Greece

elroy

Imperfect Mod
US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
Last year, I started a thread about the origin of the unusual Arabic word for "Austria."

I'd like to ask the same question about our word for "Greece" - اليونان (pronounced al-yuunaan).

Any ideas?
 
  • MarcB

    Senior Member
    US English
    Elroy,
    It is an ancient name for eastern Greece and the modern and ancient name for the Ionian sea and islands of the same name. Note in Greek the Ionia is spelled differently from the sea and islands
     

    Anatoli

    Senior Member
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    Hi Elroy,
    there was a discussion about the name for Greece in different languages in this thread.
    Interestingly, this name is not unique to Arabic. In Turkish it's Yunanistan.:)
    I think most Muslim countries take their word for Greece from Arabic - Latin for Muslim nations, so we need to find out its origin in Arabic, IMHO.

    Read this:
    http://bilwander.bravehost.com/yunanistan.htm

    The "Yunan" apparently comes from "Ionian".
    "Yunan" comes from Ionia (the predominant Greek area of ancient Asia Minor) and it's used in Arabic and Farsi as well
    More names for Greece in other languages.

    http://www.geonames.org/countries/GR/other-names-for-greece.html


    In Chinese it's 希腊 / 希臘 Xīlà Greece, have nothing to do with any other name for Greece but its origin is Cantonese
    hei1 laap6 - transliteration for Hellas.
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    I am wondering where the "aan" part of Yuunaan comes from. Major pre-existing cognates do not seem to carry this extra portion. E.g., Yavan (Hebrew), Yavana (Sanskrit), Yona (Pali).
     

    MarcB

    Senior Member
    US English
    I am wondering where the "aan" part of Yuunaan comes from. Major pre-existing cognates do not seem to carry this extra portion. E.g., Yavan (Hebrew), Yavana (Sanskrit), Yona (Pali).
    Flaminius, see my post #2 Ionian Sea and islands is the name in English although in Greek it is Ionoi= Ιόνιοι.
    Which is part of Greece the whole country is Hellas Ελλάς.
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    Flaminius, see my post #2 Ionian Sea and islands is the name in English although in Greek it is Ionoi= Ιόνιοι.
    Which is part of Greece the whole country is Hellas Ελλάς.
    I wonder if you mean to say that the English "Ionian" and the Arabic "al-yuunaan" share the same origin after "-an" being a typical Latin suffix that makes adjectives for place names. I don't think Latin is more likely to be the source of the Arabic word than such Oriental languages as I mentioned in my previous post.
     

    mansio

    Senior Member
    France/Alsace
    The ancient Greek, as the ancient Germans, were a loose federation (or juxtaposition) of closely related peoples or tribes.
    The Germanic tribe that was in contact with the French were the Alamans, so the French called Germany "Allemagne" (the country of the Alamans).
    The easternmost Greek people were the Ionians. So all the neighbors to the east called the Greek "Ionians" and their country "Ionia".
     
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