Saturday, March 24, 2007


i never understood this.

the name of the country you live in isn't necessarily the name used by the rest of the world. being an american and having limited knowledge on how this is handled elsewhere, my perspective is limited. i do know that spanish speaking countries call the U.S.A. "los estados unidos" because the words that make up my nation's name are actual words.

some of our english changes make sense. i can see how Italia became Italy or Nederlands became Netherlands (side note: why do people like to say "the" Netherlands). even changing España to Spain isn't too big of a stretch. at least the "Spain" sound is sort of in there. but many countries refer to their homeland with a tag totally unlike what we know it as. it usually even translates with some significance. below are some examples of the more drastic renaming. some i knew, many required a little research. if your interested, here's a nice list on wikipedia.

German is Deutschland to the germans.
China is Chungkuo to the chinese.
Finland is Suomi to the fins.
Greece is Elláda to the greeks.
Japan is Nihon to the japanese.
Poland is Polska to the polish.
Russia is Rossija to the russians.
Sweden is Sverige to the swedes.
India is Bhārat to the indians.
Ireland is Éire to the irish.
Armenia is Hayastan to the armenians.
Greenland is Kalaallit Nunaat to the greenlanders.
Wales is Cymru to the welsh.

translating the native word into the english word "land" is understandable. and i can comprehend the ideology behind creating names for a country that uses an entirely different alphabet. slight spelling changes making it easier to pronounce phonetically. i guess that's excusable. but changing the name entirely? isn't that a little arrogant?

(additional note: on doing a spell check as i finished writing this post, all the native names were highlighted as incorrect with "no suggestion" as the correction.)