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Thread: Germanic Country Names

  1. #11
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    Indeed! I translate Vlaanderen, Fanders, ... always as 'flooded land'. Is it really a Celtic name?

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    Senior Member Rik's Avatar
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    Probarly Celtogermanic , Flanders sounds like a bastardised form of flood.
    And Belgium also has a Celtogermanic origin.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auduid View Post
    Valkyrie, I believe that is the self-definition of the term Slav, or at least there is a term used by them for the Germans which means the direct opposite.
    I think that´s wrong. From where did you get that? That "Deutsch" derives from "theodisk/diutisk" is common sense among linguists.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodiscus

    "Theodiscus, the latinised form of Germanic diutisc ("vernacular", "native" or "indigenous"), is a Middle Latin adjective referring to the Germanic vernaculars of the Early Middle Ages. The Old High German language in Latin sources of the time is referred to as theodisca lingua.

    The use of theodisce/deutsch was first attested in 786 in a report to Pope Hadrian I. Texts from a synod held in Corbridge, England were read "tam latine quam theodisce" - "both in Latin and in the vernacular".

    It is derived from Common Germanic *þeudiskaz. The stem of this word, *þeuda, meant "people" in Common Germanic...The opposite, describing anything foreign or strange, is walhisk (welsh), which was used to refer to Roman or Celtic people.

    Ultimately, the word is traced back to Proto-Indo-European language *teuta, meaning "tribe".


    I hope this could help you?

    There is the idea that the name German came from germaine and germination, sort of how Scandinavia was considered the womb of peoples.
    Deutsch, aka Teutonic is probably related to Tyr, the one-handed warrior.
    These theories are also new to me. I don´t think that there is truth in them, honestly.
    "Teutonic" comes from "teuta", which means "tribe" in Proto European language.

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    Senior Member NormanBlood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auduid View Post
    Belgium and Bulgaria are related to "Wales", right? They all mean "foreign" in Germanic tongues, correct?
    The name Belgium comes from the Celtic tribe, or rather confederation of tribes, of the Belgae that inhabited the region during Caesar's conquest. I highly doubt they would have named themselves "foreigners". Perhaps you're thinking of Wallonia, which is, indeed, derived from walh (foreigner).

    Bulgaria is also derived from the tribal name the Bulgars gave themselves, not at all related to "foreigner". I think in this case you're thinking of Wallachia (Romania).

    The name Italy is not of Germanic origin either. Nations with Germanic names tended to be those that have had largely Germanic rulers for the greater part of their "recent" history.

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    Senior Member Angelcynn Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auduid View Post
    The point was to pick out top government names, not the names of subnational entities like England or Scotland. If we go that route you are suggesting, then why not Andalusia or Lombardy?
    Because England is the oldest state in Europe and has been around continuously since the time of Alfred the Great at the very latest. The state of England didn't cease to exist when the monarchies of Scotland and England were unified. Hence why they are still differentiated in law to this day.

    It should also be pointed out that both Germany and Austria are derived from Latin words. As somebody already pointed out, the Germans call themselves Deutsche. And the word Austria - and it's German equivalent of Osterreich - are both derived from the Latin term for the region Marchia Orientalis, which it was given during the days of the Holy Roman Empire.
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  6. #16
    Sees all, knows all Chlodovech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NormanBlood View Post
    The name Belgium comes from the Celtic tribe, or rather confederation of tribes, of the Belgae that inhabited.
    Yes, the Belgae had their habitat roughly in Northern France and Belgium, although the eastern part of modern Flanders (the provinces of Antwerp, Limburg, Brabant) was considered to be 'Germania inferior' by the Romans. Part of Flanders was still flooded at the time, and not really hospitable, that's why the Belgae prefered France and Wallonia as an area for settlements.

    The Belgae themselves are increasingly more labeled as (predominately or almost completely) Germanic by the Belgian academic world and media. But it's an ongoing debate. There was definitely a Celtic component to be found in the Belgae, to which extent is not known. But the Eburonic tribesman Ambiorix who revolted against the Romans was of Germanic origin.

    However, the Belgae have not that much to do with Flemish culture and my ancestors anyway - as the Frankish settlement in scarcely populated Flanders drove those "Gallic" tribes southward. In that light it was historically not very accurate to name this country 'Belgium' when it was formed in the 19th century - because the young state needed a historical justification of its own right to exist, something which is not a good thing for independent academical research. It sounds ironic, but it's our forefathers who drove the "Belgians" off their lands.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dodenknoop
    Indeed! I translate Vlaanderen, Fanders, ... always as 'flooded land'. Is it really a Celtic name?
    Frans-Jozef has many linguistic qualities, maybe he'll be able to tell something more, but to the best of my knowledge, it is. I don't ought it impossible that the Franks adopted an old Celtic name for Flanders.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychonaut View Post

    There's also New Zealand, which comes from the Danish Sæl-land or Seal land.
    Well, I'm certainly no expert on this but from what I've heard the meaning of Zealand (Sjælland) as "seal land" is disputed. Land in Sjælland probably refers to a Danish word for many or plentiful. One theory is that Sjælland means "lots of seals" but another one is that it means "many fjords".

    About Denmark (Danmark), I've been told that it's a German expression for "the land that borders to the Danes" which is supposed to, originally, refer to Schleswig (Slesvig) on Southern Jutland (Jylland), as the Danes mainly lived on Zealand (Sjælland). Why they were called Danes nobody knows.

    Sweden (Sverige) simply means "the land of the Swedes" (Svearnas rike). Why the Swedes were called Swedes is also a mystery but an area called Sveþiuþ, or Svitjod in modern writing, have been identified as the land around lake Mälaren, where todays Stockholm is located.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angelcynn Beorn View Post
    Because England is the oldest state in Europe and has been around continuously since the time of Alfred the Great at the very latest. The state of England didn't cease to exist when the monarchies of Scotland and England were unified. Hence why they are still differentiated in law to this day.

    It should also be pointed out that both Germany and Austria are derived from Latin words. As somebody already pointed out, the Germans call themselves Deutsche. And the word Austria - and it's German equivalent of Osterreich - are both derived from the Latin term for the region Marchia Orientalis, which it was given during the days of the Holy Roman Empire.
    Oh, how I "relish" the fundamentalist unhappiness when subnational entities of the UK don't want to be reconciled within the name of their top government, sort of like how the Basques and others in Spain are all separatist. Relax. If I wanted this discussion to be about subnational entities, I am very certain there would be many more names to fit this topic. Since some of you are already at it though and have proven that you cannot contain your enthusiasm for bucking the name "Britain", then why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chlodovech View Post
    Yes, the Belgae had their habitat roughly in Northern France and Belgium, although the eastern part of modern Flanders (the provinces of Antwerp, Limburg, Brabant) was considered to be 'Germania inferior' by the Romans. Part of Flanders was still flooded at the time, and not really hospitable, that's why the Belgae prefered France and Wallonia as an area for settlements.

    The Belgae themselves are increasingly more labeled as (predominately or almost completely) Germanic by the Belgian academic world and media. But it's an ongoing debate. There was definitely a Celtic component to be found in the Belgae, to which extent is not known. But the Eburonic tribesman Ambiorix who revolted against the Romans was of Germanic origin.

    However, the Belgae have not that much to do with Flemish culture and my ancestors anyway - as the Frankish settlement in scarcely populated Flanders drove those "Gallic" tribes southward. In that light it was historically not very accurate to name this country 'Belgium' when it was formed in the 19th century - because the young state needed a historical justification of its own right to exist, something which is not a good thing for independent academical research. It sounds ironic, but it's our forefathers who drove the "Belgians" off their lands.



    Frans-Jozef has many linguistic qualities, maybe he'll be able to tell something more, but to the best of my knowledge, it is. I don't ought it impossible that the Franks adopted an old Celtic name for Flanders.
    Here is another example of the diminishment of the Celtic component in Europe. With the names of countries Belgium and Luxembourg, Great Britain and Ireland, one could see the remnants of the Celts in Europe. Why some are so hostile to this and would seek to displace these names or interpretations in favour of Germanic forms, I do not care to follow. I accept the Celtic element without feeling the "need" to trash it, like insisting on the English or Flemish element in these nations. The Celtic fringe is already so small; leave them be. There are certainly enough Germanic country names to go around. On the other hand, I can perfectly see how England could be the name for all the British Isles as they all speak English and such is the case with the name for France--they all speak French. Perhaps subnational Celtic names would be better for the British Isles, for Celtic languages are used on a local basis. I do not have an opinion on old Gallia Belgica, but their pre-Roman relationship to the British Isles is well known. I am of the opinion that the Celtic element in Germany was what permitted the shift of the borders of Rome to include Germany. For instance, the name Germania was used for provinces of Gaul. This was the means by which Germany became integrated into the Roman system. Of course, Germans probably despise that idea, but their protest would be illogical considering Charlemagne and the Treaty of Verdun which led to Germany being the focal point of Rome in the West.

    Quote Originally Posted by NormanBlood View Post
    The name Belgium comes from the Celtic tribe, or rather confederation of tribes, of the Belgae that inhabited the region during Caesar's conquest. I highly doubt they would have named themselves "foreigners". Perhaps you're thinking of Wallonia, which is, indeed, derived from walh (foreigner).

    Bulgaria is also derived from the tribal name the Bulgars gave themselves, not at all related to "foreigner". I think in this case you're thinking of Wallachia (Romania).

    The name Italy is not of Germanic origin either. Nations with Germanic names tended to be those that have had largely Germanic rulers for the greater part of their "recent" history.
    I myself believe the theory of Bulgar coming from Volga, but there is no reason not to tie together with Belgae, Wallachia, Wallonia and Wales. The Volcae were a Gallic tribe. Perhaps some people forget that the Celts were a widespread people who lived on the borders of the Roman Empire from the British Isles to Anatolia, within and without.
    Last edited by Rodskarl Dubhgall; Sunday, October 12th, 2008 at 09:41 PM. Reason: adding another reply

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    Senior Member NormanBlood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auduid View Post
    I myself believe the theory of Bulgar coming from Volga, but there is no reason not to tie together with Belgae, Wallachia, Wallonia and Wales. The Volcae were a Gallic tribe. Perhaps some people forget that the Celts were a widespread people who lived on the borders of the Roman Empire from the British Isles to Anatolia, within and without.
    Not matter your theories, we are speaking of etymology here. Belgae is not etymologically connected to walh (foreigner), but is rather derived from a Celtic root. Similarly, Bulgar is neither derived from walh. This much is certain. My impression was that this topic was about Germanic country names, Bulgaria and Belgium are not Germanic country names.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Æmeric View Post
    And is Germany/Germania Germanic? The Romans used the phrase Germania. The modern inhabitants call themselves Deutsche, the country Deutschland.
    It is puzzling that all of Germany's neighbors call it something different. Not slight changes in pronunciation to accommodate the language, but totally different roots:

    German: Deutschland
    English: Germany [from latin Germania]
    Dutch: Duitsland
    Danish/Norwegian/Swedish: Tyskland
    Finnish/Estonian: Saksa/Saksamaa
    Latvian/Lithuanian: Vacija/Vokietija
    Spanish/French/Portuguese: Allemannia/Allemagne/Alemanha
    Italian: Tedesco (language), or Germania (country)
    Polish: Niemcy [Interestingly, I have been told this word is a plural in Polish..."The Germanies"; And, less flatteringly, that it comes from the root meaning "idiot".]
    South & West Slavic languages: Nyemacka/Nemecko

    Am I missing some other distinctive ones?

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