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Why so many different names for Germany

posted Nov 26, 2015, 9:18 AM by Thomas Kraus   [ updated Jan 27, 2016, 4:23 PM ]
Why are there so many different names for Germany? To Americans, the European country that gave the world Volkswagens, the Scorpions and World War II is Germany. But in Germany, they call the place Deutschland. The Spanish call Germany Alemania, the Poles call it Niemcy and the Thai call it ???????.
Each of these other countries likewise has a name for itself within its own borders - an endonym - that’s different from what we call it in the U.S. and from what other countries call it - an exonym.
Why all the different names if we’re talking about the same places?
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  Some place names simply come from the people who inhabit the land. Germany, for example, was Germany to some folks long before the country united and called itself Deutschland. Germany’s central position in western Europe means that it has historically shared borders with many different groups, and many languages use the name of the first Germanic tribe its speakers came in contact with as a name for the whole region. The Romans named a chunk of land east of the Rhine River and north of the Danube River Germania after the first Germanic tribe they heard about from the nearby Gauls. The root of the name is from the Gauls, who called the tribe across the river the Germani, which might have meant “neighbor” or maybe “men of the forest.” English borrowed the name in turn and anglicized the ending to get Germany.

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