, 04:21 AM
Arturas Arturas is offline
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In response to Polycarp, Lithuanian still uses the 'tauta' which means nation so the root is still alive and kicking.

My thanks to Rusalka who finally answered a long-standing question. My college Geerman professor said that only foreign words in German used 'tsch' whereupon a student asked if 'deutsch' was foreign. The profesor was unable to answer. It is now clear the root is 'teutisch'.
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Old 03-23-2003, 04:31 AM
psychonaut psychonaut is offline
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This question is also answered in the sci.lang FAQ.
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Old 03-23-2003, 04:34 AM
Big Jeff Big Jeff is offline
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Interesting how the Dutch are people from Holland who live in The Netherlands.
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Old 03-23-2003, 05:23 AM
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Holland is 2 provinces in The Netherlands (noord holland and zuid holland).
They speak Nederlands (Dutch in English)

Originally, “the Netherlands” was a name for Germany and the Netherlands combined (as they were under the Frankish Carolingian Empire), and the westerly region (the modern Netherlands) was called “the Netherlands at the sea”. Gradually “the Netherlands” came to indicate only the western region, so the words “at the sea” were eventually dropped.

The origin of the word “Dutch”. The English word “Dutch” is perhaps a bit strange, but it is derived from the old Dutch word “Duits” (or “Duyts(ch)”), which means something like “from the people”. In older times (until the nineteenth century) the Dutch spoke of “Nederduits(ch)” instead of “Nederlands(ch)”. Nowadays they use this adjective “Duits” (without “Neder”) only when they talk about their neighbours, the Germans (who call their own country “Deutschland”).

from this site:
http://www.home.zonnet.nl/d.van.duijvenbode/
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Old 03-23-2003, 05:27 AM
everton everton is offline
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Holland isn't really a correct name for The Netherlands. Two of the provinces of The Netherlands are Noord-Holland, where Amsterdam is, and Zuid-Holland (i.e. North and South Holland).
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Old 03-23-2003, 11:31 PM
Rusalka Rusalka is offline
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>>Etymology of the word "Dutch", from http://www.etymonline.com (great resource, btw)

Dutch - mid-14c., used first of Germans, after c.1600 of Hollanders, from M.Du. duutsch, from O.H.G. duit-isc, corresponding to O.E. žeodisc "belonging to the people," used especially of the common language of Germanic people, from žeod "people, race, nation," from P.Gmc. *theudo (see Teutonic). As a language name, first recorded as L. theodice, 786 C.E. in correspondence between Charlemagne's court and the Pope, in reference to a synodical conference in Mercia; thus it refers to Old English. First reference to the German language (as opposed to a Germanic one) is two years later. The M.E. sense survives in Pennsylvania Dutch, who came from Germany. Since 1608, Dutch has been "an epithet of inferiority" -- Dutch treat (1887), Dutch uncle (1838), etc. -- probably exceeded in such usage only by Indian and Irish. Dutch elm disease (1927) so called because it was first discovered in Holland (caused by fungus Ceratocystis ulmi).

>>and etymology of the word "Teutonic":

Teutonic - 1605, "of or pertaining to the Germanic languages and to peoples or tribes who speak or spoke them," from L. Teutonicus, from Teutones, from O.H.G. diot "people" (see Dutch), from *teuta, the common PIE word for "people" (cf. Lith. tauto, Osc. touto, O.Ir. tuath, Goth. žiuda, O.E. žeod). Used in anthropology to avoid the modern political association of German; in this broader sense Fr. uses germanique, Ger. germanisch, since neither uses its form of German for the narrower national meaning (Fr. allemand, Ger. deutsch). The Teutonic Knights (founded c.1191) were a military order of Ger. knights formed for service in the Holy Land, later crusading in Prussia and Lithuania.

>> If you're wondering what PIE means, as in: "from *teuta, the common PIE word for "people" (cf. Lith. tauto, Osc. touto, O.Ir. tuath, Goth. žiuda, O.E. žeod). ", I believe it stands for *Proto-Indo-European*.

I guess this suggests that the germans have co-opted the proto-indo-europan word for "people" to use on themselves.
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