European Nations by Any Other Name – Monday Map

Monday Map showing how the name of European nations, when translated literally from Chinese, according to Haohao Report, can be rather amusing.

Map of Europe translated from Chinese
click to enlarge

What’s In A Name?

Some leeway has been taken here, since certain Chinese characters can have more than one meaning, depending upon usage and dialect. Also, when naming countries for maps, the Chinese would often choose characters that sounded close to the syllables used to pronounce the official name of the country in question. For example the official name of Spain is España, which in Chinese became Xi Ban Ya, or “West Class Tooth.”

This brought to mind a question I have posed for many years, why don’t we call Germany Deutschland and a German Deutsch?

A German by any other name would be as Deutsch

I know why we call Germany Germany; it comes from the Latin germanicus, which was used to describe the tribes in that part of the world during the Roman Empire.

That is not a very satisfying answer, considering we have had a thousand years to figure out what a place is actually called. It has been 200 years since Deutsch was offered to the world as the official term of national identification. But we keep right on with this German nonsense.

Sometime around Nixon’s visit to China we were suddenly asked to start calling Peking by its more accurate pronunciation of Beijing. In less than 20 years it became second nature to use the correct name. Why can’t we do the same with Deutschland? After all, we call Finland Finland.

But then, its name isn’t Finland, is it? It is Suomi.

It just seems arrogant to me, or at least rather lazy in this information age to expect a Svenska person from Sverige to come to America and continually say “I am Swedish from Sweden.”

I understand that certain languages make it rather difficult to master the actual name of well-known countries. But many of the names we use are no less absurd than those on the map above. However, if we followed the Peking to Beijing model, with schoolchildren taught the proper names at an early age, reenforced by the New York Times and other sources of record, it probably wouldn’t take all that long to adjust to calling our friends and neighbors on the planet by their actual names, instead of “You from that place I don’t know how to pronounce.”

Here are the names of European lands, according to themselves. Some use symbols and characters we do not. Sometimes their spelling actually sounds like ours. But in many cases we come nowhere near the mark.

English Name   –   Local Name (different alphabet) [pronunciation]

Albania   –   Shqipëria [Ship-per-EE-ya ]

Andorra   –   Andorra

Austria   –   Österreich

Azerbaijan   –   Azərbaycan

Belarus   –   Biełaruś

Belgium   –   België

Bosnia and Herzegovina   –   Bosna i Hercegovina

Bulgaria   –   Bŭlgarija

Croatia   –   Hrvatska

Czech Republic   –   Česko

Denmark   –   Danmark

England   –   England

Estonia   –   Eesti

Finland   –   Suomi

France   –   France

Germany   –   Deutschland

Greece   –   (Elláda)

Hungary   –   Magyarország

Iceland   –   Ísland

Ireland   –   Éire

Italy   –   Italia

Latvia   –   Latvija

Liechtenstein   –   Liechtenstein

Lithuania   –   Lietuva

Luxemburg   –   Luxembourg

Macedonia   –   (Makedonija)

Moldova   –   (Moldova)

Monaco   –   Monaco

Montenegro   –   (Crna Gora)

Netherlands   –   Nederland

Norway   –   Norge

Poland   –   Polska

Portugal   –   Portugal

Romania   –   România

Russia   –   (Rossiya)

San Marino   –   San Marino

Serbia   –   (Srbija)

Scotland   –   Scotland – the Scots name, Alba is the Gaelic term

Slovakia   –   Slovensko

Slovenia   –   Slovenija

Spain   –   España

Sweden   –   Sverige

Switzerland   –   Helvetica – official name that avoids favoring one language over others.

Turkey   –   Türkiye

Ukraine   –   (Ukrajina)

 Wales   –  Cymru [KEM reh]

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