Germany in German is Deutschland and the language is Deutsch. I'm used to words being anglicized, but why is there a complete replacement in this case?
Germany did not officially unite as a singular country until 1871. Before that, there were a number of different regions like Bavaria, Prussia, the Hanseatic League, Saxony, and so on. There was also a long period of time when this region was part of the Holy Roman Empire. Before this, the peoples that eventually became Germany were grouped into various tribes.
Because of the lack of a single unifying name or country, the Germans ended up being named various things in different regions.
Here is a list of the names for Germans/Germany, grouped together by their origin. In summary:
- From the Old High German diutisc meaning "of the people" (e.g. Deutschland).
- From Latin Germania, probably meaning "neighbor" (e.g. Germany).
- From the name of the Alemanni tribe (e.g. Allemagne).
- From the name of the Saxon tribe (e.g. Saksa).
- From the Protoslavic word němьcь, meaning "foreigner", literally "unable to speak" (e.g. Německo).
- From the Germanic word Volk, meaning "folk" or "people" (e.g. Vokietija).
Wikipedia has a huge article on the subject. The two passages most related to your question are:
The name Deutschland and the other similar-sounding names above are derived from the Old High German diutisc, or similar variants from Proto-Germanic *Þeudiskaz, which originally meant "of the people". This in turn comes from a Germanic word meaning "folk" (leading to Old High German diot, Middle High German diet), and was used to differentiate between the speakers of Germanic languages and those who spoke Celtic or Romance languages. These words come from *teuta, the Proto-Indo-European word for "people" (Lithuanian tauto, Old Irish tuath, Old English þeod).
The name Germany and the other similar-sounding names above are derived from the Latin Germania, of the 3rd century BC, a word of uncertain origin. The name appears to be a Gaulish term, and there is no evidence that it was ever used by the Germanic tribes themselves. Julius Caesar was the first to use Germanus in writing when describing tribes in north-eastern Gaul in his Commentarii de Bello Gallico; he records that four northern Belgic tribes, namely, the Condrusi, Eburones, Caeraesi and Paemani, were collectively known as Germani. In 98, Tacitus wrote Germania (the Latin title was actually: De Origine et situ Germanorum), an ethnographic work on the diverse set of Germanic tribes outside the Roman Empire. Unlike Caesar, Tacitus claims that the name Germani was first applied to the Tungri tribe.
It should be noted that English does have the word Dutch, coming from the same source as Deutsch. It's just that nowadays it refers to, well, Dutch, rather than German. See Etymonline for further details:
Dutch late 14c., used first of Germans generally, after c.1600 of Hollanders, from M.Du. duutsch, from O.H.G. duit-isc, corresponding to O.E. þeodisc "belonging to the people," used especially of the common language of Germanic people, from þeod "people, race, nation," from P.Gmc. *theudo "popular, national" (see Teutonic), from PIE base *teuta- "people" (cf. O.Ir. tuoth "people," O.Lith. tauta "people," O.Prus. tauto "country," Oscan touto "community").
As a language name, first recorded as L. theodice, 786 C.E. in correspondence between Charlemagne's court and the Pope, in reference to a synodical conference in Mercia; thus it refers to Old English. First reference to the German language (as opposed to a Germanic one) is two years later. The sense was extended from the language to the people who spoke it (in German, Diutisklant, ancestor of Deutschland, was in use by 13c.).
Sense narrowed to "of the Netherlands" in 17c., after they became a united, independent state and the focus of English attention and rivalry. In Holland, duitsch is used of the people of Germany. The M.E. sense survives in Pennsylvania Dutch, who immigrated from the Rhineland and Switzerland.
The names for Germany in different languages are quite varied. English: Germany. Dutch: Duitsland. Polish: Niemcy. Spanish: Alemania. Wikipedia has a nice explanation of where these different names come from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_Germany
I'd back up. Why would you think that the name would be the same? These are different languages. The names of numbers, of trees, of colors, etc., differ by language. So it is not surprising that the names of countries differ.
protected by RegDwigнt♦ Jan 13 '12 at 10:39
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