Names of Nations

For the discussion of language mechanics, grammar, vocabulary, trends, and other such linguistic topics, in english and other languages.

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Re: Language issue (did not see it listed..)

Postby JayDee » Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:08 am UTC

Interactive Civilian wrote:In this day and age of globalization and easy international communication, why don't we call countries what they call themselves? The only answer I know of is that it is because of inertia and no one really cares.
I'd say the inertia is a big thing. I have no idea what most countries call themselves. I know what I was taught in school (which is out of date) and what I randomly look up on wikipedia.
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Re: Language issue (did not see it listed..)

Postby westcydr » Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:33 am UTC

Dingbats wrote:When speaking English, you use the English names, when speaking Persian you use the Persian names, that shouldn't be too hard to remember.

I would agree, but the person I was talking to did not agree. He (and several other Iranians I know) feel that there is ONE way to pronounce "Iran" in every language, but more than one way to pronounce "America" even in English.
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Re: Language issue (did not see it listed..)

Postby Felstaff » Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:20 am UTC

Your friend is wrong.

After all, when I'm speaking to a French person, I wouldn't expect that person to say: "Pariss? Pariss? What ze 'ell are you talking about? It's pronounced Paree, you imbecile!"
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Re: Language issue (did not see it listed..)

Postby westcydr » Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:26 am UTC

Felstaff wrote:Your friend is wrong.

After all, when I'm speaking to a French person, I wouldn't expect that person to say: "Pariss? Pariss? What ze 'ell are you talking about? It's pronounced Paree, you imbecile!"

I was starting to think I was the only one who understood the contradiction..
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Re: Language issue (did not see it listed..)

Postby Felstaff » Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:31 am UTC

Strangely, of the two Farsi speakers I know, they both pronounce Iran, to the best of my knowledge, differently.

I'll forgive them though, as they're both sexy as hell.
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Re: Language issue (did not see it listed..)

Postby drbhoneydew » Mon Feb 11, 2008 11:59 am UTC

Felstaff wrote:I wouldn't expect that person to say: "Pariss? Pariss? What ze 'ell are you talking about? It's pronounced Paree, you imbecile!"


Some French people would just drop "Pariss? Pariss? What ze 'ell are you talking about? It's pronounced Paree" and insert eengleesh ;)

Control as to how the name is pronounced can be part of nascent (or at least re-emergant) nationalism as seen in the de-Anglicisation of the likes of Bombay, Calcutta etc in India. A slightly different effect is seen in the change from Peking to Beijing, which are both Anglicisations of the same placename in different languages (Cantonese and Mandarin, I think).

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Re: Names of Nations

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:41 pm UTC

This language issue was listed, as the pretty self-explanatory subject "Names of Nations". Perhaps skim over some of the earlier posts in this thread for answers to concerns brought up in the past day or so.
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Re: Names of Nations

Postby lowbart » Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:47 pm UTC

Whoa, I had some pretty crazy deja vu for a second there. I didn't realize the threads had been merged and I checked back to the beginning of this one to make sure people weren't repeating the whole start of the thread as some kind of joke. :|

Deja vu. It means they changed something.
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Re: Names of Nations

Postby Ari » Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:19 pm UTC

Heh :)

Seriously though... as for calling countries what they call themselves: We'd still need to anglicise various names that aren't pronounceable, (and likewise for many other languages) and we'd need to come up with new spellings for them. It's certainly achievable... but I think inertia will likely win that one because it's just not worth the effort, especially seeing we'll still diverge a fair amount in pronunciation.
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Re: Names of Nations

Postby Hurduser » Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:29 am UTC

In German, 'usanisch' is established slang :) You should coin a word like that.
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Re:

Postby ZLVT » Sat Feb 23, 2008 4:23 am UTC

zenten wrote:
Clerria wrote:Because Germany is an English word, and we're speaking English.

I know what you mean, though. I do have the same problem... however, it's too much to ask most people to relabel what you've been taught since 1st grade.

I have a similar issue with language names. You don't speak of the deutsch language because you're speaking* english when you're talking about it, so you use the english word, 'german' ... Same for persian. When I'm speaking in English, I will use the word Persian because it's an English word, but if I reference it in Persian, it would be "Farsi"

Not much to be done about it, but you can draw a distinction between using the English vocabulary word for what you're referencing, strictly because you're speakign English when talking about it, even if you know it's not the official name in its original language.


So do you call Myanmar Burma then?


Well I do, I'm not changing it every time the country decides to relable itself, the only reason I call Iran Iran is because Persia is only one part of Iran which encompasses non-persian lands
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Re:

Postby ZLVT » Sat Feb 23, 2008 4:35 am UTC

Clerria wrote:<- minored in Persian and used to be an officer in an Iranian culture group ; P I had many persian friends, and it's true, that a lot of people do refer to it as Farsi, (whether they are American or Persian, or Iranian). But my Linguistics logic clearly defines "persian" as an english word and "farsi" as a persian word, so I have to agree that it makes sense to refer to it in English, despite wanting to call it Farsi.

BUT... that doesn't mean I don't wish I could shove my language skillz around on people who don't know foreign words.

Think about French. They're so uppity about preserving their natural language that they created an entirely new word for new technology (computer = l'ordinateur, correct?) instead of borrowing it from English. The uppity gate swings both ways.


That's nothing, Iceland (bless them) has decided to maintain COMPLETE language integrity. They have their own words for everythign including electricity which they translated into the Islenska words for "amber-power" as that was the original name for it in Greek
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Re: Re:

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Feb 23, 2008 3:36 pm UTC

ZLVT wrote:
zenten wrote:So do you call Myanmar Burma then?

Well I do, I'm not changing it every time the country decides to relable itself, the only reason I call Iran Iran is because Persia is only one part of Iran which encompasses non-persian lands

As far as I'm concerned, we should continue to call the country Burma. Myanmar was the name change declared by the military dictatorship that took over in 1989, and I am not one to relabel things every time an autocratic government wants me to.
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Re: Names of Nations

Postby yeyui » Sun Feb 24, 2008 2:14 am UTC

It's a bit irritating when USA is referred to as just being 'America', because really, America refers to the whole continental landmass. It should really be used like saying someone is 'European'.


Actually, saying someone is American IS like saying that they are European. Each American is a citizen of the United States and of the state in which they reside. I am a Kentuckian (citizen of the Commonwealth of Kentucky) and an American (citizen of the United States of America), just as, say, Nicolas Sarkozy is a Frenchman (Citizen of the Republic of France) and a European (citizen of the European Union).

An aside: I often wish that people (both inside and outside the US) would remember that the US is a union of several states, each with their own laws, customs, and cultures. I often see world maps showing some sort of demographic data, but the entire us is the same color. But that makes just a much sense combining all of Europe. It usually doesn't make sense to compare, say, Germany to the entire US. It makes much more sense (to me at least) to compare Germany (or Deutchland to individual states.

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Re: Re:

Postby Maseiken » Sun Feb 24, 2008 9:45 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
ZLVT wrote:
zenten wrote:So do you call Myanmar Burma then?

Well I do, I'm not changing it every time the country decides to relable itself, the only reason I call Iran Iran is because Persia is only one part of Iran which encompasses non-persian lands

As far as I'm concerned, we should continue to call the country Burma. Myanmar was the name change declared by the military dictatorship that took over in 1989, and I am not one to relabel things every time an autocratic government wants me to.

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Re: Names of Nations

Postby ZLVT » Sun Feb 24, 2008 11:35 am UTC

yeyui wrote:
It's a bit irritating when USA is referred to as just being 'America', because really, America refers to the whole continental landmass. It should really be used like saying someone is 'European'.


Actually, saying someone is American IS like saying that they are European. Each American is a citizen of the United States and of the state in which they reside. I am a Kentuckian (citizen of the Commonwealth of Kentucky) and an American (citizen of the United States of America), just as, say, Nicolas Sarkozy is a Frenchman (Citizen of the Republic of France) and a European (citizen of the European Union).



No, you say he is European because he resides in a European nation, NOT because his country is in the EU. The EU IS NOT EUROPE it is a small part of europe, a collection of most of our nations, it does NOT represent us AT ALL

EUROPE and the US are not, never have been, nor ever will be on the same level. BY A LONG SHOT. the US is a country, Europe is a collection of countries. Each as distinct as the US and Mexico. Within our nations there are differences yes, just like Kentucky and say New York. and yes, we even have little area like the Basque region, which would equate to Texas.

yeyui wrote:
An aside: I often wish that people (both inside and outside the US) would remember that the US is a union of several states, each with their own laws, customs, and cultures. I often see world maps showing some sort of demographic data, but the entire us is the same color. But that makes just a much sense combining all of Europe. It usually doesn't make sense to compare, say, Germany to the entire US. It makes much more sense (to me at least) to compare Germany (or Deutchland to individual states.



umm ... no? Each US state has it's individual style but they are all US states. We colour your Country one colour because it is ONE COUNTRY, just as all the states within Germany, who have different histories and traditions, are coloured the same colour because they are all GERMAN, all the Australian states are the same colour as well and NSW and VIC hate each other, Tas is concidered an outcast and when it comes to state of origin, you need to police the NSW/QLD border like checkpoint Charlie.
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Re: Names of Nations

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:47 pm UTC

yeyui wrote:I often see world maps showing some sort of demographic data, but the entire us is the same color. But that makes just a much sense combining all of Europe.

No, it doesn't. You have a lot to learn about the differences between nations and states.

I believe that Swiss cantons, for instance, tend to be more autonomous from each other than US states, or at least they have been historically. The parts of the UK are actually different countries officially, I believe, and yet we usually color the whole thing the same on a map. Every country that's more than a few square miles has distinct regions, many of which have distinct laws and traditions. The US is not any more like this than average, I think, and far less so than many places. Sure, there are some countries in which internal political boundaries no longer have any significant meaning. But I think those are in the minority, though I could be mistaken.
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Re: Names of Nations

Postby Dobblesworth » Sun Feb 24, 2008 4:04 pm UTC

yeyui wrote:
It's a bit irritating when USA is referred to as just being 'America', because really, America refers to the whole continental landmass. It should really be used like saying someone is 'European'.


Actually, saying someone is American IS like saying that they are European. Each American is a citizen of the United States and of the state in which they reside. I am a Kentuckian (citizen of the Commonwealth of Kentucky) and an American (citizen of the United States of America), just as, say, Nicolas Sarkozy is a Frenchman (Citizen of the Republic of France) and a European (citizen of the European Union).


To be a citizen of one member-nation of the European Union is significantly different to being a citizen of one of the 50 states (plus the various imperial territories like Guam or Puerto Rico) of the USA. I think it's safe to say that the White House has more of a binding control over the lives of citizens in the U.S., than Brussels has over Europeans. State laws and policy may differ between each of the 50, but the common federal laws, directives and policies are greater in number and wider in scope than the European counterpart. For the most part, I think those of you across the pond feel a greater allegiance to the nation as a whole in proportion to your various states, than citizens of E.U. member states. There will be an allegiance to your state identity, as well as to your country. Over here though, I think the sense of allegiance to a person's home nation is far greater than that of the equivalent towards the EU and Brussels.

Also, you can be European, yet not be in the European Union. Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and former members of Yugoslavia are generally considered to be in the continental region of Europe, yet are not member-states.

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Re: Names of Nations

Postby SpitValve » Sun Feb 24, 2008 4:30 pm UTC

Hurduser wrote:In German, 'usanisch' is established slang :) You should coin a word like that.


"Usian" sounds good to me :) Pronounced like "use-Ian" or "ewes-ee-inn".

I find it funny that "North American" is actually less specific than "American". My natural instinct would be to say that both Ecuador and Canada are in America, but that's not common usage...

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Re: Names of Nations

Postby Judas Maccabeus » Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:34 pm UTC

I like how the Italians solved the USA-person naming problem: statunitense.* It just rolls off the tongue so well (but then again, what in Italian doesn't?). :)

*From memory, and my Italian is rather bad, so it's probably misspelled.
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Re: Names of Nations

Postby No Picnic » Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:56 pm UTC

I've been thinking about this subject, too.

Anyhow, I study Chinese, and some of the national translations are interesting. The Chinese word for Canada is a phonetic near-equivalent, Jiānádà (加拿大). In other words, it sounds vaguely like the English word. However, that's not the case for Canada's southern neighbor. United States is translated as Měiguó (美国) which flatteringly means "Beautiful kingdom/nation." China is translated as Zhōngguó (中国), "Middle Kingdom." Japan is Rìběn (日本) which means something about the sun.

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Re: Names of Nations

Postby zenten » Mon Mar 03, 2008 4:28 pm UTC

yeyui wrote:
It's a bit irritating when USA is referred to as just being 'America', because really, America refers to the whole continental landmass. It should really be used like saying someone is 'European'.


Actually, saying someone is American IS like saying that they are European. Each American is a citizen of the United States and of the state in which they reside. I am a Kentuckian (citizen of the Commonwealth of Kentucky) and an American (citizen of the United States of America), just as, say, Nicolas Sarkozy is a Frenchman (Citizen of the Republic of France) and a European (citizen of the European Union).

An aside: I often wish that people (both inside and outside the US) would remember that the US is a union of several states, each with their own laws, customs, and cultures. I often see world maps showing some sort of demographic data, but the entire us is the same color. But that makes just a much sense combining all of Europe. It usually doesn't make sense to compare, say, Germany to the entire US. It makes much more sense (to me at least) to compare Germany (or Deutchland to individual states.


You're argument would have had merit in the 18th century (or rather talking about the US then and the EU now). Possibly even up until your civil war. I still wouldn't agree with it from then though.

You'll notice for instance that the EU does not have a military. Nor does it have it's own post office. It might one day be like the United States, but that day has not come yet.


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