Countries that have a different name in your language

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by tFighterPilot, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    Are there a countries or nationalities that have a different name in your language than in other languages? (not including countries like "United states" which are different in every language) What is their origin? In Hebrew, for example:

    France - צרפת Tsarfat. From the bible.
    Spain - ספרד Sfarad. Same
    Yemen - תימן Teiman. Same
    Egypt - מצריים Mitsrayim. Obviously from the bible.
    Greece - יון Yavan. Pretty similar to Arabic and Aramaic, but they pronounce it Yawan. Its origin is from the city Ionia.

    As far as nationalities go, one I can think of is Italian איטלקי Italki. Not sure what's the origin of the added k, but it doesn't exist in any other nationality in Hebrew.
  2. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    France --> «Γαλλία» (ɣa'lia, f) from the Latin Gallia (the land of the Gauls). The French people, persistently remain Gauls for us--> «Γάλλος, -λλίς/-ίδα» ('ɣalos, the male citizen of France, ɣa'lis- and colloquially ɣa'liða - the female one).
  3. Maroseika Moderator

    I think Hungary is the most variously named country in Europe, for example:

    English - Hungary, Spanish - Hungría (thru ME Greek Oungroi) - from Latin Ungari
    German - Ungarn, Bulgarian - Унгария (Ungaria) - from Latin Ungari
    Turkish - Macaristan (i.e. country of Magyars, from Hung. Magyarország)

    All these words (except Turkish, of course) orginate from Turkic Ονόγουροι > Latin Hunuguri. Turkic word is from Ancient Turkic оn ogur, on oguz (ten ogus tribes).

    In Russian language 'China' has initial k instead of ch lor s ike in most other European languages: China - Китай (Kitai). The reason is that to Russian this name came thru Turkic languages, and to other European - thru Latin directly from China (Marco Polo and Qin dynasty =>sino...).
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  4. francisgranada Senior Member

    Some examples from Hungarian:

    Magyar – Hungarian
    Olasz – Italian
    Lengyel – Polish
    Német – German

    The names of the states derive from these adjectives by adding the word ország ("country"):

    Magyarország – Hungary
    Olaszország– Italy
    Lengyelország – Poland
    Németország– Germany

    Some examples from other languages:

    Włochy – Italy in Polish
    Węgry – Hungary in Polish (the words Węgry and Hungary have the same origin)
    Deutschland – Germany in German
    Österreich – Austria in German
    Nemecko - Germany in Slovak (and similar words in other Slavic laguages)
    Maďarsko – Hungary in Slovak and Czech
    Rakúsko – Austria in Slovak
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  5. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    In Turkish:

    Yunanistan = Greece (Land of Ionians)
    Mısır = Egypt
    Fas = Morocco
    Cezayir = Algeria
    Beyaz Rusya = Belarus

    And Polish Language is called: Lehçe
  6. Maroseika Moderator

    This is just a calque - White Russia.

    How came this old Slavic ethnicon penetrated in Turkish? Maybe since the epoch of Polish-Turkish wars of the 17th century?
    In fact, Pole and Lehçe mean exactly the same - inhabitants of waste plot or virgin soil.
  7. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    In Lithuanian many countries are called differently than in other Indo-European languages. Poland is called Lenkija
    Germany- Vokietija, Hungary Vengrija. Hungary is Wegry in Polish, too. Italia in Polish is Wlochy.
  8. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    I don't know how/when it entered Turkish, but your suggestion is possible. In the history books, the Polish territories are referred to as Lehistan. But we don't use this term today. The country is called Polonya.
  9. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    More country names in Lithuanian: Prancuzija for France, Suomija for Finland, But Finland is called Suomi in Finnish, anyhow.
    As per Lehistan there is a legend that the Polish nation originated form Lech, one of the three Slavic brothers, Lech, Czech and Rus.
  10. snoopymanatee

    snoopymanatee Senior Member

    Also in Turkish:

    1. Algeria: Cezayir

    "Cezayir" comes from the Arabic word "cezîra" which means "peninsula".

    2. Egypt: Mısır

    Before Islam, its name was "Kemet" which means "black country". After Islam, this country has been called: "mısır".

    "Mısır" consists of 3 letters; "Mim" (M), "Sad" (S), "Ra" (R)

    Each letter represents a historical period of the country. Egyptian people had big difficulties. Arabic equivalent of difficulty is meşakkat. So, first letter "M" comes from "meşekkat". They had born with these difficulties. Arabic equivalent of bearing with difficulty is sabretmek. So, second letter "S" comes from "sabretmek". As a result of having big difficulties and bearing with them, they prospered. Arabic equivalent of prosper is refaha kavuşmak. So, the final letter "R" comes from "refah". So, Mısır means "meşakkat - sabır - refah".
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  11. terredepomme Senior Member

    Human Language
    How could France and Spain be in the bible(Old Testament)?
  12. Maroseika Moderator

    You doubt that Pyrenees excisted in the Bible epoch? Sfarad, mentioned in the Old Testament, is supposed by some scholars to mean that peninsula.
  13. Maroseika Moderator

    Russia - Krievija (after the ancient East-Slavic tribe Krivich bordering with ancient Letts).

    Russia - Venäjä (after Veneti, ancient name for tribes identified by some scholars as predecessors of Slavs)
    Estonia - Viro
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  14. terredepomme Senior Member

    Human Language
    By that peninsula you mean the Iberian peninsula?
    Then how do they call Portugal?
  15. Arath Senior Member

    In Bulgarian, country names don't differ from the ones in English (unless they have to be translated - United States, United Kindom), the only possible exception is China, which is Китай.

    As for nationalities, Albanias are sometimes called арнаути (arnauti), Hungarians - маджари (madzhari), Romanians - власи (vlasi)
  16. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Greeks call ourselves «Ἐλληνες» ('Elines) and our country «Ελλάς» (E'las, f.) or colloquially, «Ελλάδα» (E'laða, f.). The name - according to Hesychius and Aristotle - derives from the tribe of «Σελλοὶ» (Sĕl'lœ) who were also known as «Ἑλλοὶ» (Hĕl'lœ) and «Ἕλλοι» ('Hĕllœ) and lived around the oracle of Dodona in Epirus, in northwestern Greece. For the Classicist nerds (like myself), Hesychius writes: «Ἑλλοὶ, Ἔλληνες οἱ ἐν Δωδώνῃ καὶ οἱ ἱερεῖς» (Hellœ are called the Greeks (Hellenes) of Dodona, and the priests). Why this specific name spread and prevailed over e.g. the Homeric «Δαναοὶ» (Dănā'œ), and what is its etymology, remain obscure.
    The rest of the world calls Greeks as:
    1/ Greeks, Grecques, Greci etc (with the exception of the Norwegians if I'm not mistaken) after the first encountering of the Latins with the Greeks of the Greek colony of Cumæ in southern Italy, near Naples. The Greeks of Cumæ called themselves «Γραικοὶ» (Græ'kœ) because their colony was established by the inhabitants of the city of «Γραῖα» ('Grǣă) in Bœotia; «Γραικοὶ» > "Græci";
    2/ Yunanlar, Yawani, Yavanim, after the first encountering of the Persians with the Ionians who colonised western Asia Minor.
  17. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    Most likely that these weren't their original meanings. Only in medieval times the connection was made. I should point out that in medieval Hebrew Germany was called Ashkenaz (who was Japeth's grandson), but that name didn't stick and in modern Hebrew it's called גרמניה Germanya. Another country with a special name in Hebrew is India - הודו Hodu. It was also mentioned in the bible in the book of Esther describing the borders of the Persian kingdom (from India to Cush)
  18. ilocas2 Senior Member


    Germany - Německo (from němý - mute)
    Austria - Rakousko (from castle Ratgoz, today's name is Raabs)
    Hungary - Maďarsko (from magyar)
    Latvia - Lotyšsko
    Lithuania - Litva
    Greece - Řecko
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  19. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA

    Sweden – Ruotsi (from the Roslagen region of Sweden)
    Germany – Saksa (< Sachsen)

    Maroseika already mentioned Venäjä (related to the tribal name ​Wend) and Viro, which comes from the Virumaa area of Estonia.

    While the Soviet Union still existed, Finnish was one of the few European languages that translated the entire name, rather than just the “Union” part: they called the USSR Neuvostoliitto (< neuvosto, “council, soviet” + liitto “union”).

    Welsh has unique names for all the British Isles nations:

    Wales – Cymru
    England – Lloegr
    Scotland – Yr Alban
    Ireland – Iwerddon (cognate with Irish Ériu, etc.)
  20. terredepomme Senior Member

    Human Language
    So when they said "Ashkenazi" they literally meant "Germans?"
    Now I see the link between "Sfarad" and "Sepharadim." Quite interesting.
  21. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    I don't think there are country nomes in Portuguese that are strikingly different from other languages.
  22. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    Etymologically not different from Greece/Graecia: graik- > grěk- > hřěk- > řek-
  23. Istriano

    Istriano Senior Member

    India is Bharat is most official languages of India, except in English, Tamil and Malayalam which use the form India almost exclusively.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  24. L'irlandais

    L'irlandais Senior Member

    Dreyeckland/Alsace region
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    In Irish there are only a small few countries which are strikingly different. Comparative list

    Ireland = Éire (perhaps from (5th century BC) Greek : Ierne)
    Northern Ireland = Tuaisceart na hÉireann* (* dative of Éire)
    England = Sasana (perhaps from the word "Saxon", those who invaded the Island after the Vikings.)

    Norway = an Iorua (‘Norway’from Old Norse Norðvegr, the N has been lost/merged with the definite article "an" in Irish)
    (Scandinavia = Críoch Lochlann) I know it's not a country, but it is noticeably different. (Territory of fjords ; perhaps from Norse word for fjord)
    Both of these two terms come from a close association with Norwegian invaders over many centuries.

    Switzerland = an Eilbhéis (not sure of origin)
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
  25. sakvaka

    sakvaka Senior Member

    Ok, the Finnish list was already mentioned, though in three different posts.

    Viro - Estonia
    Suomi - Finland
    Saksa - Germany
    Venäjä - Russia
    Ruotsi - Sweden

    However, I went through the latest 'List of sovereign states' (Wikipedia) and discovered that this is the complete list of such 'special' country names.

    There is one nice piece of curiosity left, though:

    Vatikaanivaltio - Vatican City (lit. 'Vatican State')
  26. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    This reminds me that in Greek, Switzerland is η Ελβετία (i Elvetia​). And in Turkish it is İsviçre. It comes from the root 'Swiss', but might be hard to recognise at first sight.
  27. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    I think it's the Swiss themselves that name their country formally, Confœderatio Helvetica-The Helvetic Confederation (hence the country code for Switzerland--> CH).
  28. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    You mean cognate with Ierne, right? (When you write "from Greek Ierne", it sounds as though it was loaned from the Greek word, which I doubt is the case.)

    Probably cognate with Ierne are Latin Iverio, Hibernia.

    Based on a Google search, this has been linked to Latin Helvetia (but I'm not sure if it's a loan or a cognate).
  29. OneStroke Senior Member

    Hong Kong, China
    Chinese - Cantonese (HK)
    In Chinese, China is 中國 (Zhongguo), or the Central Country. In the past, the country/ies of China was just called by the name of the dynasty. For example, Emperor Wendi of Sui used to be the Duke of Sui, so when Wendi overthrew his grandson he called the empire 'Sui'. Then he unified China. Later, his son, Yangdi, was killed by Yuwen Huaji and Li Yuan unified China. He called the country Tang, as he used to be the Duke of Tang. 中國 used to mean the central plains, but then it changed to mean the whole China. Now Zhongguo is the only name.

    In Chinese, Burma/Myanmar is 'Miandian'. I have no idea why it's called Miandian, but I my Chinese history textbook used 'Miandian' (hundreds of years before Burma changed to Myanmar), so I think Miandian is also 'special'.

    In Chinese, North Korea is '北韓' (North Han) or '朝鮮' (Chaoxian). South Korea is '南韓' (South Han) or '韓國' (the country of Han). Chaoxian can also refer to the race or the peninsula. I don't know where these names come from, but none sound like the English or French names.

    The UK is 英國 (the country of Ying). Since England is 英格蘭 (Yinggelan), I think the Qings were confused with words like 'Britain', 'the United Kingdom' and 'England', and thus came up with this weird translation.

    In Chinese, Russia is '俄羅斯' (Eluosi) or '俄國' (the country of E). Eluosi does sound vaguely like Russia, but they don't sound very close. Portugal is '葡萄牙' (Putaoya), Spain is '西班牙' (Xipanya), Hungary is '匈牙利' (Xiongyali), France is 法國 (the country of Fa), Germany is 德國 (the country of De), etc. These are curious translations, but do sound vaguely like the English, and in some cases especially in Cantonese.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
  30. djara

    djara Senior Member

    Sousse, Tunisia
    Tunisia Arabic
    In Arabic, Greece is Yunan; Hungary is Majar; Austria is Nimsa; China is AS-Seen; Egypt is Misr; India is al-Hind; Germany is Almanya; Morocco is al-Maghrib...
  31. Moro12 Senior Member

    Georgia is

    in Georgian (original): საქართველო [sakartvelo]
    in Armenian: Վրաստան [vrastan]
    in English: Georgia
    in Russian: Грузия [gruziya]

    Armenia is

    in Armenian (original): Հայաստան [hayastan]
    in Georgian: სომხეთი [somkheti]
    in English: Armenia
    in Russian: Армения [armyeniya]
  32. OneStroke Senior Member

    Hong Kong, China
    Chinese - Cantonese (HK)
    I meant Xibanya. :eek:
  33. Explorer41 Senior Member

    1) немец; (some centuries ago this word meant "a foreigner" in Russian; "one who can't speak properly")
    2) a German;
    3) ein Deutcsh;
    4) un tedesco;
    5) un allemand;
    There have been other variants in this thread. ;)
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  34. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    The offical name of "Switzerland" is "Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft".

    Schweizerisch - Swiss
    Eid - oath (this is meant)
    Genossenschaft - association, cooperative
  35. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    It's usually called Gruzya in Hebrew as well (its people Gruzinim) due to influence of the recent Russian immigration. It's considered somewhat derogatory though.
  36. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    What is the normal term (non-derogatory)?
  37. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    How do you say Lithuania, the United States and Poland in Chinese, Mandarin, or Cantonese.
  38. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    The country's usual name, pronounced Ge'orgya (גאורגיה). The people are called Ge'orgim.
  39. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    perhaps from the Hungarian name of their country Magyarország
    possibly from the French name, Allemagne
  40. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Isn't the Latin translation of that name Confœderatio Helvetica?
  41. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    Tyskland is not that close to Germany either, or Deutchsland, I think. In Swedish.
  42. L'irlandais

    L'irlandais Senior Member

    Dreyeckland/Alsace region
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    Appearantly the Greek word was based on the Celtic name for the Island at the time the explorers made their map.
  43. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    The only country I can recall that has a name that differentiates (but not that much) from other languages are Latvia as it's called Lettland in Swedish.
  44. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Yes, Tyskland is Germany in Swedish, but it's from the German name of their country, not borrowed from English, as Sweden is closer to Germany both geographically and in language than to England.
  45. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    Yes (confoedertatio) and no (Helvetica), the "Latin" name seems to be much younger. Helvetia as personification of the Swiss first appeared in the 17th century. She is named after the celtic tribe of the Helvetii which lived in that area in Roman times.

    In German it is also "Lettland" :)
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  46. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    I should perhaps have written Latinized name rather than Latin (of the Romans), as the names of many countries, provinces and cities have been Latinized that didn't exist when Latin was the language in use.
  47. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    Tyskland and Deutschland have an etymologic connection. The Germanic "theoda" means people.

    Germany is obviously from Latin.
  48. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    An old Swedish spelling of Tyskland was Tytzskaland, you can see the connection with Deutchland better there.
  49. elirlandes

    elirlandes Senior Member

    Dublin & Málaga
    Ireland English
    As does Irish:
    Ireland – Éire
    Wales – An Bhreatain Bheag [Little Britain - remember the island is Great Britain (an Bhreatain) and the welsh are the last of the Britons on the Island]
    England – Sasana [Saxony - land of the Saxons]
    Scotland – Albain

    Pretty much everything else I can think of in Irish is an irish version of the English/Latin/Local language, except...
    Newfoundland (Canada) - Talamh an Éisc [the Land of the Fish]
  50. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Interesting -- "Little Britain" is the meaning of the word for Brittany in many languages, including Scots Gaelic (according to Wikipedia, they call Brittany a’ Bhreatainn Bhig and Wales a' Chuimrigh).

    What's the Irish Gaelic term for Brittany?

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