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reallylight (Offline)
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Country names - 06-25-2008, 01:54 PM


I have a question which has been bugging me. How come country names in Europe are different depending which country you are in? This is especially strange when the country has the same alphabet as another. Town/City names seem to be the same no matter the language, but for example in English you would say Spain... yet the Spanish people call theiry country Espana.

Why are country names not universal?
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06-25-2008, 02:39 PM

There's no Ñ in the English alphabet. Names adapt to the countries' language so that its speakers can pronounce and spell them according to the alphabet of each language.

For example:

United (adj) States (noun)

In English, the adjective is placed before the noun but it does not happen in every language. In Spanish, adjectives go after the noun, so saying Unidos Estados would be both grammatically and semantically wrong, so it changes to: Estados Unidos.

Also, in Spanish words can only begin with an S if it's followed by a vowel.

Spain --> España

Special --> Especial

And so on.

everything is relative and contradictory ~
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06-25-2008, 06:41 PM

Well, most countries are different in other languages.
I can post here what I know:
(English - German - Japanese)
America - Amerika - アメリカ
Germany - Deutschland - ドイツ
Japan - Japan - 日本 (にほん)
Austria - Österreich - ??
Switzerland - die Schweiz - ??
Italy - Italien - イタリア
Russia - Russland - ??
Turkey - die Türkei - ??
France - Frankreich - フランス
Hungary - Ungarn - ??

(Sorry, I got tired of listing countries, Germany vs Turkey is starting! LOS DEUTSCHLAND!!)
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06-25-2008, 07:16 PM

Originally Posted by Payne222 View Post
(Sorry, I got tired of listing countries, Germany vs Turkey is starting! LOS DEUTSCHLAND!!)

I mean, you are American and you watch European football? Like, the real thing? lol That's so cool <3

everything is relative and contradictory ~
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06-25-2008, 07:16 PM

In Norwegian, Germany = Tyskland. I'm not sure but in Germany, Norway is Norwegen?? but in Norwegian, it's NORGE...

Sweden is American, but in Norwegian, Sweden = Sverige.

Trust me...I find it equally weird >_>

English -- Norwegian

England -- England
Germany -- Tyskland
Netherlands-- Nederland
Hungary -- Ungarn
Sweden -- Sverige
Denmark -- Danmark
Finland -- Finnland
Iceland -- Island
Czec republic-- Tsjekkiske republikk
America -- Amerika
Japan -- Japan
China -- Kina
Poland -- Polen
France -- Frankerike
Greece -- Hellas
Italy -- Italia
Spain -- Spania
Austria -- Østerrike

just some of the countries we spell differently.... but we're not too far off the English I guess... but we pronounce letters abit differently than english people though...and Norwegians have the Æ Ø Å sounds as well

Last edited by Cirth : 06-25-2008 at 07:19 PM.
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06-26-2008, 06:22 PM

Well, in that case I'll list the country name from italian point of view =3
England -- Inghilterra
Germany -- Germania
Netherlands-- Olanda
Hungary -- Ungheria
Sweden -- Svezia
Denmark -- Danimarca
Finland -- Finlandia
Iceland -- Islanda
Czec republic-- Repubblica Ceca
United State -- Stati Uniti
America -- America
Japan -- Giappone
China -- Cina
Poland -- Polonia
France -- Francia
Greece -- Grecia
Italy -- Italia
Spain -- Spagna
Austria -- Austria
Switzerland -- Svizzera
Turkey -- Turchia
Russia -- Russia

Plus, just like Suki said, the grammar (and the pronunciation) is different in each language, so the name of the countries had to be "fixed"...
Following Suki's example, United States in italian is "Stati Uniti", because put United before States in italian is gramatically wrong, just like "European Union", that in italian becomes "Unione Europea".

By the way, sorry if there are grammar error, but I don't know very well english...

Am I totally blind this time? When I'm dreaming the dreams that I fear, some call it nightmare and some call it life, what is the sense of existing in here?
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06-26-2008, 07:52 PM

Some country names are VERY different in Greek! Read and see what I mean!

England -- Aglia
Germany -- Germania
Netherlands-- Olandia
Hungary -- Ungaria
Sweden -- Suidia
Denmark -- Dania
Finland -- Finlandia
Iceland -- Islandia
Czech republic-- Tsehia
United States -- I.P.A. (Inomenes Polities tis Amerikis)
America -- Americi
Japan -- Iaponia
China -- Kina
Poland -- Polonia
France -- Gallia
Greece -- Ellada
Italy -- Italia
Spain -- Ispania
Austria -- Afstria
Switzerland -- Elvetia
Turkey -- Turkia
Russia -- Rossia

Well, I can't think of a rule why they're named like this... (I just suck at philological lessons)
Many letters are different too. The greek alphabet does not have many similarities with the English one. Some letters like "b" and "d" need 2 greek letters. (Sorry if you don't understand me... I'm not good at explaining...) Do you want me to post the Greek alphabet too explaining the letters? (I know, I'll be getting off topic but if anyone wants...)
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06-26-2008, 09:41 PM

You just have a look at the Arabic names for countries.... (I will romanise the words, since you know in Arabic we have special characters.)

America ~ Amrika
Germany ~ Ilmania
France ~ Faranca
Japan ~ Al Yaban
China ~ Al Siin
Lebanon ~ Lubnan
Turkey ~ Turkiya
Russia ~ Rusiya
Spain ~ España (Pronounced the the same like Spanish people)
These are enough examples, if you look at the Arabic alphabets you will find that there are many alphabets which are not present in English and vice versa. So, having same country names both in English and Arabic will not be possible.
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06-27-2008, 07:18 AM

Here's the list English - Dutch. ^^

England ~ Engeland
Germany ~ Duitsland
Netherlands ~ Nederland
Hungary ~ Hongarije
Sweden ~ Zweden
Denmark ~ Denemarken
Finland ~ Finland
Iceland ~ Ijsland
Czec republic ~ Tsjechische republiek
United States of America ~ Verenigde Staten van Amerika
Japan ~ Japan
China ~ China
Poland ~ Polen
France ~ Frankrijk
Greece ~ Griekenland
Italy ~ Italië
Spain ~ Spanje
Austria ~ Oostenrijk
Switzerland ~ Zwitserland
Turkey ~ Turkije
Russia ~ Rusland
South Africa ~ Zuid Afrika
Ukraine ~ Oekraïne
Norway ~ Noorwegen
New Zealand ~ Nieuw Zeeland

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07-01-2008, 12:10 PM

I'm bored, so here's English - Finnish;;

England- Englanti
Japan- Japani
America- Amerikka
Finland- Suomi
Sweden- Ruotsi
Germany- Saksa
China- Kiina
Greece- Kreikka
Poland- Puola
Iceland- Islanti
Norway- Norja
Russia- Venäjä
Italy- Italia
Spain- Espanja
France- Ranska

...There's some. :3
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