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  1. #1

    The Names of Countries

    I was thinking lately after doing some homework for a reason why different languages have different names for countries. For example, The United States is Etats-Unis in French. Why don't we call countries names by what they call it in their native language. I wouldn't mind calling Germany Deutschland and I don't think people would mind doing the same with other countries.

    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Because there are linguistic, cultural and historic factors to consider.


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    The Lightbringer Istaril's Avatar
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    Some of them make mild sense. England in French is Angleterre (Add a few accents over the letters), which I believe translate as Angle land. The land was populated for a time by the Angles. Before being joined by the Saxons. Hence Anglo-Saxon.

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    Herald of the Titans malletin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahine View Post
    I was thinking lately after doing some homework for a reason why different languages have different names for countries. For example, The United States is Etats-Unis in French. Why don't we call countries names by what they call it in their native language. I wouldn't mind calling Germany Deutschland and I don't think people would mind doing the same with other countries.

    Your thoughts?
    yes.. why is that most of world says Denmark instead of Danmark!?. Seriously though i imagine its because it is somewhat easier to pronounce the name of some countries if they are translated into whatever peoples native language is, for example norway and sweden i imagine would be a little hard to pronounce for english speaking people if it were how it is supposed to be pronounced in Norwegian or Swedish. Which is why the international names works best in that regard.
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  5. #5
    Etats-Unis
    TIL that the French are dyslexic

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    Elemental Lord Snowraven's Avatar
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    I was thinking the same about capitals. Why do english people call London as such, yet we call it Londra?

    Because that's how people thought it sounded when it was first heard and it remained as such in their memories, and as time passed, the info got transmitted wrong.

    Plus, a lot of towns have weird accents and letters that some people can't or don't know how to read. I mean, it's easy to say Bucharest, but would you know how to pronounce Bucureṣti? It's not pronounced the same. In fact, the closest pronounciation is Bucureshti.
    Same for countries. Some have easy names, Suomi or such, but how do you pronounce România?

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    The Insane Reeve's Avatar
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    I think most people who aren't used to Uralic languages would have a hard time pronouncing Eesti, for example. There are probably better examples, though.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Istaril View Post
    Angleterre (Add a few accents over the letters)
    Angleterre has no accents in french

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    Field Marshal
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    first as was said before the local pronunciation might not be "compatible" with your language. The combinations of letters describe sounds, those sounds might not be easy to pronounce, or that they sound different.
    second what you imply is that everyone knows how a country is called by their people wich might not be the case.

    Now if you want to counter my second point by saying but that's because we already use another noun for them, then how would you deal with countries that either use characters that dont exist in your alphabet or worse a totally different one (for example cyrillic).

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    Scarab Lord Arkenaw's Avatar
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    Good luck getting people to get the Asian names right. (I think it's a cool idea though)

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    Moderator Pendulous's Avatar
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    Well, then you'd be asking for everyone to use everyone else's dialect, their inflections, their whatever for every language. What makes countries that special anyway, to make them be pronounced in their native language? How far would that go? Would you speak Spanish if you walk into a Mexican restaurant? That'd only make everyone that worked there laugh at you. It's a lot easier for an English country to have English sounding words for other countries.

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    The Insane Cattaclysmic's Avatar
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    Because other languages are weird...

    Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia - good luck pronouncing it! I shall call it Dave.

  13. #13
    Neat idea to educate but with such varied languages it become more of a problem than anything else, for example Libya's full name in its own language is "Al Jumahiriyah al Arabiyah al Libiyah ash Shabiyah al Ishtirakiyah al Uzma". Special characters might cause a problem (Ελληνική Δημοκρατία or Lýðveldið Ísland) and then as said above, Asian would be nigh on impossible to integrate. Still, I do like the idea.

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    Moderator Anakso's Avatar
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    Probably just for the same reason different languages exist. Each language had to name the country and so named it in their language. Now that it's more common to have people speaking all sorts of languages exist together, it might make sense to just pick one name for each country but that'd be change. We'd have to start teaching people that Korea is now called Hanguk for example

    So good idea, but don't think it'll ever happen unless we all start speaking one language.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Anakso View Post
    Probably just for the same reason different languages exist. Each language had to name the country and so named it in their language. Now that it's more common to have people speaking all sorts of languages exist together, it might make sense to just pick one name for each country but that'd be change. We'd have to start teaching people that Korea is now called Hanguk for example

    So good idea, but don't think it'll ever happen unless we all start speaking one language.
    wat

    Korea is called Hanguk? For real? I had no idea... Then was it called Korean before or was it always Hanguk?

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    Moderator Pendulous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Majad View Post
    wat

    Korea is called Hanguk? For real? I had no idea... Then was it called Korean before or was it always Hanguk?
    It might be like Chinese. There's no actual language called "Chinese". It's Mandarin or...the other one I can't think of.

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    Bloodsail Admiral Tesk's Avatar
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    Well, i think its language barriers, im right in thinking Japan has no letter/word for "L", so anything with an L in would get translated to an "R" i believe, dont quote me 100%
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    Scarab Lord Gothicshark's Avatar
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    Many international names for regions are either the way the first European travelers interpreted what they heard, or in Europe the old name given by the Romans with 2000 years of degeneration.

    examples: Germany is the degradation of Germania the old Latin name for the region. The French call it Allemagne which is how the French call the Alemanni tribe who lived in Germany. Deutschland which is the official name of the country comes from Ludwig der Teutsche, who is sort of the father of post Roman Germany.

  19. #19
    Pandaren Monk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahine View Post
    I was thinking lately after doing some homework for a reason why different languages have different names for countries. For example, The United States is Etats-Unis in French. Why don't we call countries names by what they call it in their native language. I wouldn't mind calling Germany Deutschland and I don't think people would mind doing the same with other countries.

    Your thoughts?
    With this approach how would you handle countries that have more than one national language?

  20. #20
    Titan Adam Jensen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Istaril View Post
    Some of them make mild sense. England in French is Angleterre (Add a few accents over the letters), which I believe translate as Angle land. The land was populated for a time by the Angles. Before being joined by the Saxons. Hence Anglo-Saxon.
    And I'm pretty positive that England is a corruption of Angleland anyways. Eng - Angle

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