General Question

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Why don't we call Italy Italia or Spain España?

Asked by MyNewtBoobs (18965 points ) December 12th, 2010

Why do we create English versions of names of places? Why not just call it Italia and España or whatever? It’s not like the words Italy or Spain exist in our language outside of those 2 places. So what’s going on?

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11 Answers

klutzaroo's avatar

Because each language has their own name for other places, not just the English language. Its hardly unique. There are plenty of people who don’t call the United States that, they call it whatever it is in their language along with every other country. We do it because it makes sense and its consistent with everyone else in the world.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@klutzaroo It makes no sense to me.

Odysseus's avatar

Hah, great question, Ive wondered this same thing for years.

I find it actually very rude and assimilate it with peoples names, eg. If a girl was called Erena at birth in her native Poland then moved to the U.S she would most likely be called Irene there. Or similarly Stephanos becomes Stephen

Why not just call them that which they name themselves?

klutzaroo's avatar

Actually, @Odysseus people tend to be called here what they want to be called. If someone moves here with a name like Erena or Stephanos, the only reason why they’d be called anything different is if they chose to be to sound “more American” and tell people to call them something other than the name they were given. People are called the names which they name themselves. Whether its the same name they were given at birth or not tends to be up to them (or their parents).

augustlan's avatar

I think we’ve discussed this before, and the answer had something to do with the geographic separation before intercontinental travel was common. I’ll see if I can find the old discussion.

Odysseus's avatar

Sorry to hijack the topic but @klutzaroo , I have personal friends (Erena/Stephanos) who would tend to disagree with you.

augustlan's avatar

http://www.fluther.com/9385/country-names/
http://www.fluther.com/43891/why-do-we-translate-the-names-of-countries/

Apparently, I was mistaken about the reasons. I don’t know if we ever really got an accurate answer.

klutzaroo's avatar

@Odysseus I don’t know where Erena and Stephanos ended up, nor their circumstances, but I do know that most people and institutions would respect their given names. There are a lot of people I know who weren’t born here who have foreign names that have remained, some who have found nicknames they prefer that sound more American and are easier for some folks to wrap their heads around, and a small few who have chosen to assimilate with their names.

meiosis's avatar

It’s common to change the names of places to make them easier to spell/pronounce. Most cultures and languages do it

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Nullo's avatar

That’s what languages do. Italian does it, as does German.

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