All Slavic languages: colloquial words for "German"

Athaulf

Senior Member
Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
In another thread, Cajzl posted these excerpts from an old Czech chronicle (interestingly, I can make more sense out of this than out of modern Czech :)):

Král český syna Václava jmieše (= měl),
ten již králem uherským korunován bieše (= byl).

Durynk přěd komnatú stáše (= stál)
a svého časa ždáše (= ždál).

Jindřich s Ješkem vždy u Švábóv biešta (= byli, dual)
a škodu jim velikú činiešta (= činili, dual).

Text of the chronicle is here.

I'm curious whether the author here refers to Swabians in particular, or to Germans in general? In Croatian and Serbian, Švabo is often used as a colloquial word for Germans in general. In some contexts, it can sound as a (relatively mild) ethnic slur, but in many cases it has no disparaging meaning. (Also, if I were a non-Swabian German, I'd probably prefer to be called "Swabian" than "Mute". :D)

Do any other Slavic languages use the name of Swabians to refer to all Germans? Are there any other Slavic examples of using the name of a particular German region or Germanic tribe to refer to all Germans (like e.g. "Alemanni" in Spanish and French)?
 
  • Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    We use in Polish Szwaby refering to Germans. It is colloquial; it has disparaging overtones, so one wouldn't really expect to see it in a newspaper. I think you can come across its derivative -- szwabski -- more often in usage.


    Tom
     

    Kriviq

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian, Bulgaria
    In Bulgarian шваби is disparaging. However, when we refer to Germans` martial spirit, we call them прусаци - Prussians.
     

    Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!

    Member
    Czech | Czech Republic
    As for Czech, "šváb" with a lowercase š means "cockroach" nowadays - as does "rus", oddly enough! Anyway, with an uppercase Š, it means just "Swabian" now, although back in the day it could have been extended to all Germans much like "Graecus" was extended to all Hellenes from one particular tribe.

    Current derogatory words for Germans include the bland "Němčour" and the more colourful "skopčák" (derived from "s kopce" - "downhill" - due to the mountainous nature of the Czech-German border). There's also "kraut", but that could be a recent (WW2-era) borrowing from English (after all, Czechs eat a lot of sauerkraut too).

    Germany is sometimes referred to as "rajch" (as in "the Reich") in highly informal speech, but it isn't necessarily disparaging at all.
     

    Emmanon82

    Member
    Ukraine;Ukrainian and Russian
    In Ukrainian we call Germans - німці. But Germans who came to Western Ukraine and Zakarpattya in 18 century called themselves "shwabs".

    What about cockroaches-sometimes our people call them прусаки.
     

    Athaulf

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Russian: немцы (nemtsy).

    Could you please elaborate on this name in Russian a bit? In Croatian, Nijemac and Njemačka are the official words for German and Germany; they both come from the same root as the Russian немец (we all call them "Mutes" :D). On the other hand, I've seen Германия used as the word for Germany in Russian; this word doesn't exist in Croatian, except as the ancient Roman name for the lands north of the Roman Empire. Are немец and Германия actually the official Russian words for German and Germany (it sounds a bit strange to me that the names of a country and its people are totally different)?

    Also, does some derivation of "Swabian" exist as a generic name for Germans in Russian, as it does in Croatian and, apparently, Bulgarian and Polish?
     

    Stripped

    Member
    Russian, USA
    Are немец and Германия actually the official Russian words for German and Germany (it sounds a bit strange to me that the names of a country and its people are totally different)?

    This is correct. One of the hypotheses is that the word "немцы" is akin to "немой" (mum) thus denoting foreigners who could not speak Russian.

    On the other hand, "германцы" is used too although its meaning is limited to the description of the germanic (barbarian) tribes.
     

    Kolan

    Banned
    Russian (CCCP)
    Also, does some derivation of "Swabian" exist as a generic name for Germans in Russian, as it does in Croatian and, apparently, Bulgarian and Polish?
    In modern Russian "швабы" are not associated with the entire German nation. It can be understood, if at all, only as a certain part of Germans, like Bavarians, but has no current use.
     

    Wikislav

    Member
    Croatian - Chakavian & Kaykavian
    In Serbia, we say "Švabe" (singular "Švaba"). The word "švabo" is used in Croatia.
    In Croatia, the pejorative ethnonym Švaba/Švabo started in use since WW1, and it is now used mostly in vulgar slang; the official cultivated term is 'Nijemac'. Starting with lowercase as 'švabe', it means cockroach insects there. Other dialectal names are also 'Némec' in northern Kaykavian, and 'Tujéškan' (= foreigner, strager) in coastal Chakavian, the last being divergent from most other Slavs.
     

    ilocas2

    Banned
    Czech
    There's a known Czech funny poem from times of communism.

    Včera večer v parku
    našla jsem tam marku
    ležela tam spoustu dní
    byla totiž východní

    Yesterday evening in park
    I found there mark (German currency)
    it lay there lot of days
    becuase it was eastern (eastern mark - from Eastern Germany)

    The words in the poem may vary
     

    Selyd

    Senior Member
    ucraniano
    In Ukrainian:
    німець - man (від німий - dumb)
    німча - boy
    німчак - man
    німчура - man (scornfully)
    німці - people
    німчура - people (scornfully)
    німкеня, німка - woman
    шваб, пруссак - part of people
    германці - народи германської групи
     

    marco_2

    Senior Member
    Polish
    In Polish:

    Niemcy - Germany
    Niemiec - pl. Niemcy - Germans
    Szwaby, Szkopy - pejorative: Germans
    Szwab - pl. Szwabi / Szwabowie - Germans from Swabia
    Niemra - pejorative: a German woman
    Prusak - pl. Prusacy - Germans from Prussia
    prusaki - regional for cockroaches
    Germania - poetic for Germany
    Germanie / Germanowie - people belonging to Germanic tribes
    germański , teutoński - applied to Germanic tribes
     

    tyhryk

    Senior Member
    Ukrainian
    In Ukrainian we say the next words.
    Germany - Німеччина
    Germans - німці
    German man - німець
    German woman - німкеня.
    :)
     

    trance0

    Senior Member
    Slovene
    In colloquial Slovene we use 'švab/švaba' as a pejorative name for all Germans not just for Swabians. In Standard Slovene we use 'nemec' which apparently has the same meaning and origin as in all Slavic languages. 'Germani' refers to all Germanic nations in Slovene and is never used for Germans only.
     

    ilocas2

    Banned
    Czech
    I wonder if Czech "skopčák" and Polish "szkop" are somewhat related.

    There is also a saying, when someone is eating quickly - "padat jak Němci do krytu" - to fall like Germans in the bomb shelter

    Padá to do tebe jak Němci do krytu. - It falls in you like Germans in the bomb shelter.
     

    tyhryk

    Senior Member
    Ukrainian
    None of which is colloquial.
    Well, Ukrainian is my native language, so I know what I write. :)

    That's why

    Germany - Німеччина
    Germans - німці
    German man - німець
    German woman - німкеня.

    :)
     
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    Мы что-то не понимаем друг друга. Я всего лишь сказал,что ваши примеры не имеют никакого отношения к сленгу,а являются полноценными словами украинского литературного языка. Разве это не так?
     
    Last edited:

    tyhryk

    Senior Member
    Ukrainian
    Мы что-то не понимаем друг друга. Я всего лишь сказал
    "None of which is colloquial".
    So I reply You: all that Ukrainian words in my both threads of this theme are colloquial in Ukraine.
    :)

    And there are Your words, разве не так?
    Не смотря на то,что я родился и вырос на Украине,я не владею украинским( не говоря уже о польском), настолько,чтоб оценить,в какой степени он связан с польским языком,но тем не менее, вряд ли в Польше нас поймут.. а я говорю по собственному опыту.
     
    But I speak Ukrainian well enough to notice when a word is colloquial or not.If those words are colloquial,please tell me how officially would be Germany,German(man) Germans,and German(woman)
     

    tyhryk

    Senior Member
    Ukrainian
    If those words are colloquial,please tell me how officially would be Germany,German(man) Germans,and German(woman)
    The same words: Німеччина, німець, німці, німкеня.

    And what is Your variation of Ukrainian colloquial words in this topic?
     
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