Talk:Exonym and endonym

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Palistines[edit]

the are called by an exonym and i sort of think that it is wrong because we should respect their name and not just go around calling them a name that we made up for them and i think that it wrong!


Do you mean Palestinians - the people of Palestine? Can you explain why you think using this name is wrong? Frankieparley 06:12, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
What name do they prefer? —Tamfang (talk) 19:19, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

Native tribes and peoples of America[edit]

Almost all nativ tribes and people of America have exonyms, off the top of my head: inca, ahh...--145.94.41.95 22:02, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Iran?[edit]

Seems like Iran should be added to the list of examples wherein a country requests not to be refered to by use of an exonym, since it is one of the best known examples of this. Is there a particular reason it isn't included? I'd add it myself, but I don't know the date and circumstances, and have run out of time to research.

UN conference on the standardization of geographical names[edit]

Recently included content relating to the conference has been cut entirely (and not transferred to the UN conference article as indicated in my edit summary), with the invitation to tidy it up and include in that article. RealityCheck 11:34, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Better intro[edit]

I'd like to replace the current intro with the following. I'll go ahead and make the change if no objection is lodged:

An exonym is a name for a place or people that is different from the name used in the native language. For example, London is known as Londres in Spanish, French and Portuguese; Londra in Italian and Londýn in Czech and Slovak and Londyn in Polish. The opposite of an exonym is an endonym. Roma is an endonym, while Rome is an exonym.

The use of exonyms is often controversial. Groups often prefer that outsiders avoid exonyms; for example, Roma people prefer that term over exonyms like Gypsy. People may also seek to avoid exonyms due to historical sensitivities, as in the case of German language German names for Polish and Czech places.

In recent years, geographers have sought to reduce the use of exonyms to avoid these kind of problems. For example, it is now common for Latin Americans to refer to the Turkish capital as Ankara rather than use the Spanish exonym Angora.

But according to the United Nations Statistics Division:

Time has, however, shown that initial ambitious attempts to rapidly decrease the number of exonyms were over-optimistic and not possible to realise in the intended way. The reason would appear to be that many exonyms have become common words in a language and can be seen as part of the language’s cultural heritage.

(External links section:)

Mwalcoff, this would be a good improvement. I think a revised version should maintain the point somewhere that an exonym is one which has been assigned by outsiders; the London example is helpful and could more explicitly state something along the lines of "exonyms for London include..."; and in outlining the controversy I think we need to retain the point that whether a term is considered to be an exonym can depend on how widely the concept is defined. RealityCheck 03:05, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Thank you. Do you have an example of the word "exonym" being used with the narrower definition? Thanks -- Mwalcoff 23:39, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I've added a non-cognate example in the intro as these tend to give most controversy. Also renamed the page. Joestynes 10:49, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

An exonym becoming an endonym[edit]

The article should talk about this, too. For example, the Megleno-Romanians no longer use a word derived from "romanus", but use "vlaşi", derived from Vlach, which was originally an exonym. bogdan 11:30, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Post colonial India[edit]

Post colonial India is interesting in that recently Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, etc. (all major international airports) have dropped their exonyms in favour of endonyms. Some Indians have felt that this is part of an over-arching pro-Hindi political program - a component of the predominantly Hindi speaking (North-West Indian) power-holders who are working legislatively to drop English as the national language of India in favour of Hindi.

Of course, other exonyms used by the tea trade have also fallen into disuse (Formosa, Ceylon etc.) (20040302)

Revert explanation[edit]

I have reverted the changes made by the user at 128.176.76.xxx (two separate endings; probably the same user). I did replace what he/she wrote about pronunciations but put it in better English. I removed the word "now" (I assume the user meant "current") before "Polish and Czech." All of today's Czech and Polish republics were occupied by the Germans during WWII, so the sentence about German exonyms applies to all Czech and Polish place names. (I'm not going to begin to get into the situation of formerly Polish places now in former Soviet republics.) -- Mwalcoff 00:30, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

I think you're missing the point. When it comes to German names of Polish and Czech place names, you have to distinguish traditional exonyms that were in use before WWII (because of an autochthonous German population and/or because they name places that had belonged to Germany e.g. in East Prussia and Silesia) and wartime-only German place names such as Litzmannstadt for Lodz. Nobody in Germany today (except hardcore Neonazis) will ever think of using wartime-only German place names. Traditional German place names however are commonly used and ever fewer people use the endonyms. Before the end of communism some people took exception to this because in theory the border question was not yet settled for good and they wanted to underline the fact that Breslau/Wroclaw, which was German until the war, was now Polish. So the problem is not that of occupation but that of annexation (in other words: all Poland was occupied, but only parts of present-day Poland were German before the war(s)).
As for your rephrasing, it may be better English but it is not as accurate. It does not contain the information that the English pronunciation of Paris is not the nearest approximation of the French (which would simply exchange the French r for an English one). It is exactly this (not being the nearest approximation) and not the mere fact that the pronunciation is phonetically different which makes it an exonym.
Some languages use the same spelling of an exonym but change the pronunciation.
I have my doubts whether you have understood the concept of exonymy. Before the change of spelling and/or pronunciation it is called an endonym, only after that is is an exonym. --89.52.126.194 20:57, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, that was a typo by me. I think everything is OK now. I just made a minor change to the language in the Paris part. -- Mwalcoff 00:35, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Maghreb, Morocco[edit]

Does not "Maghreb" (and related words and spellings) refer to the whole Mediterranean-Coastal region of North-west Africa? Including Tunisia and colastal Algeria? So does not the use of the word by Morrocons refer to a trans-national identity at least as much as it does to the country that in English is known as "Morocco?" Dvd Avins 21:09, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

The litteral meaning of Arabic "Maghrib" is "West", and Morocco is the farthest west Arab state... AnonMoos 17:27, 21 October 2006 (UTC)


The entire western region of Arabian colonization was historically referred to The West / Al'Maghreb, this included modern Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Spain, and Portugal. Morocco's use of Maghreb as the name of the country is similar to the USA's use of the word America, or Colombia's use of that name, both of which are historic names of the Western Continent. The term Maghreb is used for both the country and the region in Arabic, but the region now generally includes Western Sahara and Mauritania, and excludes Spain and Portugal.

Cymry?[edit]

Changed Cymry to correct spelling, Cymru, which of course does not mean 'Welsh,' but Wales.

        Those are two different words and both are correct.212.76.37.191 22:29, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Using of the exonym and endonym words[edit]

I absolutely support using the exonyma in the national languages, because it is a part of our language and culture. But very often it is necessary to use both the exonym and endonym, because many people have troubles with the pronounciation or knowledge of some names. In my opinion it would be nonsense to say in English: I visited Praha. Normally you would say: I visited Prague but you should know that the endonym of Prague is Praha. The same example in the Czech language: You never say: Navštívil jsem London (I visited London) but Navštívil jsem Londýn.

Titles of lists[edit]

58.179.72.140 changed "exonyms" to "endonyms" for the titles of a couple lists. This change looks wrong for the one that now says "List of English endonyms for peoples" because the English is the exonym. Otherwise, I would agree that the title should say these are endonyms because it really is a lookup for speakers of English that would perhaps only know the exonym already. Maybe just removing "English" makes more sense for that one table. Skapare 04:16, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Exonym? or subtle difference?[edit]

Does it really rise to being a case of true exonym, at least for inclusion in a table or list, if the root form is obviously the same and there is only a minor spelling variance to fit the rules of another language? While "Germany" is a true exonym, is "Navarre" (same basic root form over a few languages)? Skapare 04:33, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

I thought the same as well. Many of the country names ending in -ia (and -ie in French) differ from their original name, it seems to be stretching the definition to call all of them exonyms. I think this shows how inadequate the term exonym. But then there's nothing we can do about it. Uly 03:23, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
Totally agreed... The definition is stretched all the way so that anything about another culture is an exonym. Things shouldn't be streched beyond necessity :P Anyway, what i mean is, there always is at least a minor difference in pronounciation if not always in spelling. So the Eskimo calling themselves Inuit (or they never picked a particular name, as inuit simply means human) is an appropriate example but an Italian calling himself Italiano is not. Neither is a Spaniard's slightly different pronounciation of that same word Italiano.

Changing names of lists, a proposal[edit]

Some of the exonym lists are not properly so-called, I think. Definitionally: if a region's population shifts, do the former population's toponyms become exonyms? Think Roman Empire, Kaliningrad Oblast, etc. If a region is inhabited by one population but forms part of a state dominated by another, are the local's toponyms endonyms and the "official" ones imposed by the state's majority exonyms, or vice versa, or something else? Think Brittany, South Tirol, Catalonia, Kosovo, etc. If a region is inhabited by multiple populations, whose is the endonym and whose the exonym? Think Transylvania, portions of Moldova, Lithuania, Ukraine, even Los Angeles vs. Los Ángeles. And how do we know which population is the majority.

Given that I believe some of the lists of exonyms are not truly so, it may be better to rename the lot to XXXian names of places in YYY, leaving the endo- vs. exo- debate to the articles themselves: pretty clear that English names of places in Lithuania, say, are exonyms, but less clear that German or Polish names of places in Lithuania is so, and the status of Russian or Belarussian names of places in Lithuania is murkier still, as is the status of Samogitian names of places in Lithuania.

Any thoughts about name changing the lists?

Carlossuarez46 20:05, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

On this point, I do not believe South Africa is an exonym, as it is what South Africans call South Africa, when speaking English in South Africa, and English is an official language within South Africa. Moreover Zuid-Afrika does not predate South Africa as the official name of the country. While Dutch was official in the region prior to English, that official status was in the Kaap/Cape colony. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.148.123.76 (talk) 09:11, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Wales[edit]

Surely the endonyms Cymru (Wales), Cymro (Welshman), Cymry (Welsh people, the Welsh) all derivez from cwm "valley" NOT "comrade". needs changing —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 84.78.78.41 (talk) 18:48, 10 December 2006 (UTC).

Merge from Ethnonym[edit]

I'm not sure if this is even a real word (see Talk:Ethnonym), but if it is, it refers to exactly the same thing as this article. Merge - Jack (talk) 10:36, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

oppose ethnonym is a word (Talk:Ethnonym was questioning endonym, not ethnonym). Ethnonym is the same as demonym and should merge there instead. The exonym-endonym distinction is a subissue deserving its separate page. jnestorius(talk) 12:22, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Non-English words[edit]

Would it be possible to have the non-English words in some of these lists at least transliterated to English? I mean, it's great that the endonym of Russians is "Русские" but since I can't read Cyrillic characters, I have absolutely no idea how to pronounce this. It's bad enough when I don't know the pronounciation rules of languages that use Latin characters (i.e., Dutch)--with other languages I'm totally lost (and I doubt I'm the only one). :) RobertM525 09:43, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

autonym[edit]

autonym is by far the more common term. endonym does not even occur in most dictionaries. I would suggest that the article use the more common terminology. – ishwar  (speak) 04:03, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Category:Exonym[edit]

Would it make sence to have a separate category called Exonym and to use that instead of Category:Endonyms as many of the terms (article names) found in the list are actually Exonyms and not Endonyms.

Controversial use of endonyms? "Roma": from which origin?[edit]

I'd like to discuss the possibility of controversial use of endonyms, rather than of exonyms. The ethnic group that often use the endonym "Romani" for themselves, or a variant thereof, are often labelled with an exonym ("Gypsy", "Gitano", etc) based on the incorrect supposition that they originated in Egypt. These exonyms are inappropriate and, as they are frequently applied prejoratively, it is understandable that an endonym is preferred. The endonym is said to derive from the word "rom"/"rrom", in the people's own language, meaning "husband", with "romni"/"rromni" meaning "wife". But the Wikipedia article for the Romani people says that "there are no historical proofs to clarify the etymology of these words". I hear Romanians complaining that they are being associated with this group because the names are similar, and claiming that this group's endonym came into being because its members often come from families that settled in Romania. Is this scenario, their endonym therefore ultimately derives from the some source as the Romanians' - from "Romans" - which is at least as inappropriate as the exonym for this group, considering the lack of any Latin connection. I have no axe to grind - I have never personally had any problems with either ethnic group. But can anybody throw light on the historical basis of using "Romani" as an endonym? Frankieparley 06:50, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

Orthographic exonymy in languages with phonetic spelling: "Serbian"[edit]

As written, the article seems to suggest that Serbian is written in the Latin alphabet. My understanding is that Serbs prefer to write their language in the Cyrillic alphabet, while Croats use the Latin alphabet to write what, depending on one's ideology, is either the same language or a closely related one. In any event, should "Serbian" here be "Croatian," or should the section be clarified to note that Serbs use Cyrillic? --Mr. A. (talk) 22:16, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

While the Latin Alphabet is the official on in Croatia and Bosnia, in Serbia and Montenegro, both Latin and Cyrillic Alphabets are official. Latin-Serbian is almost indistinguishable from Bosnian of Croatian, with the exception of some German and Italian based words used in Croatian, Arabic and Turkish based words in Bosnian. Nevertheless Serbian can be written in Latin, although Cyrillic is far more common in Serbia.

Chinese "exonyms"[edit]

Many Chinese endonyms have successfully become English exonyms, especially city and most province names in mainland China, following Hanyu Pinyin spelling, as the current standard romanisation in China, e.g. Beijing (北京 Běijīng), Guangdong (广东 Guǎngdōng) (province), Qingdao (青岛 Qīngdǎo), although older English exonyms are sometimes used in certain contexts - i.e. Peking (duck, opera, etc.), Canton, Tsintao, etc.

I'm not really happy with this paragraph. Guangdong is an exonym? Peking and Canton are, but Guangdong and Qingdao? --85.181.225.129 (talk) 15:10, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
It's the contrast Qingdao vs Tsintao, Guangdong vs Canton. Example of former exonyms, which have successfully become English endonyms. --Atitarev (talk) 09:39, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
And English Beijing has already started to become a real English exonym. Many speakers now prefer Beizhing to Beijing (pronunication only), for whatever reason. Maybe hyperforeignization. --85.181.225.44 (talk) 19:24, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Many English-speakers also get the tones wrong, too. Or does the definition of 'exonym' disregard differences in pronunciation that are forced by differences in phonemic repertoire? (If so, most of the entries in every List of Framistani exonyms ought to be omitted.) —Tamfang (talk) 02:37, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
I'd change become in the first line to replaced. —Tamfang (talk) 20:14, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Pronounciation and exonym[edit]

I've removed this statement in the intro:

Some languages use the same spelling as the endonym but change the pronunciation, thus making it an exonym. The English and German pronunciations of Paris, for example, are different from the French one (where the s is silent in modern French), though it is spelled the same in all three languages.

I'd like to see a source on this if it was to be put back in the intro. While it is true that Paris is pronounced differently, most languages sharing the same orthography pronounce their letter differently. If the statement is to be taken at face value, couldn't we make the arguement that many toponyms in Scotland are exonyms when pronounced in American English, that most Latin American toponyms are exonyms in Castillian Spanish and vice versa? And is Japanese for New York, "Nyū Yōku" an exonym even though it follows standard transliteration practice and is the closest aproximation possible in Japanese? o (talk) 13:57, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

In older French, the s in Paris was not silent. Another example would be Praha. English Prague and German Prag conserve a g that used to be there in Czech. --85.181.225.44 (talk) 19:27, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Tags[edit]

The missing citation and example farm tags are very relevant. The article has three references, none of them to clearly reliable sources. This is much too few for that amount of text. Secondly most of the article consists of unsourced examples rather than scholarly explanations of the differences between endonyms and exonyms. The tags will have to remain in place untill these issues have been adressed. (for the record I didn't place the tags myself)·Maunus·ƛ· 22:29, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

Newer, "polished" definitions of exonym and endonym by UN Working Group on Exonyms[edit]

One of the matters attended to by the working group was to polish the definitions of exonym and endonym. Not that we must or should use what anyone with the UN suggests for UN purposes, I include these here in an effort to help someone improve the article as the working group's definitions seem to me more accurate and far less awkward than what we currently have in the introduction.

Presumably, what is currently at http://www.zrc-sazu.si/ungegn/WGE/exonyms.htm are the new definitions:

Definitions agreed:

  • Endonym: Name of a geographical feature in an official or well-established language occurring in that area where the feature is located.
  • Exonym: Name used in a specific language for a geographical feature situated outside the area where that language is spoken, and differing in its form from the name used in an official or well-established language of that area where the geographical feature is located.

— RVJ (talk) 02:11, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing that out, Mr. RVJ. If there are UN definitions they should certainly take precedence. I would even quote them and cite the authority. Why let the editors do it when it has authoritatively been done? We are not pretending this is OUR work, we are using the authoritative works of society as a whole. Only the scholars get to contribute original works and they do it in their own books and journal articles. All we want to do is bring it to the general public. This article is going on my list but I may not get to it right away. It is in fact overwordy, often illogical, and lacks proper refs. If you can improve it (which should not be hard to do), go right ahead!Dave (talk) 12:48, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

The UN description of exonym lacks an inclusion of personal names. Has it been too sparingly quoted, or is that a flaw in the UN's work? SergeWoodzing (talk) 13:23, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

"Humans" as an endonym[edit]

A section could be made about how some peoples name themselves "men" or "free men", marking the rest as "non-human" or "slaves". Examples are Franks, Roma people, Thai, Inuit. --Error (talk) 23:45, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

Error, error. Many peoples call themselves some form of a term that originally meant "the people" with all the favorable implications that could be loaded on, such as "free", "kinsman", "countrymen" "our people" and so on. I do not believe there was originally any intent to mark others as non-free. Those are developments that happen when one people conquers another or holds captives or slaves from another. Then the big imaginations of the conquerors get going. It is customary I do believe for exploiters to denigrate the exploited, probably as part of some sort of natural conscience-salving. If there is anyone without a conscience we tag him/her as a genetic misfit and either lock him/her up for further study of execute him/her forthwith. It makes it a lot easier if that person can be shown to be subhuman. So to the 3rd reich the world was full of "swine", but why pick on them? The whole rest of the world does it too, including your culture, whatever that may be. We have all kinds of strange characters on our cultural stages depending on the circumstances. We don't want to become paranoid about this or exaggerate it or give it undue importance. I'm a free man not because anyone else whatever is a slave but because I assert my own freedom. America is the land of the free and the home of the brave not because anyone else is unfree or cowardly but because we choose to assert that value. Come on now, do you really think the writer of that national song wanted to underscore the unfreedom and unbravery that others might have? Similarly Deutschland ueber alles does not mean the Germans thought they were a superior race. It only meant you should put your country first. We don't want to be paranoid, Mr. error, we only want to be accurate and what you propose is not accurate. Be a good fellow and rethink it, will you? Thanks.Dave (talk) 12:42, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
Fittingly, as I recall, "Deutsch" comes from a word denoting "the people", or in essence, "us". "German" comes from Latin and suggests people outside the empire, or in essence, "them". That's kind of how it works. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:56, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
It's well-known in ethnology that self-designations of any kind of groups are commonly, if not usually, decidedly positive, even flattering, while designations of other groups are commonly pejorative. Therefore, the typical self-designation means something like "the original people" or even "the real people", or even something boastful (especially with warlike tribes), while terms given to outsiders, at least if they speak a clearly different language, tend to mean essentially something like "people who talk funny" or "stammerers". Insiders are perceived as perfectly normal and decent, foreigners as strange deviants with customs that are looked upon as suspect and inferior. (By the way, the "reclaiming" or reappropriation of pejorative exonyms is not a modern phenomenon, there are historical precedents such as the Geuzen.) Not wanting to delve into the whole "PC rewriting of history" discussion, but "primitive tribes" should not be romanticised. Of course, to give their ways as justification to indulge in racism yourself would be a severely flawed excuse. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:06, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Phonetically lacking[edit]

What is mainly wrong with this article, as I see it, is that it does not explain what is basic to the subject matter: that exonyms were created and then evolved due to a desire with a certain people that they should be able to communicate internally, in a reasonable manner, by using the phonetics of their own language even when talking about foreign places and persons (whose names they had heard). Examples: Gothenburg in English, for Swedish Göteborg, or Catherine in English, for Polish Katarzyna. SergeWoodzing (talk) 13:40, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

That explains many exonyms but not the most interesting ones. —Tamfang (talk) 04:05, 16 September 2010 (UTC)
"Interesting" being a matter of taste rather than a science, as I hope we agree. I am extremely interested in phonetics, ever an increasingly essential factor in enabling us all to communicate accurately the more inter-cultural we get. Exonyms and their effective use are a very important part of all that. SergeWoodzing (talk) 16:29, 16 September 2010 (UTC)
there is a fine line between poor pronunciation, mispronunciation and exonym, and that line is a matter of opinion, not "science". So just stick closely to your sources and attribute all opinions to them.
the problem is that the notion of "exonym" is a synchronic one. Swizerland is surely an exonym, but it originates as a rendition of a 16th century endonym. Etc.
I would agree that "true" exonyms, and arguably the more interesting ones, are the ones not derived from endonyms with the same meaning. These will still often be derived from endonyms, just from ones with different scopes. Examples are legion. Walha from Volcae, a tribal endonym, but not applied to the Volcae, who are long gone. Same with "Greeks", "Alemans", etc. etc. The topic is difficult, and it requires diachronic insight, but the article is doomed to failed if people don't come to terms with the concept being synchronic and subject to evolution. --dab (𒁳) 17:42, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Albanian exonyms[edit]

Readers of this page may be interested in Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Albanian exonyms, relating to one of a number of similar lists that were previously discussed in 2007 at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of European exonyms.--Arxiloxos (talk) 18:14, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Athens[edit]

English and French still use the plural form of the name, as Greek 'officially' did until katharevousa was finally abandoned in the 1970s. Pamour (talk) 08:12, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Chinese transliteration[edit]

Chinese Language is not written in alphabets, but in Hanzi. When writing Chinese city names in English, one needs transliteration or romanisation, where more than one standards exist. Hanyu Pinyin is currently the most popular, because the "PRC" makes it standard and replaces standards used by the Republic of China Government. Hence it is inappropriate to say Peking (北京 using Chinese Postal Map Romanization, officially used by the ROC) is an English exonym but Beijing (北京 using Hanyu Pinyin, officially used by the "PRC") is a Chinese endonym; both should be classified into the same class. Unmistakable English exonyms of Chinese cities include Canton (廣州, Guangzhou), Port Arthur (旅順, Lüshunkou). --Jabo-er (talk) 06:51, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

, often laudatory or self-aggrandizing[edit]

Removed this just now from the lede. Please! Where do opinionated judgements like this come from? Let's not engage in near mud slinging w/o sources! --SergeWoodzing (talk) 23:12, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

, often derogatory or offensive. ditto. --SergeWoodzing (talk) 23:14, 30 March 2013 (UTC)