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Use countries' real names

 
 
Equus
 
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2004 10:17 am
Why can't everyone call countries by the names the countries call themselves? Or at least a close approximation where linguistics are a problem.

The country Americans & Britons call "Germany" and many others call "Alemania" is really Deutschland. The country we call "India" is really "Bharat". Etc. etc.

And Americans could pronounce Mexico Me-hee-co instead of Mek-see-co. Even spell it differently to ensure the right pronunciation.

What would be so harmful in actually calling a country its own name?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 4,856 • Replies: 33
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Grand Duke
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2004 10:20 am
It might be tricky for some folks to get their tongues around some of the names from outside the West, like the Arab states & the Far-East. That aside, you have a damn good point. I guess it's just laziness on the part of various historical figures.
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Equus
 
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Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2004 10:23 am
The ones we might have trouble 'getting our tongues around' could at least be approximated.
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2004 10:25 am
I've always wondered that too, Equus, and I've wondered it about why we don't use cities' names either. I can see that with some places with names that would be difficult for people not in those countries could have the english (whatever language the conversation is in) be in parentheses to the side.

Then there is the complication that, as I understand it, Mexico City is known in Mexico as.... Mexico, sometimes shown as Mexico, d.f. (federal district).
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McGentrix
 
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Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2004 10:30 am
It could also have someting to do with the fact that people who speak english use English names for countries.
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fbaezer
 
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Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2004 10:53 am
Exceptionally, I agree with McGentrix on this one.

Languages have music. They respond to different beats. Plus there's a often pronunciation/spelling problem. Plus there is also, sometimes, a problem with other etimologies.

If I was to name countries and cities by their original name...
1. It would sound awful. "I visited Hrvatska, had a great time, and the Hrvatskan were very helpful. Also Magyarozag was beautiful".
2. There would be spelling troubles. If in English the country's official name is pronounced Meheeco (or Mekheeco), why should I write Mexico? Should the belling sound of Londres, in Spanish, be changed for Londn or for Landn?
3. Should I write Beijing, as the Communist Chinese Mandarins command, while they pronounce something like "Peipjing"? Should Pekinese dogs be named Beijingese dogs?
4. What would happen with countries with different official names? Should we say Schweiz, Suisse, Svizzera or Helvetia?
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2004 06:29 pm
Ah, I see your point, fbaezer, re the musicality of a language.
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Setanta
 
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Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2004 08:33 pm
The English are at the root of this problem, as they are in so many cases. They resolutely refuse to pronounce things in a sensible manner: Worcester--wooster; Beauvoir--beaver; Livorno--Leghorn (? ! ? ! ?, fer cryin' out loud!) . . .

When told that Mustafa Kemal had moved the capital of Turkey to Ankara, Winston Churchill replied with some asperity, that the name of the city is Angora, and as far as he is concerned, it always will be.
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2004 08:48 pm
I was going to bring up Leghorn, that one realllllllllly gets me.
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TPS
 
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Reply Thu 22 Jul, 2004 07:23 pm
Calling countries by their native names
I think that such a move would be too much for us to swallow. It would make us think - at a time when our capacity to think appears, at least at this moment, to be strained to its limits. Add to that, there would be the problem presented by different alphabets, not to mention the question of characters (Japanese, Chinese,Korean, etc.).
As an aside, there's a web site called geographyIQ which I visit as needed. It would be interesting to see the "native" name posted along with other info.
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TPS
 
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Reply Thu 22 Jul, 2004 07:24 pm
Calling countries by their native names
I think that such a move would be too much for us to swallow. It would make us think - at a time when our capacity to think appears, at least at this moment, to be strained to its limits. Add to that, there would be the problem presented by different alphabets, not to mention the question of characters (Japanese, Chinese,Korean, etc.).
As an aside, there's a web site called geographyIQ which I visit as needed. It would be interesting to see the "native" name posted along with other info.
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TPS
 
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Reply Thu 22 Jul, 2004 07:25 pm
Calling countries by their native names
I think that such a move would be too much for us to swallow. It would make us think - at a time when our capacity to think appears, at least at this moment, to be strained to its limits. Add to that, there would be the problem presented by different alphabets, not to mention the question of characters (Japanese, Chinese,Korean, etc.).
As an aside, there's a web site called geographyIQ which I visit as needed. It would be interesting to see the "native" name posted along with other info.
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George
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jul, 2004 07:31 pm
Re: Calling countries by their native names
TPS wrote:
... Add to that, there would be the problem presented by different alphabets, not to mention the question of characters (Japanese, Chinese,Korean, etc.)...

Good point!
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Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Fri 23 Jul, 2004 07:54 am
Couldn't we start with something very simple, like ... ehem ... calling America the USA?
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drom et reve
 
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Reply Fri 23 Jul, 2004 08:03 am
re: Native names
ossobuco wrote:
I was going to bring up Leghorn, that one realllllllllly gets me.


Who calls Livorno 'Leghorn? That's ridiculous! How does that word look anything like Leghorn?

While I see that Fbaezer has a point (well, actually, he has more than one, but I digress,) I feel that, in a perfect world, it were easier that one town, or country, had one name-- Italia, Cameroun, Moçambique, Kampuchea. Countries that had more than one name would decide internally what their 'international name' should be. Maps would be unified, and people would learn to pronounce each name.

Things aren't like that, 'though. I mean; how many people can't a simple name like 'Iraq' in English, let alone more outlandish ones? I guess that, due to people's stubborness or inability, we'll be stuck with regionalized names for a long time to come.

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Rick d Israeli
 
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Reply Fri 23 Jul, 2004 08:12 am
Just wondering: Belarus, is that from 'Bela' 'Russia', or something which could mean 'White Russia'? It seems that many languages (in the West)use Belarus or something familiar to that; however, in Dutch we say 'Wit-Rusland' - White Russia. Just wondering.
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Thok
 
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Reply Fri 23 Jul, 2004 08:22 am
Rick d'Israeli wrote:
Just wondering: Belarus, is that from 'Bela' 'Russia', or something which could mean 'White Russia'? It seems that many languages (in the West)use Belarus or something familiar to that; however, in Dutch we say 'Wit-Rusland' - White Russia. Just wondering.

well, that´s clear: historically, in english, Belarus was sometimes referred to as "White Russia" or "White Ruthenia", a literal translation of its name. This literal translation is also used in a number of other languages, we say, "Weißrussland" .The name "Byelorussia" is considered derogatory by some, as it is perceived as remnant of Russian and Soviet imperialism and policies of russification The name "Belarus" is now favoured by these individuals for this reason.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jul, 2004 08:23 am
Well, it used to be 'White Russia' (should be correctly: 'white Rus'. and 'white' means 'west' = the West of the Kiev Rus) until it became independent.

Since then, 'Belarus' is the German name for it.
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Rick d Israeli
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jul, 2004 08:26 am
Thanks for the explanations, Thok and Walter. Anyway, I have heard once that what we call Russia nowadays was used to be called Black Russia some long time ago, do you also know the answer of that? (or is it just bogus? :wink: )
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jul, 2004 08:39 am
Rick d'Israeli wrote:
Anyway, I have heard once that what we call Russia nowadays was used to be called Black Russia some long time ago, do you also know the answer of that? (or is it just bogus? :wink: )


Never heard such (which doesn't mean an awful lot :wink: )

Some maps of "what is now 'Russia' here at about.com, and this is another one.
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