Your countries' name in my language

May 2011
461
Karaj, Iran
It is fun to look up your country's name in a specific language and find out its history. For example:

  • "Hellas" is called "Yunan" in Persian, because the first Hellenic tribes the Persians encountered when extending westward were Ionians.

  • The Ancient Persians called "India", "Hind", after the river Sind. Initial *S could not be pronounced in Old Persian, so it was called Hind instead.

  • Persians called China "Chin", after a corruption of the name of the ruling Qin dynasty. Accordingly, the unknown lands around china, i.e. Korea, Siberia and Japan were called "Machin", that is, lands which lie beyond "Chin". This is a magical land were many Persian fairy tales take place.

  • Sri Lanka or Silan was called Sarandip in Persian, which was a corruption of a Sanskrit term meaning "the dip Island". (See etymology of Serendipity in English)

  • Persians called the Byzantines "Rumi", and called Turkey "Rum", because the lands formerly belonged to the Roman empire.

  • Also, people with Nordic features were called "Farangi", after the Varangian soldiers who used to be guards in the Byzantine court. Consequently, the whole Europe was known as "Farangestan", the land of "Farangi" people. (Some argue this is after the Franks, who united Europe in the era of early Islamic writers)

  • Russians and Ukranians were called the "Saqlabi" in Persian and Arabic, which seems to be a corruption of a cognate of "Slav".

  • Germany is called "Almann" in Persian, after the German region and tribe, but most probably this is a french loanword. So does Netherlands, which is called "Holland".

  • Surprisingly, for some of you; many countries in Europe have an "-stan" ending in Persian. Poland is called "Lahestan", England is called "Engelestan", Bulgaria is called "Bulgharestan", Hungary is called "Majarestan", Armenia is called "Armanestan".

  • Africans were called "Zangi" in Persian, after the region of "Zangbar" (Zanzibar) where black slaves were traded. Zangbar literally means "The Black Port" in Persian. Many other regions in Africa are called after their Arabic names: Egypt is called "Mesr", Morocco is called "Marakesh", etc.

  • For America, during the Qajar dynasty of Persia it was called "Yange Donya", which is Azeri for "The New World". Today it is called "Amrika".

So, what are some interesting facts about other countries' names in your language?
 

KGB

Ad Honorem
Apr 2011
3,388
Тurkey means .. turkey in English :))

Bulgaria sounds for Greeks like Vulgaria - country of vulgarians:):):)
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,253
Italy, Lago Maggiore
In Italian:

Great Britain = Gran Bretagna [this generates confusion with "Bretagna", anyway ...]
England = Inghilterra
Scotland = Scozia
Wales = Galles [coming from Saxon pronounce the W in Italy became G like Walter > Gualtiero]
Ireland = Irlanda
Spain = Spagna
Italy = Italia
Turkey = Turchia
France = Francia
Germany = Germania
Netherlands = Olanda [!!]
Canada = Canada
Australia = Australia
Japan = Giappone
Russia = Russia
 
Sep 2013
210
Romania
In Croatia there is a city called Pula, "Pula" is a very ugly word in romanian meaning dick.
 

Ancientgeezer

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
8,898
The Dustbin, formerly, Garden of England
Тurkey means .. turkey in English :))

Bulgaria sounds for Greeks like Vulgaria - country of vulgarians:):):)
You are thinking of the designer shops-Bulgari as patronised by the Russian new rich--better known in London as "Vulgari"
 
Jul 2011
596
In Dutch
Great Britain = Groot Britannië
England = Engeland
Scotland = Schotland
Wales = Wales
Ireland = Ierland
Spain = Spanje
Italy = Italië
Turkey = Turkije
France = Frankrijk (translated litteraly: the empire of the Franks)
Germany = Duitsland
Netherlands = Nederland
Canada = Canada
Australia = Australië
Japan = Japan
Russia = Rusland
USA = Verenigde Staten van Amerika
 

KGB

Ad Honorem
Apr 2011
3,388
In Bulgarian:

Japan - Iaponia
Germany - Germania
France - Francia
USA - S.A.SHT.; "Shtatite" /i.e. the States/ or America
Russia - Rusia
Sweden - Shvecia
England - Anglia
Greece - Garcia
Turkey - Turcia
China - Kitai
 

M.S. Islam

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
3,333
Dhaka
In Bangla,

China > Chin, as like Iranians, probably loaned from Farsi.
Turkey > Turoshko
Egypt > Mishor
USA > Markin Yukto-Rashtro
Britain > Billet
 

Efendi

Ad Honoris
Jul 2009
12,418
Anatolia
USA: Amerika Birleşik Devletleri (ABD)
Greece: Yunanistan
Bulgaria: Bulgaristan
Serbia: Sırbistan
Crotia: Hırvatistan
Albania: Arnavutluk
Iran: Iran, Acem (Old lang)
Egypt: Mısır
Syria: Suriye.
Poland: Polonia, Lehistan(in old lang.)
Hungaria: Macaristan.

Frenkistan:totall sum of Latin speaking Catholic countries in old language.
Germany: Almanya, Alamanya.
England: Ingiltere
France: Fransa
Italy: Italya
Spain: İspanya

Chına: Çin
India: Hindistan
Georgia: Gürcistan.
Armenia: Ermenistan
 
Last edited:
Feb 2013
1,283
Second City
I believe Iranians are also some of the few to call Poland "Lahestan" after the mythical Polish progenitor "Lech."

EDIT: I see the Turks did this, too.
 
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