Tuesday 29 November 2016

just a few countries

how many countries have a name in English that doesn't correspond to the real name local people use for their motherlands? they are not so many indeed: not even 20!

who knows the reason why...!


  1. It doesn't make sense to include Austria. Österreich is pretty similar to Austria. I would also argue that Nihon is not so different from Japan. To me, the criterion should be whether they two are etymologically related.

    In addition, Wales is Cymru in Welsh, so it should be colored red.

    1. Austria, Croatia, Eire/Ireland or Burma/Myanmar were difficult choices to me.
      My criteria for my choices were if they "sounds" familiar to the ear of an English speaker visitor and I admit that this is a very weak and arbitrary criterium.
      I surely agree with you in your ethimological observations. I apologize.
      Maybe I'll try to be more scientific in the next map.
      Thank you for your comment.

  2. I think David Corwin is correct.
    Austria, besides sounding similar to Osterreich, is actually a latinisation of the German word. Cambodia is a a similar case - it came to English from the French Cambodge which came from the local Kampuchea.

    The countries on your list whose names are not etymologically related are
    Germany (Deutschland)
    Finland (Suomi) - however we should note that Swedish is also an official language of Finland, and in Swedish, the name is exactly "Finland"
    Egypt (Misr)
    China (Zhōngguó)
    Greece (Hellas)
    Hungary (Magyarország)
    Georgia (Sakartvelo)
    Armenia (Hayastan)
    India (Bharat) - although English is an official language in India
    Morroco (al-Maghrib)

    Croatia is a latinization of the local name Hrvatska, well, actually from the name of the people - Hrvat, which originally might've been something like Krovat, hence Croat and Croatia.

    Montenegro is a strange one - it is a translation of the country's local name (Crna Gora = Black Mountain) into Venetian (not even standard Italian, because that would be Monte Nero, without the g). Why the Venetian name ended up being exported to most Western languages is a bit of a mystery.

    But it is nonetheless an interesting map, as are many things on your blog! It's very cool :)

  3. And of course, I forgot Albania (Shqipëria) on the above list.

    1. Thank you for the really interesting and accurate comment.
      I agree with you. My purpose wasn't to be etymologically correct, but indeed it would have been a more interesting point of analysis.
      Thank you

    2. Ah, another thing: as I am venetian I can explain to you why Montenegro comes from the venetian language and not from Italian:
      Italian language became official for all the peninsula just after the unification of the country called Italy (this means at the end of the 19th century). Before of that every region in Italy had a local official (or co-official) language.
      Venice have been the most important naval power in Europe for centuries and the Adriatic seas was under its strong influence.
      Montenegro in the beginning was just a coast sometimes ruled by Venetians and sometimes by ottomans.
      As a Venetian province it assumed this standard name for all Europe.

      For kniwing somethig more about the strong influence of Venetian language in international context just think that Ciao is a Venetian word.

      And the "sabir" or "petit moresque" (commercial language of the Mediterranean for centuries) was a venetian-genovese base language with influences of Spanish french Greek Arab Portuguese and turk

  4. Gj u guys. But you forgot ALBANIA. . And in albanian language ,ALBANIA= SHQIPËRIA


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