Why is German so deviant?

22caps

Senior Member
Hey, I don't speak German at all, but I was wondering if someone could explain to me why German, of all other languages, changes the most between languages.

For instance... English = German.... Spanish = Alemán.... Italian = Tedesco... German = Deutsche (sp?)...

Whereas for, let's say, Spanish.... English = Spanish.... Spanish = Español.... Italian = Spagnolo.... French = Espagnole.....

They are all very similar for other languages, just not German. Anybody know the origin or reason of this?
 
  • mddb

    Member
    España - France (Español - Français)
    An interesting question, indeed. I am far from being sure of this, but i wonder if it could somehow be related to the fact that Germany is a very recent nation, only existing as such since the 1870s. Before that, there were many small independent states and principalties (the landers, i believe they are called now), each with its name. So, to name them as a whole, as a people, maybe each language took a different reference depending on which nation they were confronted to, or something like this. Maybe someone else has more ideas on this.


    Nevertheless, in the examples you give, there may be less differences than what appears at first glance: the spanish word "alemán" suggests it may have been originally the arabic word for "the germans" (al-german, or something like that), so it would be just like in english or french.

    (i may be absolutelly wrong, as i am supposing all this, but is someone knows for true maybe he/she could shed some light on this).
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    22caps said:
    Hey, I don't speak German at all, but I was wondering if someone could explain to me why German, of all other languages, changes the most between languages.

    For instance... English = German.... Spanish = Alemán.... Italian = Tedesco... German = Deutsche (sp?)...

    Whereas for, let's say, Spanish.... English = Spanish.... Spanish = Español.... Italian = Spagnolo.... French = Espagnole.....

    They are all very similar for other languages, just not German. Anybody know the origin or reason of this?
    I have no idea, but it's interesting that it's so close the other way:

    English=Englisch

    More interesting to me is that German seems closer grammatically to English than French and Spanish. (The words order is often dramatically different, but otherwise there are striking similarities.)
     

    Ralf

    Senior Member
    German
    mddb said:
    ... if it could somehow be related to the fact that Germany is a very recent nation, only existing as such since the 1870s. Before that, there were many small independent states and principalties (the landers, i believe they are called now), each with its name. So, to name them as a whole, as a people, maybe each language took a different reference depending on which nation they were confronted to, or something like this. Maybe someone else has more ideas on this.
    Well, I think the answer dates back some 2,000 years rather than can be found 200 years ago. The German spoken in various German states didn't differ that much. In fact, the term 'German' in reference to the people and language had been already established in early mediaeval ages. On the other hand, as far as I know, the language of the German tribes can be assumed to had been characterized by striking differences. About 500 B.C. the first vowel shift in German language caused an assimilation of several languages or better dialects and adopted various expressions to refer to one and the same term. So it is not unlikely that various expressions had been used to refer to the German language.

    One of the larger tribes had been called the 'Teutons', who unmistakably gave rise to 'teutonic' and the related adjectives 'teutsch' (mediaeval) and 'deutsch' or 'te desca' (italian), while 'german' is of Latin origin. By the way, as far as I know, the Teutons settled across northern and northwestern Europe (Scandinavia, Great Britain).

    mddb said:
    Nevertheless, in the examples you give, there may be less differences than what appears at first glance: the spanish word "alemán" suggests it may have been originally the arabic word for "the germans" (al-german, or something like that), so it would be just like in english or french.
    This absolutely correct.
     

    Tede

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    What a coincidence, we were talking about this yesterday in German class! Ralf is pretty close to the mark, it started 2000 years ago with the Romans and a guy named Cornelius Tacitus in AD 98, a Roman historian. The people living in the area known as Germany were dispersed and "barbaric" (to the Romans), so he called him, in Latin, Germanen. When the Romans went north, they brought language, culture, and technology with them. Some of the tribes allowed themselves to become latinized, these were the French (for the most part).

    There are a few reasons other lands call Germans by different names, but mostly it's due to the fact that the German people were semi-nomadic and had no major cities or unification beyond language. That is to say, they were not a well defined nation. For instance, most European nations have one major city, like Paris, or Rome, that is clearly the center. But in Germany, you don't really have that. Berlin is trying to become that center, but 1000 years ago there wasn't a cultural or economic center.

    Anyway, the English called the Dutch people the Dutch (and the Germans call themselves "deutsch"), but then they heard from the Romans of these other people past the Dutch, these Germans, so they called the country Germany (Germania in Italian). Many other languages call the Germans something related to "foreigner" or "stranger".

    As far as the origin of the word Deutch and Deutchland, the Teutons and Charlemagne (Karl der Grosse in German, or "Karl the Big Guy") had a lot to do with it. The Teutons threated the Roman Empire 113-101 BC, they called themselves "teutonisch", from which "deutch" is a derivative. Karl der Grosse started using this word and spreading it's popularity.

    Well there's a nutshell discription, there's a lot more to it than that but if you were just curious, hopefully this satiates you.
     

    Ralf

    Senior Member
    German
    Really interesting, Tede. Thanks a lot. Sometimes it is really worth to contemplate about one's own native language.
    Tede said:
    ... Berlin is trying to become that center, but 1000 years ago there wasn't a cultural or economic center.
    Well, this is an intersting aspect as well. But the fact that Berlin has to 'take pains' to become the 'nation's center' today is also a result of the recent history since 1945. Because of the predominating Prussia Berlin had been the capital of Germany since the unification of the "Deutsche Reich" in 1871. However, you are absolutely right in your explanations and conclusions.

    Cheers,

    Ralf
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    I'm also really impressed. I didn't know all these facts yet, but I can add that there might have been some certain tribes that founded their nations in other contries. Because it isn't different from nation to nation as the word "Deutsch" is called, since in Spanish it's Alemán, in Arabic 'almaanii ( ألمانى ), in French allemand (almost the same stem) and with German (English): the proper Latin word is Germanus/Germanicus that means something like brotherly/true/..., in Hebrew it's germanith ( גרמוית ). And I think the Chinese word is also something like this with the same stem.

    But I cannot find a proper word in another language for tedesco.

    Nevertheless, Tede did a good job and I don't know what to add any more.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Tede said:
    What a coincidence, we were talking about this yesterday in German class! Ralf is pretty close to the mark, it started 2000 years ago with the Romans and a guy named Cornelius Tacitus in AD 98, a Roman historian. The people living in the area known as Germany were dispersed and "barbaric" (to the Romans), so he called him, in Latin, Germanen. When the Romans went north, they brought language, culture, and technology with them. Some of the tribes allowed themselves to become latinized, these were the French (for the most part). (cutting...
    Very, very interesting! Thanks for giving us that information. :)
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    mddb said:
    Nevertheless, in the examples you give, there may be less differences than what appears at first glance: the spanish word "alemán" suggests it may have been originally the arabic word for "the germans" (al-german, or something like that), so it would be just like in english or french.
    I don't think so. The French word "Allemand" and the Spanish word "Alemán" (Portuguese "Alemão", etc.) are derived from the Latin "Alamanni", the name of one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Western Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire.
     

    Apus

    Senior Member
    Confederatio Helvetica French
    whodunit said:
    I'm also really impressed. I didn't know all these facts yet, but I can add that there might have been some certain tribes that founded their nations in other contries. Because it isn't different from nation to nation as the word "Deutsch" is called, since in Spanish it's Alemán, in Arabic 'almaanii ( ألمانى ), in French allemand (almost the same stem) and with German (English): the proper Latin word is Germanus/Germanicus that means something like brotherly/true/..., in Hebrew it's germanith ( גרמוית ). And I think the Chinese word is also something like this with the same stem.
    Alamann was the name of a German tribe established on the sides of the Rhine and in Switzerland. The name has nothing to do with Arabic. Not all names beginning with al- are Arabic. The Arabic word is a borrowing from either Spanish or French. The root of Alamann is al- from which are also Greek allos "other", English else, alien, Old High German Elisâzzo Elsaz (French Alsace): the land on the other side of the Rhine.

    English German is borrowed from Latin Germanus which mean "real" (Italian germano "true real"). It was first mentioned by Poseidonios, Tacitus and Caesar. It is the exact equivalent of the French franc meaning "true" and is also the name of the Germanic tribe who immigrated into northern France (the Franks), and means "the real ones":
    The Germans were called by the Ancient Greeks Gnesioi (the true ones). The Germans call themselves Deutsch, from a name meaning "the people", and cognate to Latvian tauta, Lithuanian tauta "people", and also "Germany". Old High German diot "people", diutisk "German", Dutch Duits "German". Dutch was a name given by the British to the Germanic peoples but later has been restricted to the Netherlanders.
    From "Deutsch" comes the Italian Tedesco and the French Teuton.The Germans are called Saksa (the Saxons) by the Scandinavians, Saksalaiset by the Finns, Vâcietis by the Lithuanians (those from the West), Nem by the Hungarians, Neamts by the Romans, Niemcy by the Poles, Nemdzios by the Modern Greeks, Nemets by the Russians, these words are related to Italian nimico "ennemy" (The eastern European peoples having suffered many invasions by the Germanic tribes have come to call them "the ennemy").

    Hope this helps.

     

    Silvia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I loved this discussion. What's been said so far is very very interesting.

    Let's solve the puzzle about the word "tedesco" :)

    If you look at it, the word tedesco is quite similar to "deutsch" and this is not a mere coincidence: they share the same root. In middle age, in the German territory (that is what we call Germany now), which was not unified, two languages were spoken: Latin (by clergy and educated people) and a popular/vulgar language called "Theodisce". This word appears for the first time in a paper dated 786 a.C. and comes from German dialects, simply meaning "of people". Therefore, originally "lingua tedesca" simply defined the "language of people", opposite to Latin that was the language of monks, sages and those who could write and read. From "theodiscus" it evolved to "deutsch" by the Germans and "tedesco" in Italy by common Italian people.

    In France, the term "allemand" is used , but also other words such as "germanique" and "tudesque". Apus explained the origin of the word "allemand" already, and to this day the german dialect spoken in those areas is called "alemannisch".
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    Nemets by the Russians, these words are related to Italian nimico "ennemy" (The eastern European peoples having suffered many invasions by the Germanic tribes have come to call them "the ennemy")
    Like everyone else I appreciate this thread very much. However, the above quote puzzles me quite a bit. I have never seen such an explanation for the expressions the Slavic people use for the Germans. Here's what I incidentally posted in another thread a couple of days ago:

    The Czech name for Germany literally means "Dumbland" (dumb in the sense of "mute", "unable to speak", not "stupid"). The language the German tribes used was absolutely incomprehensible for the Slavic population. It was equally impossible to communicate with a German as it was with a dumb person.
    This holds for all Slavic languages as far as I am aware.
    I checked into this again. I find it very unlikely that we borrowed from Italians in those distant times. The connection between "němý" (mute) and "Německo" (Germany), "němčina" (German, the language), "Němec" (German, the person), "německá" (German, the adjective), on the other hand, is very clear.

    This is what I was told at school. This explanation is also widespread in the Czech internet. I haven't discovered a single source supporting what Apus wrote.

    Jana
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    Apus said:
    Alamann was the name of a German tribe established on the sides of the Rhine and in Switzerland. The name has nothing to do with Arabic. Not all names beginning with al- are Arabic. The Arabic word is a borrowing from either Spanish or French. The root of Alamann is al- from which are also Greek allos "other", English else, alien, Old High German Elisâzzo Elsaz (French Alsace): the land on the other side of the Rhine.

    English German is borrowed from Latin Germanus which mean "real" (Italian germano "true real"). It was first mentioned by Poseidonios, Tacitus and Caesar. It is the exact equivalent of the French franc meaning "true" and is also the name of the Germanic tribe who immigrated into northern France (the Franks), and means "the real ones":
    The Germans were called by the Ancient Greeks Gnesioi (the true). The Germans call themselves Deutsch, from a name meaning "the people" (never heard such a meaning of "Deutsch"), and cognate to Latvian tauta, Lithuanian tauta "people", and also "Germany". Old High German diot "people", diutisk "German", Dutch Duits "German". Dutch was a name given by the British to the Germanic peoples but later has been restricted to the Netherlanders.
    From "Deutsch" comes the Italian Tedesco and the French Teuton. The Germans are called Saksa (the Saxons) by the Scandinavians, Saksalaiset by the Finns, Vâcietis by the Lithuanians (those from the West), Nem by the Hungarians, Neamts by the Romans, Niemcy by the Poles, Nemdzios by the Modern Greeks, Nemets by the Russians, these words are related to Italian nemico "enemy" (The eastern European peoples having suffered many invasions by the Germanic tribes have come to call them "the enemy").

    Hope this helps.
    I didn't declared that the origin of "Alemand/alemán/..." is from an Arabic word. I only wanted to say that French, Spanish, Portuguese (as you said), and Arabic use the same stem to identify the "German" language.

    Jana gave another stem of the Slavic people: "nemec", e.g. Russian and Czech. I don't know Rhaeto-Romanic but that may also have such a stem.

    I'm not very good at etymology, so I don't want to dispute on anything anyone wrote.

    And as far as I remember my vocabulary, there isn't any related German word that means something like "true, real, mute, or enemy".
     

    Vanda

    Moderesa de Beagá
    Português/ Brasil
    It's interesting how this word was modified in all these languages.

    I've always listened to the Italian immigrants in my country using the word
    "tedesco" referring to Germans. After reading all the comments above I looked it up in my Portuguese dic and found that we have a mutation from the Italian word to tudesco. And the explanation below:
    "From old high German: thiutisk, diutisc, 'popular', as opposed to "scholar" (al. mod. deutsch), from latin theudiscus and from French tudesque or from Spanish tudesco.
     

    MrMagoo

    Senior Member
    Westphalia, Germany; German
    22caps said:
    Hey, I don't speak German at all, but I was wondering if someone could explain to me why German, of all other languages, changes the most between languages.

    For instance... English = German.... Spanish = Alemán.... Italian = Tedesco... German = Deutsche (sp?)...

    Whereas for, let's say, Spanish.... English = Spanish.... Spanish = Español.... Italian = Spagnolo.... French = Espagnole.....

    They are all very similar for other languages, just not German. Anybody know the origin or reason of this?

    Very interesting question - and even more interesting answers...:)

    May I support you a little bit:


    Ralf wrote:
    Well, I think the answer dates back some 2,000 years rather than can be found 200 years ago. The German spoken in various German states didn't differ that much.
    The German dialects are very different from each other, they always have been. Only because of the fact that writing and reading became more popular and necessary, the dialects "unitised", kind of, on the basis of standard grammars.
    As the German speaking areas were untited not before 1871, almost every kingdom had its own spelling rules, which of course had an effect on the spoken language as well... the more people could read and write, the more influence from a standardized grammar.



    Ralf:
    About 500 B.C. the first vowel shift in German language caused an assimilation of several languages or better dialects and adopted various expressions to refer to one and the same term. So it is not unlikely that various expressions had been used to refer to the German language.
    Oh no no... shifts usualy do the opposite: They separate languages.
    The first consonant shift (about 2000 B.C.) separated the Germanic languages from the Indogermanic group.
    You can still see these changes when you compare a language that didn't participate in this shift to another one which did, e.g. Latin and English:
    The Germanic "f" corresponds to the Indogermanic "p", e.g.:
    Latin: "pater" ---> Englisch: "Father".

    The 2nd consonant shift (about 6th century) excluded the High-German language from all the other Germanic languages.

    A Germanic "p" turned to either "pf" or "ff" in High-German, e.g.:
    English and Low-German: Ape ---> High-German: Affe
    English pound, LG: Pund ---> HG: Pfund

    A Germanic "t" turned to either "ss" or "(t)z" in High-German, e.g.:
    English, LG: Water ---> HG: Wasser
    English heat ---> HG: Hitze

    A Germanic "k" shifted to "ch" in High-German:
    English, LG: Milk ---> HG: Milch
    (---> Just take a dictionary and look several words up yourself, you'll see there are thousands of words where you can notice these shifts).




    Ralf:
    One of the larger tribes had been called the 'Teutons', who unmistakably gave rise to 'teutonic' and the related adjectives 'teutsch' (mediaeval) and 'deutsch' or 'te desca' (italian), while 'german' is of Latin origin. By the way, as far as I know, the Teutons settled across northern and northwestern Europe (Scandinavia, Great Britain).
    Tede:
    As far as the origin of the word Deutch and Deutchland, the Teutons and Charlemagne (Karl der Grosse in German, or "Karl the Big Guy") had a lot to do with it. The Teutons threated the Roman Empire 113-101 BC, they called themselves "teutonisch", from which "deutch" is a derivative. Karl der Grosse started using this word and spreading it's popularity.

    I have to disappoint you in this case, Ralf and Tede :(
    --> Deriving "deutsch" from "teutonisch" is volksetymologisch and not correct.

    The term "deutsch" is derived from the Gothic adjective þiutisc, an adjective of the noun þiuda, which means "Volk, the people".
    "deutsch" simply means "völkisch, zum Volk gehörig = belonging to the people".
    The Germans (="Die Deutschen") therefore are the only people in the world that named itself after the language they speak, not the tribe they belong to.

    "deutsch" referring to the language was first mentioned as theotisce by Otfried von Weißenburg, a scholar of Karl der Große, in the 8th century:
    Cur scriptor hunc librum theotisce dictaverit.
    (=Why this book is written in German).
    ---> Otfried wrote a Gospel book in German and he had to declare and explain to the bishop why he has written the book in "theotisce" (= the language of the people), and not in Latin which would have been the more appropriate language for Gospels that time. This declaration of course had to be in Latin though, anyway, Otfried used "theotisc" to have an expression separated from the Latin "germanicus".


    Bye for now ;)
    -MrMagoo
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    Hier ist dazu ein italienischer (auf Englisch geschriebener) Faden. Es gibt dort nicht besonders viel zu lesen, aber vollständigkeitshalber verlinke ich die beiden.

    Jana
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Who,

    If you don't mind, I'm going to make a couple suggestions:
    ====
    I didn't declared state/say that the origin of "Alemand/alemán/..." is from an Arabic word. I only wanted to say that French, Spanish, Portuguese (as you said), and Arabic use the same stem to identify the "German" language.
    ------
    In this sentence, "declare" sounds stiff. Not necessarily wrong, but it sounds strange to me.
    ====
    I'm not very good at etymology, so I don't want to dispute on anything anyone wrote.
    ------
    I have a suggestion for you, if it is not too difficult:

    I'm not very good at etymology, so I had/have no intention of disputing anything anyone wrote.

    I believe you can use either "had" or "have" here, depending on the exact meaning you wish to communicate. Personally, I would tend to use "had" simply because you seem to be talking about comments already made, and that sort of statement most people would assume would mean that you would not want to do such a thing in the future. It's a fine point. :)

    Gaer
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    gaer said:
    Who,

    If you don't mind, I'm going to make a couple suggestions:
    ====
    I didn't declared state/say that the origin of "Alemand/alemán/..." is from an Arabic word. I only wanted to say that French, Spanish, Portuguese (as you said), and Arabic use the same stem to identify the "German" language.
    ------
    In this sentence, "declare" sounds stiff. Not necessarily wrong, but it sounds strange to me.
    ====
    I'm not very good at etymology, so I don't want to dispute on anything anyone wrote.
    ------
    I have a suggestion for you, if it is not too difficult:

    I'm not very good at etymology, so I had/have no intention of disputing anything anyone wrote.

    I believe you can use either "had" or "have" here, depending on the exact meaning you wish to communicate. Personally, I would tend to use "had" simply because you seem to be talking about comments already made, and that sort of statement most people would assume would mean that you would not want to do such a thing in the future. It's a fine point. :)

    Gaer
    When I saw this thread yesterday, I wanted to edit my post because of some mistakes in my "former" (;)) English, but since that post was older than three days, I couldn't modify it anymore. However, thank you for the tips and corrections. :)
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Whodunit said:
    When I saw this thread yesterday, I wanted to edit my post because of some mistakes in my "former" (;)) English, but since that post was older than three days, I couldn't modify it anymore. However, thank you for the tips and corrections. :)
    You're welcome, and I just learnd about the "three day rule". I see that the "edit" button disappears for posts older. I didn't know that! :)

    Gaer
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Whodunit said:
    I'm also really impressed. I didn't know all these facts yet, but I can add that there might have been some certain tribes that founded their nations in other contries. Because it isn't different from nation to nation as the word "Deutsch" is called, since in Spanish it's Alemán, in Arabic 'almaanii ( ألمانى ), in French allemand (almost the same stem) and with German (English): the proper Latin word is Germanus/Germanicus that means something like brotherly/true/..., in Hebrew it's germanith ( גרמוית ).
    So it's more likely that Arabic borrowed the word from a Romance language, and not the other way around...
     

    malemany

    New Member
    USA-English
    This is very interesting considering my last name "alemany" is closely similar to the word aleman. And I have been trying to do research on the origins of my last name and reading these postings have given me a better understanding as to its roots. Was always confused as to whether it was of arabic, spanish or germanic origins. I know it came from catalonia spain thats about it. Thanks everyone.
     

    Apus

    Senior Member
    Confederatio Helvetica French
    malemany said:
    This is very interesting considering my last name "alemany" is closely similar to the word aleman. And I have been trying to do research on the origins of my last name and reading these postings have given me a better understanding as to its roots. Was always confused as to whether it was of arabic, spanish or germanic origins. I know it came from catalonia spain thats about it. Thanks everyone.
    Hi!
    The family name Allemand, Lallemand, Alleman, Allamont, Allemany is fairly widespread in France and French Switzerland. Allemany, Alemany is a typical Catalunyan ending.
     

    cyanista

    законодательница мод
    NRW
    Belarusian/Russian
    Thank you so much, Jana, for posting a link to this interesting and useful thread! This question has been puzzling me for a long time, and it feels so good to be rid of it at last. :)

    I couldn't for the life of me figure out that there is a connection between "Deutschland" and the Norwegian name for Germany "Tyskland" but now it seems obvious that they both stem from the common root thiutisk, diutisc. Well, I get more and more interested in etymology!


    Jana337 said:


    The Czech name for Germany literally means "Dumbland" (dumb in the sense of "mute", "unable to speak", not "stupid"). The language the German tribes used was absolutely incomprehensible for the Slavic population. It was equally impossible to communicate with a German as it was with a dumb person.
    This holds for all Slavic languages as far as I am aware.
    Jana
    I'll second that.
     

    DaleC

    Senior Member
    Since "deutsch" derives from thiutisk or a similar pronunciation, it is clear that so does the Italian "tedesco". Thiutisk --> tiutisk. Tiu - tisk --> te - desk - o.

    I haven't looked up the historical details. For example, it's possible that the original Italian form of 1200 - 1500 years ago was closer to ti - tisk -o.

    About the Slavic name: it was common worldwide for peoples to give hostile or insulting names to neighboring tribes or even to all outsiders. It has been claimed that the Greek word "barbarian" consists of Greeks mocking how foreign languages sounded to them. So it is very reasonable to suppose that the Slavs called the Germans "mute". Possibly also, the Slavic word may have had a broader range of meaning at the time.
     

    xav

    Senior Member
    France
    Two pence more.

    Deriving "deutsch" from "teutonisch" is volksetymologisch and not correct.

    The term "deutsch" is derived from the Gothic adjective þiutisc, an adjective of the noun þiuda, which means "Volk, the people".
    I completely agree. "Deutsch" doesn't come from "Teuton", but both derive from þiuda (þ = English "th") which means "Volk, people". Teutons had disappeared long before the word "thiutisk" was created. Today's word
    "Deutsch" is exactly the same one as tedesco = tudesque = tudesco, since the Roman final -esco comes from German -isk.

    I suppose that if Otfried von Weissenburg used this term "theotisce" instead of "germanice", that was to say "in the language the people uses and understands". Exactly on the same way, when, a bit later, somebody said the priests had to preach in "French", he used the expression "lingua vulgare", from "vulgum" = "people". "Theotisce" is the translation of this expression in German (with a Latin "-e" for ablatif !).

    Today's German word "deutlich" has the same origin and a very near meaning : "clear" = "which everybody understands".

    Alamann was the name of a German tribe established on the sides of the Rhine and in Switzerland. The name has nothing to do with Arabic. Not all names beginning with al- are Arabic. The Arabic word is a borrowing from either Spanish or French. The root of Alamann is al- from which are also Greek allos "other", English else, alien, Old High German Elisâzzo Elsaz (French Alsace): the land on the other side of the Rhine.
    I agree with the first part, but I don't think a people can call himself "The other ones" ! For me, "Alla Man" means "All the men". And Ellsass is the country of the Ill, the river which flows through it, from Sundgau to Strasbourg.

    About the main question "why didn't people around Germany call its inhabitants Germans, as the Romans did ?", I propose this (for western Europe languages) :
    When they had to give a name to these inhabitants, Western Europe people couldn't call them "Germans", since they already had German people at home : Franks, Lombards, Wisigoths, Angels or Saxons... a big choice. They had to use another word for naming German people who still were living in Germany. French people gave them the name of the next German people they knew, the Alamanni, exactly as the Scandinavian did with the Saxons. That name was used afterwards by Hispanic and Arab people. Italian people used the name forged by Otfried, which came into French, Spanish etc. too, but was never much in use.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    xav said:
    I completely agree. "Deutsch" doesn't come from "Teuton", but both derive from þiuda (þ = English "th") which means "Volk, people". Teutons had disappeared long before the word "thiutisk" was created.
    Isn't "thiutisk" a Gothic word? The Goths had disappeared long before the Teutonic Knights emerged. Perhaps that's what you meant.
     

    xav

    Senior Member
    France
    You're completely right - I hadn't thought about the Teutonic Knights !
    I was, like Tede hereover (#5), speaking about the Teutons, a Germanic tribe who was defeated and destroyed, with their brothers the Cimbers, by Marius in Provence 100 years BC.
    "Thiutisk" is of course a Gothic or Germanic word, but I think it was forged rather late, in parallel to the Latin expression "lingua vulgare", to mean the languages spoken and understood by everybody in High Middle Age. This word translates a notion of "all Germanic languages spoken in a common politic area", what probably didn't exist before the Holy Roman Empire of Karolus Magnus. Before that, the name of each tribe should have been used for its language, as they still today speak "Moselfränkisch", "Platt", "Schwäbisch", "Bayrisch" etc. (My father pretends German doesn't really exist !).
    Not sure. I'll look into my Dudenherkunftswörterbuch :cool: !

    the day after : It says the same thing : "Deutsch" is probably the only name of a people which comes from his language. It originally means "the non-roman speaking people of the Holy Roman Empire". Hence the problem of the German identity (Wer ist Deutsch ?), hence the jus sanguinis, the exaltation of this blood and of the race, and nazism. And the fact this name and this identity came late and were weak for a long time drove people around to invent their own way to name this people.
    :)
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    xav said:
    You're completely right - I hadn't thought about the Teutonic Knights !
    I was, like Tede hereover (#5), speaking about the Teutons, a Germanic tribe who was defeated and destroyed, with their brothers the Cimbers, by Marius in Provence 100 years BC.
    Oh, I didn't know about those Teutons.
     

    xav

    Senior Member
    France
    Apus said:
    The family name Allemand, Lallemand, Alleman, Allamont, Allemany is fairly widespread in France and French Switzerland. Allemany, Alemany is a typical Catalunyan ending.
    But the "y" is typically arab ! "Alemany" = "almaani" is the interesting mix of a Germanic word "All-man" with a Semitic ending "i" or "y", which means "from the tribe, the city or the country named...".
    :)
     

    DaleC

    Senior Member
    Good move! You've just given insult to 8 -9 million Catalans! (I myself have no Catalonian ancestry or ties.)

    'ny' is the equivalent in the Catalan alphabet of French 'gn' and Spanish 'ñ'. 'Allemagne', 'Alemany' -- they're pronounced the same (except for trivial differences in the vowels).

    xav said:
    But the "y" is typically arab ! "Alemany" = "almaani" is the interesting mix of a Germanic word "All-man" with a Semitic ending "i" or "y", which means "from the tribe, the city or the country named...".
    :)
    La Catalogne (Catalunya en catalan;Cataluña en espagnol) est une région de 31 930 km² (à peu près l'équivalent de la Belgique) située au nord-est de l'Espagne (voir la carte détaillée).
     

    OMOIKANE

    New Member
    Russian, Russia (Rossiya)
    Hi. Russian words "nEmets", "nEmtsy" (from "nemOy"("mute")) -
    "don't speaking (russian)", "alien", "foreigner". Like "bakagaidjin" in Nipponese.
    But present days russians do not associate "nemets" with "nemoy", this is just name for people from Germany (Germania).
    Sorry 'bout my runglish, i can't write english properly.
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    Hi. Russian words "nEmets", "nEmtsy" (from "nemOy"("mute")) -
    "don't speaking (russian)", "alien", "foreigner". Like "bakagaidjin" in Nipponese.
    What does 馬鹿外人 has to do with Germans and this thread? Do you mean that Немцы would mean "stupid foreigner?" :confused:

    But present days russians do not associate "nemets" with "nemoy", this is just name for people from Germany (Germania).
    Sorry 'bout my runglish, i can't write english properly.
    But you could try to follow our rules (#22). ;)
     

    MrMagoo

    Senior Member
    Westphalia, Germany; German
    What does 馬鹿外人 has to do with Germans and this thread? Do you mean that Немцы would mean "stupid foreigner?" :confused:
    "Немцы" means "not speaking (Russian")", as Omoikane explained.
    Somebody who doesn't speak your language is a foreigner first of all, and somebody who doesn't speak your language might be regarded to be stupid in a certain way. Of course, this is not what the Russian word means, but keep in mind that these words are thousands of years old, developed when globalisation was not as "popular" ;) as today...


    But you could try to follow our rules (#22). ;)
    My goodness, it was just an apostrophe, Who' ;) I wouldn't have noticed it, if you hadn't said a word... :)

    Cheers
    -MrMagoo
     

    cyanista

    законодательница мод
    NRW
    Belarusian/Russian
    In der Umgangssprache kann "немец" immer noch eine nicht besonders schlaue, langsame Person bedeuten. So was sagen natürlich nur Leute, die ehmm.. nicht sehr gebildet sind (leider gehören dazu ein Paar von meinen Schullehrern, die Kinder ab und zu so beschimft haben: "Ну что за немцы!"). :eek:
     

    FloVi

    Senior Member
    Deutsch / Deutschland
    So was sagen natürlich nur Leute, die ehmm.. nicht sehr gebildet sind (leider gehören dazu ein Paar von meinen Schullehrern, die Kinder ab und zu so beschimft haben: "Ну что за немцы!"). :eek:
    Wer's sagt isses selber, lachen alle Kälber...

    SCNR
     

    ceann-feachd

    Member
    USA. English
    But I cannot find a proper word in another language for tedesco.
    Well, in Icelandic, it's þýska (THEES-ka) for the language and Þýskaland (THEES-ka-land) for the country.

    Somewhat similar, right?

    Auf isländisch, die Sprache heißt þýska und das Land heißt Þýskaland.

    Ein bißchen ähnlich, nicht wahr?

     

    MrMagoo

    Senior Member
    Westphalia, Germany; German
    I completely agree. "Deutsch" doesn't come from "Teuton", but both derive from þiuda


    As far as I know, "Deutsch" and "Teuton" are not related at all.
    "Teuton" refers back to the ancestor Teut, which usually led to confusion.
    In the Etymological Dictionary of the German Language by Kluge, you can find the following:
    "Mhd. tiutsch mag (wie in tâht "Docht" und tûsent "1000") t- an das auslautende t angeglichen haben.
    Luthers Form ist deudsch, teutsch wird lange durch Berufung auf den angeblichen Stammvater Teut gestützt, bis Gottsched, Adelung und Jacob Grimm die richtige Etymologie durchsetzen.".



    I suppose that if Otfried von Weissenburg used this term "theotisce" instead of "germanice", that was to say "in the language the people uses and understands". Exactly on the same way, when, a bit later, somebody said the priests had to preach in "French", he used the expression "lingua vulgare", from "vulgum" = "people". "Theotisce" is the translation of this expression in German (with a Latin "-e" for ablatif !).
    "theotisce" was not the language the people use and understands, it is the "vulgar" language "of the people" in contrast to Latin.
    People in the Middle Ages did not speak Old-High-German, nor Middle-High-German, they were speaking their own Germanic dialects.
    Versions of Old-High-German were introduced to them and they had to learn them as Karl der Große wanted a unique language for his empire, but he did not succeed.
    A standardized German language was introduced finally in the end of the 19th century, completed by Konrad Duden in 1901.
    Still, this standard-version is the language of the people; esp. since ca. 1940, the dialects (which are the languages people speak) have been disappearing and/or moving towards the Standard language, but still, it is not (yet) the language people speak.


    Today's German word "deutlich" has the same origin and a very near meaning : "clear" = "which everybody understands".

    I agree with the first part, but I don't think a people can call himself "The other ones" ! For me, "Alla Man" means "All the men". And Ellsass is the country of the Ill, the river which flows through it, from Sundgau to Strasbourg.
    Yes, I agree to all of this. :)

    Cheers
    -MrMagoo
     

    OMOIKANE

    New Member
    Russian, Russia (Rossiya)
    In der Umgangssprache kann "немец" immer noch eine nicht besonders schlaue, langsame Person bedeuten. So was sagen natürlich nur Leute, die ehmm.. nicht sehr gebildet sind (leider gehören dazu ein Paar von meinen Schullehrern, die Kinder ab und zu so beschimft haben: "Ну что за немцы!"). :eek:
    Я думаю, что это не соответствует действительности. В наши дни никто не использует слово "немец" в уничижительной форме. Более того, я поспрашивал своих знакомых "Что значит 'немец'?". Ответ был всё время приблизительно одинаковый: "Как что? Немец - тот, кто живёт в Германии." И они были несколько обескуражены, когда я объяснил значение этого слова. В древние времена "немцами" называли всех чужестранцев, которые не могли говорить по-русски. Немцев же :)
    называли "немецкие псы", т.к. немецкая речь для русского уха звучит как лай собаки (когда не понимаешь смысл сказанного). Я не хочу никого обидеть или задеть, это всего лишь история. Во время Великой Отечественной Войны слово "немцы" уже употреблялось лишь как обозначение национальности. В уничижительной форме использовались слова "фриц", "фрицы". А с ненавистью - "фашисты". В наши дни некоторые русские продолжают называть немцев фашистами, не думая о настоящем значении этого слова.
     

    FloVi

    Senior Member
    Deutsch / Deutschland
    Я думаю, что это не соответствует действительности. В наши дни никто не использует слово "немец" в уничижительной форме. Более того, я поспрашивал своих знакомых "Что значит 'немец'?". Ответ был всё время приблизительно одинаковый: "Как что? Немец - тот, кто живёт в Германии." И они были несколько обескуражены, когда я объяснил значение этого слова. В древние времена "немцами" называли всех чужестранцев, которые не могли говорить по-русски. Немцев же :)
    называли "немецкие псы", т.к. немецкая речь для русского уха звучит как лай собаки (когда не понимаешь смысл сказанного). Я не хочу никого обидеть или задеть, это всего лишь история. Во время Великой Отечественной Войны слово "немцы" уже употреблялось лишь как обозначение национальности. В уничижительной форме использовались слова "фриц", "фрицы". А с ненавистью - "фашисты". В наши дни некоторые русские продолжают называть немцев фашистами, не думая о настоящем значении этого слова.
    Das lag mir auch grad auf der Zunge...
     

    cyanista

    законодательница мод
    NRW
    Belarusian/Russian
    Omoikane hat widersprochen, weder er noch seine Bekannten kennen "немец" in einer solchen Bedeutung. Also ist es höchstwahrscheinlich ein regionaler Ausdruck, in welchem immer noch etwas von der ursprünglichen, politisch unkorrekten Bedeutung mitschwingt. :)
     

    übermönch

    Senior Member
    World - 1.German, 2.Russian, 3.English
    Ha! Eine herrliche Angelegenheit. 's kommt selten vor, dass man was aus russisch in das deutsche übersetzen kann, also, das will ich nicht verpassen. Ich hoffe, dass Omoikane's mir nicht übel nehmen wird! :)

    OMOIKANE said:
    Ich denke, dass dies nicht der Wahrheit entspricht. Heut' zu Tage benutzt niemand das Wort "Njemez" in erniedrigender Forum. Mehr dazu, ich habe bei meinen Bekannten herumgefragt "Was bedeutet 'Njemez'" . Die Antwort war immer ungefähr gleich: "Wie was? Ein Njemez ist derjenige, der in Deutschland wohnt." Und sie waren etwas bestürtzt, als ich die bedeutung dieses Wortes erklärte. In alten Zeiten wurden alle Fremdländer, die kein Russisch kannten, als "Njemzy" bezeichnet. Die Deutschen aber :) beizeichnete man als "Nemezische Hunde", weil die deutsche Redeart sich dem russischen Ohr wie das Bellen eines Hundes anhörte (wenn man den Sinn des gesagten nicht versteht). Ich will niemanden beleidigen oder kränken, es ist einfach nur Geschichte. Zur Zeit des großen Vaterländischen Krieges, war das Wort "Njemzy" bereits ausschließlich als der Begriff für die Nationalität angewandt. In erniedrigender Form waren die Worte "Fritz", "Fritzy" angewandt, und mit Grimm "Faschisten". Heut zu Tage fahren manche Russe damit fort, Deutsche "Faschisten" zu nennen, ohne sich um die wahre Bedeutung des Wortes Gedanken zu machen.
     

    Vast

    New Member
    The Netherlands
    In my todays quest for the origen of the word Deutsch/Duits/Dietsch/Duutsch\Dutch etc. and although Wikipedia already answerd my question with Thiuda = Folk (Which is Gothic = Germanic language Group) i was happy to stumble on to this discussion and great Forum!!

    But i like to add regarding "das wort Njemez" that it's just a jocose that over history developed into a'n official noun for Germans. The same is in my mother language Dutch ;) we also some time ago gave the name Moffen (Muffs) to the Germans (By now an officialy national accepted 4 letter word).. The origen of this lies in the German customs-officers which wore Muffs to warm there hands while guarding the border.

    Maybe if this happend even longer ago before the Dutch became the Dutch and the Germans the Germans :D "Moffen" could have developed the same way as the word "Njemez".
     

    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    Ich denke, dass dies nicht der Wahrheit entspricht. Heutzutage benutzt niemand mehr das Wort "Njemez" in erniedrigender Form. Mehr dazu (???), ich habe bei meinen Bekannten herumgefragt "Was bedeutet 'Njemez'?". Die Antwort war immer ungefähr gleich: "Wie was? [Was bitte?] Ein Njemez ist jemand, der in Deutschland wohnt." Und sie waren etwas bestürzt, als ich die Bedeutung dieses Wortes erklärte. In alten Zeiten wurden alle Ausländer, die kein Russisch konnten/sprachen, als "Njemzy" bezeichnet. Die Deutschen aber :) bezeichnete man als "Nemezische Hunde", weil sich die deutsche Art zu sprechen für das russische Ohr wie das Bellen eines Hundes anhörte (wenn man den Sinn des Gesagten nicht versteht). Ich will niemanden beleidigen oder kränken, es ist einfach nur Geschichte. Zur Zeit des großen Vaterländischen Krieges (,) wurde das Wort "Njemzy" bereits ausschließlich als der Begriff für die Nationalität angewandt. In erniedrigender Form wurden die Worte "Fritz" und "Fritzy" angewandt, und mit Grimm (???) "Faschisten". Auch heutzutage bezeichnen manche Russen Deutsche noch als "Faschisten" , ohne sich über die wahre Bedeutung des Wortes Gedanken zu machen.
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    "Немцы" means "not speaking (Russian")", as Omoikane explained.
    Somebody who doesn't speak your language is a foreigner first of all, and somebody who doesn't speak your language might be regarded to be stupid in a certain way. Of course, this is not what the Russian word means, but keep in mind that these words are thousands of years old, developed when globalisation was not as "popular" ;) as today...
    I was rather referring to the Japanese word "馬鹿外人," which means something like "stupid foreigner" (I'd consider "baka" extremely harsh and insulting). But this has nothing to do with "not speaking (Russian)," does it? And since when do the Japanese use such words to describe Germans? :eek:


    My goodness, it was just an apostrophe, Who' ;) I wouldn't have noticed it, if you hadn't said a word... :)
    Not, we should pay attention to capital letters as well ... ;)
     
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