What do Germans call Germany? Germany vs Deutschland

Given, it does not take much to confuse me but I am once again puzzled. I am trying to reconcile the difference between “Germany” and “Deutschland.” The best explanation I can find is that “Deutschland” is the German word for “Germany.”

That makes it sound like Someone could rename France to GreatWineVille with the same logic: “France” is the French word for “GreatWineVille.” Was the term Germany applied by the rest of the world without consideration of the people native to the area? How is Germany referred to within its own borders?

By people speaking in German, as “Deutschland”. To confuse things even more, the French call Germany “Allemagne”, and, while the Italians call Germany “Germania” they call the German language “tedesco”.

Interestingly, France was renamed, since it used to be called Gaul (“Gallia” in Latin). The country was renamed after the Franks, who invaded and took over what was Gaul about 1,500 years ago.

Wiki answer in 30 seconds.

The master speaks.

(I can’t believe I get to say this, so excited!)

And for the general concept which the OP seems not to be familiar with, Wikipedia on exonyms and endonyms

And “Germany” is the English word for Deutschland.

I’m not sure why there should be the expectation that the name of a country in English (or another language) should match the name that the inhabitants of that country use for it. After all, our names for other things differ in our respective languages.

Since the mid-twentieth century, when many new countries became independent, it has become a practice to call countries by the name they call themselves. However, this was never a standard previously. Historically, people have had their own names for the folks on the other side of the hill (often something like “the rat-eaters”; “the people who marry their sisters”, etc.), while each group called themselves by a name equivalent to “The People,” “Us,” or “Real Human Beings.”:slight_smile:

Not the entire rest of the world, but yes … that’s exactly what happened.

It’s very common. For example, we dont refer to China as Zhōngguó, or Japan as Nihon. Conversely, Mandarin Chinese speakers refer to the United States as Meiguó, not as “United States” or “America” rendered in the phonetic rules of Mandarin.

Another example: Finland calls itself and its language Suomi (which, according to Wikipedia, is derived from the Proto-Baltic word “zeme” for land, so there you go).

And the Franks were German. :slight_smile:

Required reading for the OP: Names of Germany

Pretty much lays it all out, with dozens of examples from around the world.

Well, because it is a proper name. We seem to manage OK with proper names of people.

Otherwise, we would speak of the composer John Bach, the former president of Argentina John Peron, or the Italian designer John Versace.

And the former Prime Minister of Canada John Christian.

Things are not people. Nobody can claim ownership of the name of a piece of land the way they can validly claim ownership of themselves.

This was not always the case:

John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto)
Mark Anthony (Marcus Antonius)
Joseph Stalin (Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili)
Christopher Columbus (Christoffa Corombo)

As ascenray points out, using the untranslated names of foreign personages is a relatively modern practice in English. For example, we refer to the patrons of Christopher Columbus/Cristobal Colon/Cristoforo Colombo/Cristoffa Corombo, Fernando de Aragon and Isabel de Castila, as Ferdinand and Isabella. (However, in a full English translation Isabel would be Elizabeth.) We also call the husband of Mary I, Felipe II of Spain, by his translated name Philip II.

Spanish has even more of a tendency than English to translate proper names, even continuing today. For example, in the Spanish Wikipedia Queen Elizabeth II is Isabel II del Reino Unido.

But there are no Deutschlands in England.

Many languages use a different word for some places that are foreign to them, or at least translate them. As the post above said, it’s called an exonym, and it’s by no means confined to English. In French, the country between Mexico and Canada is called 'Les Etats-Unis", for example. And of course, they call Germany “Allemagne”, as has been mentioned here.

But English people can speak English to refer to a “Deutschland” anywhere in the world. You don’t have to learn another language to refer to a place where they happen to speak a different language. “Germany” is an English word, just like “wall.” “Deutschland” is a German word, just like “Wand.”

Hence the German name for France: Frankreich.

Obviously, it works the other way round, too. The French word for “England” is not “England”.

They call the English Channel something else, too, right?

(If I recall my high school French, it translates to “The Sleeve”, or something like that.)