How Germany Got So Many Names In Different Languages

Germany: Maybe you have ever noticed that Germany, like the people living in this country, is called differently in different languages. And these names are sometimes very different. Yes, even in Russian, the name of the country (Germany) and the people (Germans) are different. You just look at the map below, how many different names Germany has:

But why does this country have so many names? Yes, many countries are called differently, but usually these are two or three names more or less similar. And in Germany, the names vary from at least 5 different roots. And if you look closely, then all nine. Let’s sort it out in order.

1. Germany – Germans

According to historians, the name “Germany” for the Germanic peoples came up with the Celts. Linguists do not fully agree on what exactly this name meant. Germani are either neighbors or noisy people.

One way or another, the Roman Empire picked up this name. It is known for certain that Caesar called them so. In the end, this name took root in Italy, in some eastern provinces of the Empire. Also, under the influence of the Byzantine Empire and Christianity that came from there, the name “Germany” replaced our native name in Russian and some South Slavic languages, which we will talk about later.

2. Germania – Germans

Slavic peoples for quite some time coexisted with the Germanic. At the same time, the languages ​​of the Slavs and Germans have already diverged quite far in order to cease to understand each other. And in the self-name, the Slavs noted what they can speak (from the word “word”), they named the neighbors accordingly: they can not speak, that is, dumb. So the name ” Germans ” was born .

But as I said, some Slavic languages ​​took the name “Germany” from Greek. At the same time, we retained in the language the original Slavic name of the people “Germans”.

3. Allemania – Allemania

In the II-III centuries AD there were clashes between the Roman Empire and the Germanic tribes. At that time, these Germanic tribes called themselves Allemans , which literally translates as ” all people .” This name also took root in the west of the empire and subsequently passed into all Romance languages, except Italian.

Later, when the Arabs captured Spain, they borrowed the name “Allemans” from the Spaniards and distributed this name to the Iranian and Turkic languages.

4. Deutschland – Deutsch

This name comes from the pragerman word ” Theodiscus “, which translates as ” folk “. In the Holy Roman Empire, this word denoted Germanic languages. And in general, the Germans were so used to this word that, in the end, the root ” Theod ” began to mean ” our people ” in German. But this name was unofficial for a long time. It received its recognition only in 1815, when the German Union ( Deutscher Bund ) was created .

So, since then, this self-name has taken root for the Germans completely. The same root is used in all other Germanic languages, except English. The British, for some unknown reason, decided to call the Dutch. And also this root is used in the Italian name of the German people – tedesco.

5. Some exotic names

Germany also has some exotic names. For example, the Baltic and Finno-Ugric tribes met the Germans during their Teutonic conquests. And there, the Germans preserved the old names of specific Germanic tribes. Finns and Estonians have Sax . And the Latvians and Lithuanians – Wakietia (from vagotov)

In some small languages ​​in Belgium and western Germany, the country is called Prussia . In the language of Navajo, one of the indigenous peoples of North America, Germany is called Béésh Bichʼahii bikéyah, which translates as ” Earth wearing steel helmets .” Explicit connection with the Second World War.

But the funny thing is that in African countries, Rwanda and Burundi, the Germans call Gutentag from the German traditional greeting.

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1 thought on “How Germany Got So Many Names In Different Languages”

  1. Interesting information. Although I’ve. Got a question. Dutch and Deutsch to my knowledge are bases upon the name of people living at that time in the Area now called The Kingdom of the Netherlands.
    The name at that time “Dietsland” in Dutch Germany is called Duitsland. So ..
    Diets, Duits, Dutch, Deutsch. Is my info incomplete or simply wrong?


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