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El_Cadejo's avatar

Why do we call countries by different names depending on where we live?

Asked by El_Cadejo (34524points) March 19th, 2008

For example why do we call Germany, Germany as apposed to Deutschland? I dont understand why we call it something other than what they name it. The only time it really makes sense is with countries like the United States where they are just normal words.

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4 Answers

blippio's avatar

I’d think “normal words” would be rather subjective; Etats-unis is literally “states united” to the French but I guess I get your point.

This difference also applies to some cities: why do we call a city Florence and the Italians call it Firenze?

I guess the naming of cities/countries ultimately get bastardized to the local language. You could also add to that the pronunciation of foreign words as well; you’d come across as a pompous ass in the US if you were referring to Paris as “Pair-ee”...

However, I draw the line of naming when it comes to people. I recently worked with a woman from France and her name was Gael. Some of my coworkers just called her “Gail”, which is kind of the American-ized name, I guess. But I thought it would be rude to not call her by her real name, and real pronunciation, which is “Guy-elle”... I think it’s rude not to at least try to do this when referring a person directly…

but I digress… interesting q though

juaniquillo's avatar

why do we have different languages?

campbill's avatar

@juaniquillo so we can talk about you on the subway without you knowing it.

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