Countries that have a different name in your language

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In Greek:

Latvia --> «Λεττονία» /leto'ni.a/ (fem.)
Switzerland --> «Ελβετία» /elve'ti.a/ (fem.)
England --> «Αγγλία» /aŋg'li.a/ (fem.)
Belarus --> «Λευκορωσία» /lefkoro'si.a/ (fem.) although it's a calque of the original name
France --> «Γαλλία» /ɣa'li.a/ (fem.)
 
  • Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    In Spanish, I think that the most different one is Letonia for Latvia. Other names that may seem different are just translations into Spanish like Reino Unido (UK), Países Bajos (The Netherlands), San Cristóbal y Nieves (St. Kitts and Nevis), Costa de Marfil (Ivory Coast/Côte d'Ivoire)...

    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.
    In Spanish, the usual term is griego/a but heleno/a has some use too.
    I think it's the Swiss themselves that name their country formally, Confœderatio Helvetica-The Helvetic Confederation (hence the country code for Switzerland--> CH).
    As other users have stated, not really. However, Confederación Helvética has some use in Spanish as sort of formal name for what otherwise we call Suiza.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    In Catalan, aside from those variations shared with other Romance languages (Alemanya for Germany and Letònia for Latvia) or the logical translations (Estats Units or EUA for the US, Països Baixos for the Netherlands, Regne Unit for the UK, etc), nothing really differs much from the English or French forms, only the spelling revealing that it's a Catalan form: Iemen, Moçambic, Txèquia...

    If anything, obviously the Pyrénées-Orientales department in France, in the recently renamed Occitanie region, is always called Catalunya Nord ('North Catalonia').
     

    Chrzaszcz Saproksyliczny

    Senior Member
    Polish - Prussia
    In Polish:
    Niemcy - Germany ("the non-speakers")
    Włochy - Italy (apparently from an ancient word meaning "latin-" or "romance-speaker", related to terms for Vlah/Wallach in Balkans and Romania; I'm not sure but I think names for "Welsh" in Germanic languages may have the same origin)
    Węgry - Hungary (probably from an ancient term onogur, from ProtoBulgarian, or Turkish?)
    Holandia - Either Holland or the Netherlands (there has never been a distinction in common use of the language)

    Less unusual:
    Indie - India (in Polish it's plural)
    Litwa - Lithuania
    Łotwa - Latvia
    Chorwacja - Croatia

    I'm curious to find this sentence in a Wikipedia article: " The Slovenian term Lahi has also been used to designate Italians.". To me it was always an Ukrainian term for Poles.

    A side note: In the 1990s, Roma people (or 'gypsies') were often given a derogatory name "Rumuni" no matter where they were from - I guess because of a migration trend from Romania. This created confusion as it is also just a name for Romanians.
     

    Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    @Chrzaszcz Saproksyliczny,

    Włochy - Italy (apparently from an ancient word meaning "latin-" or "romance-speaker", related to terms for Vlah/Wallach in Balkans and Romania; I'm not sure but I think names for "Welsh" in Germanic languages may have the same origin)

    ___________________

    You're right, although the etymology is rather unclear. The name of my country in English, Wales, and the national adjective, Welsh, are related to these terms in Old English. Wealh can be construed as 'the Romanised ones' or 'foreigners/strangers' and is also represented by the Walloons of the Low Countries and the walnut (i.e. 'foreign nut'.)

    You may have seen on other threads that we call our country Cymru and the people, Cymry. This goes back to the idea of something like, *Comrbogi, 'the co-people/compatriots' in older Celtic. (This would be Latinised to Cambria and Cumbria at a later stage.)
     

    Terio

    Senior Member
    Français (Québec)
    In French, also related to the family of welsh, I think : Gaule (ancient France), Galice (northwestern Spain), Galicie (Poland / Ukraine), Pays de Gales (French for Wales), Valais (Switzerland), etc.
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    @Chrzaszcz Saproksyliczny,

    Włochy - Italy (apparently from an ancient word meaning "latin-" or "romance-speaker", related to terms for Vlah/Wallach in Balkans and Romania; I'm not sure but I think names for "Welsh" in Germanic languages may have the same origin)

    ___________________

    You're right, although the etymology is rather unclear. The name of my country in English, Wales, and the national adjective, Welsh, are related to these terms in Old English. Wealh can be construed as 'the Romanised ones' or 'foreigners/strangers' and is also represented by the Walloons of the Low Countries and the walnut (i.e. 'foreign nut'.)
    During the middles ages in Alsace the Welches were a french-speaking community living in one of the valleys surrounded by Alsacians ; similar origin to the Welsh in the UK(Wales/Cymru) - the word simply means "foreigner". (Goggle : Le Pays Welche en Alsace) For the German speaking Alsacians it meant the French speakers. The inhabitants were forbidden to speak French, refused to speak German and so communicated which each other in their dialect; Welche a distant cousin of the Swiss dialect, Rheto-Romansch. There are still some speakers of the dialect alive today.
     
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    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    The Welsh word for Brittany is Llydaw (just as surprising as Lloegr for England).

    The Latvian name for Estonia is Igaunija.

    A Greek person is 'berdzeni' in Georgian, the country is 'Saberdzneti' (sa- is a prefix).
    The name apparently derives from Byzantium, with an extra Georgian 'r'.
     

    symposium

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    Funny fact: in Italian "Deutschland" is "Germania" but "Allemagna/Alemagna/ Alamagna" were definitely more common in the past. "Alamagna" was often interpreted as "La Magna" (The Great), so one the many names of Germany in old Italian was "The Great" (the Great Land, I suppose). In Mozart's "Don Giovanni" Leporello calls Germany "Lamagna", for example.
     

    Terio

    Senior Member
    Français (Québec)
    Il French, Germany is Allemagne and German is allemand. As far as I know, it all comes from a Germanic root that means « all the men ».
     

    Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    Continuing the theme, Welsh for 'Germany' - yr Almaen (with preceding definite article). The people are Almaenwyr (or in older Welsh, Ellmyn.)
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    Not a big diference, but Spanish and Portuguese are among the few languages that say Argelia (Argélia in Portuguese) instead of Algeria (or something similar to the later). And Spanish and Portuguese are among the few languages that place the i of Ukraine after the /n/ instead of before it: Ucrania (Ucrânia in Portuguese).
     

    Stoggler

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Il French, Germany is Allemagne and German is allemand. As far as I know, it all comes from a Germanic root that means « all the men ».
    There are a number of languages where the name for Germany is derived from the Latin Alemanni, so the French name for Germany is not an example of “countries that have a different name in your language” (cf numerous posts in this topic).
     
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    Not a big diference, but Spanish and Portuguese are among the few languages that say Argelia (Argélia in Portuguese) instead of Algeria (or something similar to the later). And Spanish and Portuguese are among the few languages that place the i of Ukraine after the /n/ instead of before it: Ucrania (Ucrânia in Portuguese).
    Greek does the same: «Ουκρανία» [u.kraˈni.a] (fem.)
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    Ucrania and Ucraniano sound so awful to me, I don't know why, sorry, sorry :(
    An ucraniano can also be called ucranio and an ucraniana can also be called ucrania although ucranio/a for ucraniano/a is not that frequent. Anyway, it'll keep sounding awful to your ears and what it's worse some natives won't be familiar with the use of ucranio/a for ucraniano/a what may astonish them.
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    Il French, Germany is Allemagne and German is allemand. As far as I know, it all comes from a Germanic root that means « all the men ».
    When my mother says "alleman", she means "everyone". Standard Dutch would be "allen" or "iedereen".
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    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...).
    It should be noted that Kitay has an entirely different etymon, 契丹 "Khitans" (Mongolic tribes which ruled North China as the Liao dynasty). Similarly it was called "Tabğač" in Old Turkic, basing on the former conquerors from the 拓跋 tribe (mostly known as Tuoba).
     

    Olaszinhok

    Senior Member
    Standard Italian
    As for Switzerland, Italian does not have a completely different word, the etymology of the word is the same as in the other Romance languages. Nevertheless, it sounds rather different from its sister languages.
    Italian: Svizzera - z'vit͡st͡sera
    Spanish: Suiza
    Portuguese: Suíça
    French: Suisse
    Catalan: Suïssa
     
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    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    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...).
    The Nordic languages also use Kina, Kína or Kiina. The k sounds like [ç ~ ɕ] in Norwegian and Swedish and [k] in the others.
     

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    'Montenegro', a name adopted by most western languages, is derived from Venetian and means 'black mountain', just like the country's native name, Crna Gora.
    Slavic languages use their own Slavic version, e.g. Černá Hora (Czech), Czarnogóra (Polish), Черногория [Chernogoriya] (Russian).

    However, some non-Slavic languages have also opted for a translation of Montenegro, resulting in names that are not recognizable to either 'Montenegro users' or Slavic speakers:

    Karadağ (Turkish)
    Mali i Zi (Albanian)
    Μαυροβούνιο [Mavrovúnio] (Greek)
    Melnkalne (Latvian)
    Juodkalnija (Lithuanian)
    Svartfjallaland (Icelandic)
     
    The Finnish Ruotsi “Sweden” has already been mentioned (there is also the Estonian Rootsi and related words in other Baltic-Finnic languages), but it's interesting that this is etymologically the same word as Russia (except the Greek -a), so it turns out that the same term is used in different languages for two separate countries (the Finnish/Estonian meaning is most probably original). In a dialect of Karelian it may also stand for “Finland”, so we get a third variant… In particular, compare the originally identical Vepsian Ročinma “Sweden” and Komian Рочму/Ročmu “Russia” (literally “Swedish/Russian land”).

    P. S. The same case as with walx-, of course.

    P. P. S. And, going deeper in history, since Veneti of Veneto and Vistula Veneti had the same Indo-European ethnonym, the Baltic-Finnic words for “Russia” (Venäjä, Venemaa etc.) go back to the same prototype as Venice.
     
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    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In a dialect of Karelian it may also stand for “Finland”
    For all I know, in most Karelian dialects it's a colloquial term for "Finn/Swede" and/or "Finland/Sweden", with no distinction between the two (of course, there are formal official terms as well, basically calqued from Finnish).
    E.g.: Murginaigu on rauhuaigu, daže ruočči ei piädy leikata - "The dinner time is a time of peace, even a Finn/Swede doesn't cut heads off (while it lasts)."
     

    rarabara

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    Beyaz Rusya = Belarus
    belarus ,I think same.
    because belarus means "white russia" in russian language as I know (I know a bit russian and I think this can be confirmed by a russian member )
    but it is being read a bit differently (oblique a in bela and a bit oblique e in bela word ,that word means white (bealea+rus we write it "bela"+"rus")

    the same applies other words as in this example:

    belea gorky: means white train.
     
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    belarus ,I think same.
    because belarus means "white russia" in russian language as I know (I know a bit russian and I think this can be confirmed by a russian )
    but it is being read a bit differently (oblique a in bela and a bit oblique e in bela word ,that word means white (bealea we write it "bela")
    Actually, Belarus is an English rendition of the Belarusian name of that country. It literally means “Whiterus” (in one word; for the generic name see Wikipedia).
     

    rarabara

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    Actually, Belarus is an English rendition of the Belarusian name of that country. It literally means “Whiterus” (in one word; for the generic name see Wikipedia).
    a correction: I should have meant "white russian" rather than "white russia" but with this,I think the allegation still stands because sometimes or in general nationalities can be used on behalf of countries.
    as a response,I may request some other russian members too. because that reference does not prove that that words was not russian.

    (addition: this of course also does not prove that belea was a russian word ,but I had spoken with many russian people and they used that word as in its stated form,I can clearly say that russians use that word for white colour)

    or could you provide more reference?I
     
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    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Greece - יון Yavan. Pretty similar to Arabic and Aramaic, but they pronounce it Yawan.
    It’s pronounced “al-Yūnān” in Arabic.
    "Cezayir" comes from the Arabic word "cezîra" which means "peninsula".
    It means “island” not “peninsula.”
    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".
    Are you sure of this?? It sounds very far-fetched.
    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...
    Greece, Hungary, and Austria have a definite article. Also, I thought it was “an-Namsa”? “Hanġārya” is also used for Hungary (that’s what I say).

    al-Yūnān
    al-Majar / Hanġārya
    an-Namsa
    aṣ-Ṣīn
    Miṣr
    al-Hind
    Almānya
    al-Maġrib

    There’s also “al-Jazāʾir” for Algeria.
    Also in Arabic, [...] "Cape Verde" is "Al-Ra's Al-Akhdar"
    I don’t think literal translations count?
     

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Are you sure of this?? It sounds very far-fetched.
    Snoopymanatee hasn't posted since 2013, so I don't think we'll get an answer from him.
    The acronym in his post is of course a prime example of folk-etymological nonsense.

    According to Wikipedia,
    " The name is of Semitic origin, directly cognate with other Semitic words for Egypt such as the Hebrew "מִצְרַיִם‎" ("Mitzráyim"). The oldest attestation of this name for Egypt is the Akkadian "mi-iṣ-ru" ("miṣru")[17][18] related to miṣru/miṣirru/miṣaru, meaning "border" or "frontier".[19] The Neo-Assyrian Empire used the derived term Rassam cylinder Mu-ṣur.jpg, Mu-ṣur. "
     

    rarabara

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    @AndrasBP
    Hi, yes :)
    but what does mountain have to do with roller coaster? And yes, i used belea gorky for white roller coaster, but i learnt this from russians
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    but what does mountain have to do with roller coaster?
    As I mentioned, there's the semantic development "a little mountain" > "a slide" (where children can slide down for entertainment; first occuring naturally in winter, then as a piece of equipment).
    The Russian urheimat lacks any noteworthy mountains or rocky formations, so "a little mountain" must be really little. :) Cf. also expressions like "под горку" - "down the slope" (literally ~~"to beneath of the little mountain").
     
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    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    The Finnish Ruotsi “Sweden” has already been mentioned (there is also the Estonian Rootsi and related words in other Baltic-Finnic languages), but it's interesting that this is etymologically the same word as Russia (except the Greek -a), so it turns out that the same term is used in different languages for two separate countries (the Finnish/Estonian meaning is most probably original). In a dialect of Karelian it may also stand for “Finland”, so we get a third variant… In particular, compare the originally identical Vepsian Ročinma “Sweden” and Komian Рочму/Ročmu “Russia” (literally “Swedish/Russian land”).

    P. S. The same case as with walx-, of course.

    P. P. S. And, going deeper in history, since Veneti of Veneto and Vistula Veneti had the same Indo-European ethnonym, the Baltic-Finnic words for “Russia” (Venäjä, Venemaa etc.) go back to the same prototype as Venice.
    There is a (possible) connection between the names Ruotsi/Rootsi and Russia. The name Ruotsi for Sweden comes from Roslagen, the islands and coastal area in Uppland, north of Stockholm (the word ros- have the meaning of rowing (boats), and the people traded with what today is parts of Russia. Some of these traders settled in Novgorod and along the river-routes to the Black Sea. So the people from Roslagen is connected with the Rus people, and thus also the names of the countries.
    Rus' people - Wikipedia

    As for Ruotsi in Karelian for Finland, well, Finland was a part of Sweden from late 12th, early/mid 13th century until 1809.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    As for Ruotsi in Karelian for Finland, well, Finland was a part of Sweden from late 12th, early/mid 13th century until 1809.
    And, importantly, Finns were Lutheran, just like Swedes. Ethnic Finns of the late 19th century used to call Karelians "Russians" ("Ryssä", generally derogatory) for basically the same reason.
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    And, importantly, Finns were Lutheran, just like Swedes. Ethnic Finns of the late 19th century used to call Karelians "Russians" ("Ryssä", generally derogatory) for basically the same reason.
    Well, even if Finland was Lutheran since the 16th century, some of the belief of old pre-Christian traditions (and gods) remained in Finnish Karelia, when Elias Lönnroth compiled Kalevala.
    (With Karelia, what parts of the area are you talking about? For example, most of the people living on the Karelian isthmus was ethnic Finns until 1944.)
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Well, even if Finland was Lutheran since the 16th century, some of the belief of old pre-Christian traditions (and gods) remained in Finnish Karelia, when Elias Lönnroth compiled Kalevala.
    (With Karelia, what parts of the area are you talking about? For example, most of the people living on the Karelian isthmus was ethnic Finns until 1944.)
    I mean ethnic Karelians, of course. The Karelian isthmus was pretty much re-populated soon after the Treaty of Stolbovo, which formalized its conquest by Sweden; most Karelian peasants simply fled into the Russian Tsardom, which accepted them, allowing to settle near the city of Tver and in some other northern areas (that's how Tver Karelians originated). The Swedish crown made up for it by settling Lutherans on the isthmus, chiefly Äyrämöiset and Savonians. White Karelia and Olonets Karelia have never belonged to Sweden, though, so the local Orthodox Karelian population remained there.

    P.S.: As far as I'm aware, Lönnroth had to travel beyond the borders of the Grand Duchy of Finland, although he visited Ladoga Karelia extensively (which was a part of Finland back then).
     
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    clamor

    Senior Member
    French - France
    In Turkish:

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

    And Polish Language is called: Lehçe
    In Armenian there are some in common:
    *Լեհաստան (Lehasdan, Lehastan) means Poland
    *Յունաստան (Hunasdan, Hunastan < Yunastan in Old Armenian) means Greece

    There are other atypical names, such as
    *Վրաստան (Vërasdan, Vërastan), Georgia
    *Հայաստան (Hayasdan, Hayastan), Armenia

    And several country names stem from the same origin as their English equivalents, but they are hardly recognizable.
    *Ղրղզստան (Ghërghëzsdan, -stan, written Ghrghzstan), Kyrgyzstan
    *Հնդկաստան (Hëntgasdan, Hëndkastan, from <Hndik> "Indian"), India
    *Պարսկաստան (Barsgasdan, Parskastan), Persia/Iran (but Իրան, Iran exists)
    *Յորդանան (Hortanan, from Old Armenian Yordanan), Jordan
    *Ադրբեջան in Eastern Armenian (Adërbejan), Azerbaijan (Azërbeyjan in Western Armenian)
    *Խորվաթիա (Khorvat'ia), Croatia

    And it's not a country, but Ղրիմ (Ghërim), Խրիմ (Khërim), for Crimea.
     
    Not completeley related to the OP's request, but I found an interesting story I have kept in my computer files.
    Spain in Greek is «Ισπανία» [is.paˈni.a] (fem.) which comes for the Latin Hispania (in Koine Greek and in Katharevousa Greek, the initial -I- takes the rough breathing mark (spiritus asper): «σπανία»), but there's an alternative (pseudo-)etymology for the origin of the name of Spain.

    The pseudepigraphic "Plutarchs' About Rivers, Mountains and things found in them" (book 16: Nile), reads about the origin of the name of Spain:

    «Ζεὺς δι' ἐρωτικὴν ἐπιθυμίαν ἐκ Λύκτου πόλεως Κρητικῆς, Ἄργην νύμφην ἁρπάσας ἀπήνεγκεν εἰς ὄρος τῆς Αἰγύπτου, Ἄργιλλον καλούμενον· καὶ ἐγέννησεν ἐξ αὐτῆς υἱὸν, καλούμενον Διόνυσον· ὃς ἀκμάσας εἰς τιμὴν τῆς μητρὸς τὸν λόφον Ἄργιλλον μετωνόμασεν· στρατολογήσας δὲ Πᾶνας καὶ Σατύρους, [τοῖς] ἰδίοις σκήπτροις Ἰνδοὺς ὑπέταξεν· νικήσας δὲ καὶ Ἰβηρίαν, Πᾶνα κατέλιπεν ἐπιμελητὴν τῶν τόπων, ὃς τὴν χώραν ἀπ' αὐτοῦ Πανίαν μετωνόμασεν· ἣν οἱ μεταγενέστεροι παραγώγως, Σπανίαν προσηγόρευσαν».

    English translation: "Zeus, through an erotic yearning, having abducted the nymph Arge from Lyctus, a Cretan city, carried her off to a mountain of Egypt called Argillus. He produced from her a son called Dionysus, who, when he had grown, in honour of his mother renamed the crest Argillus. When he had mustered pans and satyrs, he subjugated India, and, having conquered Iberia too, he left Pan behind as overseer of the regions. From him, he renamed the territory Pania, which the later generations by a slight change, named Spania."

    So, when someone wanted to visit the land of the god Pan, Pania, s/he travelled «Ἐς Πανία» (to Pania) > *Ἐσπανία > Ηispania/España.
    A nice fairy tale to put the kids to bed :)
     

    I.K.S.

    Senior Member
    Moroccan Arabic
    Some archaic appellations from official Moroccan Arabic:
    England or the UK in general > landreez
    Germany > bros
    Netherlands or Belgium > falmank
    Russia > el mosco
    Portugal > bartqeez
    Georgia > el korj
    Mexico > maïshiqo
    USA > el marikan
     
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