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snopes
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quote:

And speaking of renaming countries, the story is most likely apocryphal, but it’s told that when the dictator Idi Amin was lording it over Uganda, he assembled his rubber-stamp Cabinet for a meeting during which he broached his latest brainstorm.

"Gentlemen," His Immensity boomed. "All over Africa, our brothers are freeing themselves from the shackles of colonization, from being subjugated by our Western masters. They have not only driven the white man out, but they have jettisoned the colonial names he gave the nations of Africa.

"Rhodesia is now known as Zimbabwe; the Belgian Congo is now Zaire, just to cite two examples. I suggest we change the name of our country."

"And pray, tell, O Rotund One," said his chief adviser. "What name do you propose for Uganda?"

Idi Amin struck a pose of deep thought, then he said, "I sort of like the name ‘Republic of Idi.’ It’s got a nice ring to it."

As he expected, everyone in the room nodded assent. Except for one, a slightly built, vertically challenged—there goes that word again—balding guy in his late 60s. Uganda’s minister of education.

"You don’t seem to agree with the rest, Mr. Minister," said Idi Amin. "Do you have any objections to the proposal?"

"Not at all," said the education chief. Still wearing his Mona Lisa smile, he went on. "But allow me to mention here that in the middle of the Mediterranean is a small island called Cyprus."

"And so?" said Idi Amin "I don’t seem to fathom how the name of an island in the West has anything to do with my proposal to call our nation the Republic of Idi."

"Please forgive my impertinence, O Big One," replied the education minister sheepishly. "My reservations are rooted on only one item of semantics."

"And what might that be?"

"Well, the natives are called Cypriots."


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Amigone201
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Wow. This joke went on a lot longer than it had to because it's full of glurge language.

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vfwchick
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That it did, but it is cute.

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Ophiuchus
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So it is saying blacks are stupid for not wanting to keep names of their countries based on European colonial rule...

I guess it is basically saying that intelligent blacks would accept themselves as an inferior, subserviant race?

Of course, English often gives other countries different names. For instance Duetchland is called Germany and Nihon is called Japan...

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GenYus
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quote:
"Not at all," said the education chief. Still wearing his Mona Lisa smile, he went on. "But allow me to mention here that in the middle of the Mediterranean is a small island called Cyprus."

"And so?" said Idi Amin "I don’t seem to fathom how the name of an island in the West has anything to do with my proposal to call our nation the Republic of Idi."

Cyprus is "the West" to Ugandans? Even if he means "the West" to mean NATO bloc countries or some other political meaning, is Cyprus so consistantly part of US-backed action that it would be considered to be part of the US group?

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Mistletoey Chloe
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quote:
Originally posted by Ophiuchus:
So it is saying blacks are stupid for not wanting to keep names of their countries based on European colonial rule...

I guess it is basically saying that intelligent blacks would accept themselves as an inferior, subserviant race?

No, it's basically saying that people who live in a counrty called Idi would be called "Idiots."

It's a joke, you see.

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Stoneage Dinosaur
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quote:
Originally posted by Ophiuchus:
So it is saying blacks are stupid for not wanting to keep names of their countries based on European colonial rule...

I guess it is basically saying that intelligent blacks would accept themselves as an inferior, subserviant race?

The joke is about Idi Amin, i.e. the notoriously megalomaniacal dictator of Uganda, rather than black people in general.

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Mr. Furious
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quote:
Originally posted by Ophiuchus:
Of course, English often gives other countries different names. For instance Duetchland is called Germany and Nihon is called Japan...

This seems like a good opportunity to ask something that I've always wondered. Why? That is, why don't we call Deutschland Deutschland? It just seems... I don't know... rude to continue to call it "Germany" when they've been calling themselves "Deutschland" for quite a long time now. I can understand translating "Bundesrepublik" to "Federal Republic," but not the "Germany" part.

My question isn't specific to Germany, but rather a broader "why don't we call some countries by the names they call themselves" question.

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Cestrian
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quote:
Originally posted by Ophiuchus:
So it is saying blacks are stupid for not wanting to keep names of their countries based on European colonial rule...

I guess it is basically saying that intelligent blacks would accept themselves as an inferior, subserviant race?

Of course, English often gives other countries different names. For instance Duetchland is called Germany and Nihon is called Japan...

It is not a joke against Africans but against a particular African, "Idi Amin" of Uganda, who was a somewhat eccentric and unpleasant dictator some 20-30 years ago. [He was deposed by Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and died in exile in Saudi Arabia a few years ago].

ETA: spanked twice ... I should type faster and stop wool gathering!

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DemonWolf
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quote:
Originally posted by Ophiuchus:
Of course, English often gives other countries different names. For instance Duetchland is called Germany and Nihon is called Japan...

IIRC, in the case of of some asian countries, the Anglicization of thier written language was vastly different to the pronounciation of the name in the coutries' languages. for example, Peeking recently (like 15+ years) became Beijing because the latter is closer to the pheonic spelling of the correct pronounciation.

In the case of Germany. France, Scotland and England they are so named (in English) because the original occupants were Germanics, Franks, Scots, and Anglos respectively.

No Idea about Ireland, though. Never heard of the Ires. [Razz]

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Mistletoey Chloe
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Ahem. The original inhabitants of England were certainly not English.

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Stoneage Dinosaur
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IIRC the Scotti were originally from the south-west of Scotland only (and had emigrated there from Ireland?).

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DemonWolf
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quote:
Originally posted by Chloe:
Ahem. The original inhabitants of England were certainly not English.

Actually, you're right. IIRC, they were the Britons, and the Anglos moved in. But it was the Anglos who began building cities and named the place.

Britanny, which I beleive was named for the Britons, is located in Northern France.

Berhaps I should have phrased it "The people living there when English-speakers discovered it."

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Cestrian
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quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
quote:
Originally posted by Chloe:
Ahem. The original inhabitants of England were certainly not English.

Actually, you're right. IIRC, they were the Britons, and the Anglos moved in. But it was the Anglos who began building cities and named the place.

Britanny, which I beleive was named for the Britons, is located in Northern France.

Berhaps I should have phrased it "The people living there when English-speakers" discovered it.

Not Anglos .. Angles, Saxons and Jutes.
Also English developed in England later, the original tribes (listed above) were Germanic and did not speak English.

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Mistletoey Chloe
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Well, there were cities before the Anglo-Saxons; Chester, Manchester, Bath, London, for instance.

And I think you mis-spelled "invaded." [Razz]

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Cestrian
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quote:
Originally posted by Chloe:
Well, there were cities before the Anglo-Saxons; Chester, Manchester, Bath, London, for instance.

And I think you mis-spelled "invaded." [Razz]

Well, one version of history has it that the Anglo-Saxons were originally "invited" into Britain in order to fend off the Vikings who were ravaging the coasts Northern Europe at the time.

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DemonWolf
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quote:
Originally posted by Cestrian:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by DemonWolf:
[qb] [QUOTE]Originally posted by Chloe:
[qb] Also English developed in England later, the original tribes (listed above) were Germanic and did not speak English.

I did not know that. I thought it was named for the Angles and that "England" was a corruption of the word "Angland," Just as "Ireland" is from "Eire" and "land."

Also, IIRC, English developed from Germanic. So at some point, they would have become English speakers.

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Mistletoey Chloe
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Picts and Scots, rather than Vikings. Though I think if you go home and get all your friends to come back with you, it counts as an invasion.

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NeeCD
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quote:
Originally posted by Stoneage Dinosaur:
IIRC the Scotti were originally from the south-west of Scotland only (and had emigrated there from Ireland?).

My understanding is that the Scoti were the Irish and the name came from them (like you said, the Irish immigrated to what is now SW Scotland). I've seen references to Ireland being called Major Scotia and the (now) Scottish highlands being called Minor Scotia for the origin of the term, but I don't know the accuracy of that (I've always seen the "other" names of these countries as Hibernia and Eireann (with various spellings) for Ireland; and Caledonia and Alba for Scotland).

Wiki says that "scoti" was the Latin name for Gaelic-speaking people, so that further confuses the issue, since it would seem to apply to everyone, and not just the Irish (or just the Scottish, for that matter).

ETA didn't we recently have a "why do we call Deutschland Germany?" discussion in another thread or am I imagining things? Could be deja vu...

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snopes
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quote:
So it is saying blacks are stupid for not wanting to keep names of their countries based on European colonial rule...
No, I think it's poking fun at people who take jokes literally.

- snopes

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Die Capacitrix
We Three Blings


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Take your pick:
  • Switzerland (English)
  • Schweiz (German)
  • Suisse (French)
  • Svizzera (Italian)
  • Svizra (Romansh)
  • Confoederatio Helvetica (Latin, official name)


quote:
Of course, English often gives other countries different names. For instance Duetchland is called Germany and Nihon is called Japan...
I was taught that Japan is the Chinese pronunciation of the kanji symbols for Nihon (Nippon is what I learned as the local name of the country).

English is not the only language that changes the names of countries. How would you like to live in the Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika or Frankreich?

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Mr. Furious
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quote:
Originally posted by Die Capacitrix:
English is not the only language that changes the names of countries. How would you like to live in the Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika or Frankreich?

Weirdly, I don't see as much of an issue with, say, Spanish speakers calling the United States "los Estados Unidos" or using "Federal Republic" in place of "Bundesrepublik" in Germany's name.

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Jay Temple
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quote:
Originally posted by Mr.Furious:
This seems like a good opportunity to ask something that I've always wondered. Why? That is, why don't we call Deutschland Deutschland? It just seems... I don't know... rude to continue to call it "Germany" when they've been calling themselves "Deutschland" for quite a long time now. I can understand translating "Bundesrepublik" to "Federal Republic," but not the "Germany" part.

My question isn't specific to Germany, but rather a broader "why don't we call some countries by the names they call themselves" question.

I'm with you, not just on countries but on cities as well. I think we should refer to the capitals of France, Italy, Russia and Massachusetts as Pa-REE, Roma, Moskva and Bawston. (Give me those and I'll go along with Missoura.)

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NeeCD
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My Mythology/Folklore instructor had a map in which all the countries and cities were labeled by what the inhabitants of the place called it. It was very cool and I wish I could remember where he'd found it.

ETC a word.

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Jason Threadslayer
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quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
IIRC, in the case of of some asian countries, the Anglicization of thier written language was vastly different to the pronounciation of the name in the coutries' languages. for example, Peeking recently (like 15+ years) became Beijing because the latter is closer to the pheonic spelling of the correct pronounciation.

You thinking of how Wade-Giles letters are pronunced radically different from how most people pronounce them in their native languages.

For example, Peking (WG) and Beijing (Pinyin) are pronounced nearly the same. Most people, however pronounce Peking as if were actually Wade-Giles P'ek'ing.

(This weirdness isn't random -- it allows the WG to be used for a variety of Chinese languages, not just Mandarian. The letter B is actually used to represent a B sound in another Chinese language.)

quote:
Originally posted by Die Capacitrix:
quote:
Of course, English often gives other countries different names. For instance Duetchland is called Germany and Nihon is called Japan...
I was taught that Japan is the Chinese pronunciation of the kanji symbols for Nihon (Nippon is what I learned as the local name of the country).
More likely Japan represents a corruption (via Portuguese) of an older Japanese pronunciation of Nihon (Nippon).

Names for Germany explain the origins of various names for Germany.

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GenYus
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quote:
Originally posted by Mr.Furious:
quote:
Originally posted by Die Capacitrix:
English is not the only language that changes the names of countries. How would you like to live in the Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika or Frankreich?

Weirdly, I don't see as much of an issue with, say, Spanish speakers calling the United States "los Estados Unidos" or using "Federal Republic" in place of "Bundesrepublik" in Germany's name.
That's not exactly the same, IMO as calling Japan or Germany by other names. los Estados Unidos is Spanish for "the United States". It is no different than calling the USSR the USSR instead of the CCCP. When a country's name is common words, saying those words in your native language is similar to saying that country's name in your own pronounciation.

Note: My exception to this rule is when the name for the country means something like "The Land" or "Our Home" in the native language. Since calling a country "The Land" would be very confusing, I would say that it should remain the original name. This is a bit confusing in Germany's case. The Wikipedia article says that Deutschland means "folk", which would fall under the rule above. But Babelfish won't translate it to English, so it doesn't have a common meaning according to it.

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DemonWolf
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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
But Babelfish won't translate it to English, so it doesn't have a common meaning according to it.

When I ran "Deutschland" through Babelfish, it came back with "Germany." When I entered "Deutsch land" (note the space), it came back with "German Country."

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Dieter Meyer
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I think part of the reason that countries have different names in different languages is simply because their orginial names have been adapted to fit the pronunciation and spelling rules of the target language.

I don't really think it's 'rude' not to call Finland Suomi or Denmark Danmark just because that's what they're called by their inhabitants; languages has evolved and names of places have come into them and adapted - why change it?

Also, what would you call Norway (we have two different written forms here - it's either Norge or Noreg) or India for that matter? Which language should take precedence?

quote:
Originally posted by Jay Tempura:
I'm with you, not just on countries but on cities as well. I think we should refer to the capitals of France, Italy, Russia and Massachusetts as Pa-REE, Roma, Moskva and Bawston. (Give me those and I'll go along with Missoura.)

Cities in Norwegian usually keep their original spelling, but are pronounced as though they were Norwegian words; so Moskva is the capital of Russia (though the stress is on the first, and not the second syllable), Roma of Italy (with a /u/ and not /o/ for the o though) and Paris the capital of France (though with an alveolar trill and the last s pronounced).

On the topic of cities, here and here are lists of European place names in various languages.

Dieter 'but I'm all for calling Switzerland Helvetica' Meyer

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Finite Fourier Alchemy
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quote:
Originally posted by Jason Threadslayer:
More likely Japan represents a corruption (via Portuguese) of an older Japanese pronunciation of Nihon (Nippon).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jipangu

Japan is the Chinese reading of the Japanese word Nihon (or really Nihon koku) after having been filtered through a couple other languages; Portuguese and possibly Arabic and Venitian as well.

Japanese never called themselves "Japan" or any word that sounds like that, though it is sometimes rarely used to self-identify today. (Calling the Japanese rail network the JR for example.)

(Technically you might be able to read "nihon/nippon" as "jippon" though I don't know if such an alternative reading would ever be correct.)

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Don Enrico
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Dieter Meyer:
I think part of the reason that countries have different names in different languages is simply because their orginial names have been adapted to fit the pronunciation and spelling rules of the target language.

Another part - as you can see from the " Names for Germany" page - is that the name for the region/people in many cases did develop before the (todays) country existed. Especially the European names for Germany are mostly derived from the name of one of the tribes/people settling the land in former times - Alamanni, Saxons or the more generic Germani. So the people of what would become France first met Alamanni people and named their land accordingly, whereas the Finns met Saxons. When Alamania/Saxonia became Deutschland later on, it kept the original name in the neighbor's languages.

Don Enrico

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Stoneage Dinosaur
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quote:
Originally posted by Dieter Meyer:
On the topic of cities, here and here are lists of European place names in various languages.

That reminds me of something which hangs my munchkin - half-translated names, such as in the case of football club Bayern Munchen, which is referred to in Britain as Bayern Munich - surely you should either just call it by its original name, or go the whole hog and refer to it as Bavaria Munich.

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Brrrtje
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
I'm with you, not just on countries but on cities as well. I think we should refer to the capitals of France, Italy, Russia and Massachusetts as Pa-REE, Roma, Moskva and Bawston. (Give me those and I'll go along with Missoura.) [/QB]
Eh-huh. Let's hear you pronounce 's Hertogenbosch, then.
Posts: 142 | From: Netherlands | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Die Capacitrix:
quote:
Of course, English often gives other countries different names. For instance Duetchland is called Germany and Nihon is called Japan...
I was taught that Japan is the Chinese pronunciation of the kanji symbols for Nihon (Nippon is what I learned as the local name of the country).
Nippon or Nihon. Either one is okay. "Japan" sort of resembles the Chinese pronunciation of the characters but came to English after having passed through several other languages, including Malay and Portuguese.
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Don Enrico
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Brrrtje:
quote:
I'm with you, not just on countries but on cities as well. I think we should refer to the capitals of France, Italy, Russia and Massachusetts as Pa-REE, Roma, Moskva and Bawston. (Give me those and I'll go along with Missoura.)
Eh-huh. Let's hear you pronounce 's Hertogenbosch, then.
That's easy: It's "'s-Hertogenbosch" and it's a town in Holland ... [Wink]

Don "The Netherlands! The Netherlands! Put that fish down!" Enrico

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My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling, but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. - Pooh Bear

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Floater
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by Dieter Meyer:

I don't really think it's 'rude' not to call Finland Suomi or Denmark Danmark just because that's what they're called by their inhabitants

Since Finland is called Finland by its Swedish speaking inhabitants it would definitely not be rude at all.

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Små hönor skall inte lägga stora ägg för då blir de slarviga i ändan

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