Austria

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by elroy, Oct 23, 2005.

  1. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    The Arabic word for "Austria" is النمسا (pronounced An-namsa). Given complete dissimilarity with the English (or the German Österreich, for that matter), I have always wondered where we came up with the Arabic equivalent. Does anyone have any ideas?
     
  2. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    čeština
    Click - not to my knowledge! :D
    I will do some research to find other Slavic names, but the Czech one is Rakousko...

    Edit: I skimmed the rest of the page to find that it actually deals with names for Germany, German in other languages. The Czech ones are "Německo", "Němec". I feel a certain similarity. Consider the genitive case - Němce, roughly [nyemtse].
    What a wonderful circle! ;)

    Another Slavic link: Karl May famously chose the name Kara Ben Nemsi for a protagonist of German origin.

    A very plausible theory:
    "Nemci" is derived from the Slavic word for mute, tumb (nemój in Russian, niemy in Polish, nijem in Serbo-Croatian) (...) - he who does not understand the Slavic language. (...) Since Germans were the most important neighbors of Slavs, the term came to be used predominantly for them. (...) Arabs, like Turks, borrowed the word "Almaanj" for "Germany, "almaani" for German, but also the above mentioned Slavic nijemac etc. in a somewhat modified form, most likely from South Slavs whose closest German neighbors are of course Austrians. This could be why Österreich is translated like "el-namsa", "en-namsa", "in-naamsa" (dialects vary). The corresponding adjective is "namsawii", "nimsawii" etc.

    Jana
     
  3. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    That sounds very plausible - and is very interesting. I always found it intriguing that the word for "Germany" in the Slavic languages was derived from the word for "silent, dumb." Little did I know - we do it too, just with a different country!
     
  4. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    čeština
    How long has the word an-namsa been used in Arabic? What was the name for Austria-Hungary, for example?

    Jana
     
  5. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I don't know the exact date, but in the old Arabic History and georgaphy books (and i mean very old, like in the Middle Ages) we find the word an-nimsa. I searched for the etymology but didn't find it.
    As for Hungary, its Arabic name is Magar المجر (i know that Hungarians are called Magyars, so maybe that's were the Arabic word came from)
     
  6. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    čeština
    Thanks, Cherine.
    I am wondering when exactly Arabs borrowed the Slavic word, and the question bugs me. I am interested in history, so it would be nice to know some details.

    Jana
     
  7. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    You're welcome Jana :)
    I'm enjoying this cultural/historical discussion :)
    I did little research, and found that Arabs had commercial and cultural relations with eastern Europe since the 9th century (Russia, Byzantium, Hungary...) They had political relations too: they invaded Bulgaria in 1364, Belgrade in 1521 and other countries during the period between the 14th - 18th centuries. I think this period witnessed many cultural exchanges between the two sides (Arabs-European) weither voluntarliy or not.
    Maybe further research can show more details, but I thought i'd keep you informed as soon as I could.
     
  8. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    We can also say هنغاريا (Hanghaarya) for "Hungary." There is no such equivalent for Austria, though.
     
  9. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    กรุงเทพมหานคร
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    I'd like all natives to provide this site. I only want you to check out if it says something important about the relation between Austria and the Arabic language. If so, I'd like to translate it for myself, and please don't betray what the text is about. If not, I think it's wasting of time to try to understand that article. ;)
     
  10. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Hi,
    The site you gave is about Austria's History since the 2nd century B.C, untill 1979. So it doesn't really have to do with the Arabic language.
    Another note : Arabic articles in Wikipedia are not exactly the perfect place to look for exercice, for they are translated themselves from other languages, hence full of language and grammar mistakes. We can read them only for information, not to learn Arabic.
    Good luck.:)
     
  11. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    กรุงเทพมหานคร
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    Oh, what a pity. I really would like to have some stuff about the Arabic language, but I already know what to use. :rolleyes:

    Thanks for the info. I know the article is about the history of Autria, but I supposed it had to do with how the word "Österreich" found its way into the Arabic language via the Slavic word "Němce". ;)
     
  12. beclija Senior Member

    vienna
    Boarisch, Österreich (Austria)
    I think it is a reasonable explanation to assume that the Slavic word was originally used to refer to all "Germans", as before 1870 nobody in the world saw any reason to refer to Germans to the exclusion of Austrians. After that, the old term may have just stuck to the Austrians, because these were the ones more relevant to Arabs in the Ottoman empire. See also my somewhat more detailed hypothesis in this thread.

    By the way, in Serbian, which is the most likely donor language considering where to border between Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires ran, the genitive of "German" is "Nemca", and it can easily be used in constructions like "u Nemca" meaning literally "at the German's" and more freely translated "in German lands" - I think "nemsa" is as close as you can get to that in Arabic...
     
  13. mansio Senior Member

    France/Alsace
    Cherine

    Aren't you confusing Arabs with Ottoman Turks?
     
  14. beclija Senior Member

    vienna
    Boarisch, Österreich (Austria)
    About the relations with Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages: no, that was actually the Arabs.
    In the second case, probably yes, but the Ottoman Empire had a lot of Arabic-speaking subjects, so for present purposes it turns out to make no difference.
     
  15. zooz

    zooz Senior Member

    Languedoc-Roussillon
    Arabic & Syrian Arabic
  16. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    it is very likely that Arabic 'nemsa' came via the Ottoman Empire to the arabic world, although (interestingly) in Turkish it is 'Avusturya' for 'Österreich' and 'Almanca' for 'Deutschland' (the latter for Germany obviously derived from French)

    but probably in the Ottoman Empire another term more closely to 'nemsa' for Austria was used: this is entirely possible as with the rise of the Turkish Republic of Atatürk a great many Arabic loans were replaced with French loans and words derived from the Turkish vernacular - but as I do not know Turkish nor Turkish language history I can't give more insights here
     
  17. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
    The Turkish word for Germany may come from French or directly from The Alemmani, who were originally an alliance of West German tribes. As for the Arabic word for Austria it is probably a direct borrowing from the Slavic languages.
     
  18. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    yes, the modern Turkish word most certainly is derived directly from French - no doubt about that one; the interesting thing would be if there was, in the 19th century, before Atatürk's 'revolution' and modernization of Turkey, there was a similar term like the Arab in the Ottoman Turkish variant: which (I think) would be the logical link to the Arab variants

    just think about it: would be a little unlikely for the Slavic word to communicate into the Arab speech community as the Slavs themselves had very little interaction with the Arabs, whereas a lot of Slavs lived in the Ottoman Empire: this, I think, would be the 'missing link', so to speak, to (as good as) prove that the term for Austria in Arab really is derived from the Slavic word 'nemec'

    (well, of course Slavs were sold off as slaves to the Arab counries, as were other Europeans - but to make the connection like this is rather unlikely)
     
  19. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
    The name Německo and the other similar-sounding names above are derived from a Slavic root (in Russian немой, nemoy) meaning "mute", "dumb" i.e. "those who do not speak our language". In contrast, Slavic speakers called themselves slovo - "people of the word". At first nemoy was used for any foreigners who did not speak a Slavic language, but later it began to be used specifically for those who spoke German. It is believed that the Arabic name for Austria النمسا al-Nimsā also comes from this root as a loanword.
    From Wiki
     
  20. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Yes, Marc, we know as much already ;-).
    As you see above, lately it was about tracing via which route the (allegedly) Slavic loan travelled down there.
    Cheers, Herman
     
  21. avok

    avok Banned

    The historical word for Austria in Turkish is/used to be "Nemçe" (pronounced Nem-ché)
     
  22. werrr Senior Member

    It’s written in Al-Masudi’s (c. 896 - 956) “The Meadows of Gold” (c. 947).

    The particular section (I have only Czech source, so all the spelling is Czech) is based on depiction by a Slavic slave and it describes the most Western Slavic part of the important medieval slave trade route between the Kievan Rus' and the Caliphate of Córdoba, that is Bohemia.

    The slave claimed to be of the tribe of “Dúlaba” (? Doudlebové) ruled by a man who called himself “Wán.dž Sláf” (Venceslav with the original nasal). The only non-Slavic neighbouring tribes were the tribe of “Nám.džín” (Němci) ruled by a man called “gh.rába” (Graf) and the tribe of “Sásín” (Saxonians).

    This corresponds with other early Slavic sources which use the word “Němci” strictly for the Bavarians who were the only Germans in intensive contact with Slavs. With the decline of Bavarian power, that is with the rise of Saxonia under Henry the Fowler, the meaning of the word get extended to all the Germans and spread along the trade route to other Slavs (to Cracow and Kiev).

    In regards of the influence on Arabian, it is remarkable that Bavaria of that time included today’s Austria.
     
  23. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    Actually back during those times, there was probably not quite as much of a distinction as you might think.
     

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