Talk:List of country-name etymologies

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Archived: Do check there for previous conversation regarding contentious etymologies[edit]

Minds think alike, I guess. I started archiving last night and then came in and User: Wwoods had already moved it. Went ahead and kept mine, first from the time spent, second because a country-organized archive is much more useful than one split into several warring, jumbled screeds (WP:REFACTOR). User: Wwoods left a number of items such as an old discussion of Romania and a current discussion of Macedonia on this page, but simply moved them to archive since they were both finished discussions (at least until Wiki's other Macedonian policies change, see WP:LOCALCONSENSUS). — LlywelynII 23:22, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Recurring Themes[edit]

Going through the archives, it looks like there are a few recurring themes that could do with mentioning. — LlywelynII 04:15, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

This is a list of COUNTRY-name etymologies[edit]

I'll be pruning the page in the next day or two, but there has been an ongoing discussion for something like six years about the inclusion of non-national etymologies on this page. There is room for argument about historical nations such as England or Wales. There's very little for things like the Aland Islands.

User:Tridesch was quite rude, but on this point he wasn't wrong. Apart from the violation of WP:RELEVANCE, see the archive for the WP:CONSENSUS formed, e.g. the discussion of Baker Island. The very few arguments advocated in favor of the inclusion of regions (viz. the difficulty of finding the Canadian provinces' etymologies anywhere else) were vitiated by the creation of List of etymologies of country subdivision names. Please include subnational entities there; simply include the etymology on the area's own page; or begin a requested move to a different namespace such as list of geographical etymologies. — LlywelynII 23:47, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

No personal attacks[edit]

Tridesch sometimes went beyond the colorful and into the personal. Remember to comment on the content and theories, not the person. Personal attacks hurt the community and the work. Naturally, vandalism is vandalism, but for the most part assume WP:GOODFAITH. — LlywelynII 04:15, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Include reliable sources for the etymologies[edit]

A lot of the attacks and arguments could be dealt with by citing reliable sources. If we don't know or the etymology is disputed, we can make a note of that; even in the case of "Russia", where the Soviet etymology is heavily discounted by objective scholarship outside the country, the alternate theory can, even should, be noted.

If you have no cites to include, include the {{fact}} template or (better yet) simply mention it here on the talk page and ask for other editors to help out with sourcing your information. — LlywelynII 04:15, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Try to stick with what we know[edit]

For example: Albania certainly goes back to Greek meaning "land of the Albanians". Their name may derive from a local endonym, an Illyrian tribe, the Latin for "white", a Proto-Indo-European root for "white", or another PIE word for "hill".

We should lead with "land of Albanians" or "unknown" and only then explain the different theories; we should not lead with our own pet theory (WP:OWN). Even if one or two sources (and especially sources with known agendas) state their cases as if they had settled the issue, we should not list those findings as fact if significant reasonable disagreement still exists (WP:NPOV). — LlywelynII 00:28, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Individual Entries[edit]

Azerbaijan[edit]

Right now, we've got

Aturpat own name is the Old Persian for "protected by atar", the holy fire of Zoroastrianism.<ref name="Mino11">Minorsky, V. "[http://www.encislam.brill.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_COM-0016 Ādharbaydjān (Azarbāydjān)]" in ''Encyclopaedia of Islam.'' E.J. Brill (Leiden), 2007.</ref>

but this article gives "Âtarepâta" and "keeper of the fire. Anyone have some more reliable sources about that variant than Livius? — LlywelynII 11:19, 17 September 2011 (UTC)


Botswana[edit]

Well, this is annoying.

Seem to have well-reasoned, informed information from non-REL sources. This site on African languages has this page about place names in South Africa. The native name for Pretoria is apparently quite similar to the Batswana, but there's no further information about whether they might be related or the British might have picked up the name. Further, even within the Setswana language, these guys think tshwana means the opposite of what Livingstone took it to be ("not the same"). There's a link to a Professor claiming tswana meant "black cow" in Setswana and was involved in rain ceremonies, but it's dead and the Setswana dictionary I can access only gives "to leave" as a homophone for tswana.

This poster on the Botswanan government forum suggests it's a diminutive of a Kalanga word for southerner (which is somehow pejorative, but why isn't explained.) Same guy here has a really interesting narrative of the Batswana's 19th century history as British-backed rebels against the Kalanga and this book does back the Kalanga calling them barwa, but doesn't go into detail or defend the diminutive angle.

So in both cases, not enough to publish. Any one got any better leads on this? or reasons why they're wrong? — LlywelynII 10:15, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Grr... This article clears some of it up:
this word [Basarwa] is derived from the proto-Bantu root *-twa, which presumably referred to indigenous inhabitants originally encountered by speakers of proto-Bantu; see M. Guthrie, Comparative Bantu (Ridgewood NJ, Gregg International Publishers, 1970), vol.4, p. 122. This root also has the apparently secondarily acquired connotation, 'member of neighbouring despised tribe'. Setawana elides the root as rwa; with the plural prefix, ba- (singular, mo-) designating the noun class pertaining to humans, this becomes Barwa, the original form of the term which is generally rendered 'Bushmen' in English but in Setswana refers to 'people of the south'; see T. Brown, Setswana-English Dictionary (Braamfontein RSA, Pula Press, 1979 [first published 1875]), p. 16. The current form, Basarwa, does not occur in the nineteenth century and begins to appear only in the 1960s. A related form, Masarwa, was commonly used from the early nineteenth century or perhaps somewhat earlier to denote 'Bushmen of the Kalahari' and later 'of the Bechuanaland Protectorate' (Brown, Dictionary, p. 183). This form employs the plural noun prefix ma- (singular, le-) which is applied to non-Tswana and to any persons of undesirable characteristics or social inferiority; see D. Cole, An Introduction to Tswana Grammar (Cape Town, Longman, 1975), p. 81. This term appears to carry the secondarily acquired meaning, 'despised neighbouring tribe'. Masarwa is still often heard in rural Botswana even though its use is discouraged by government...
which explains the pejorative and even how it didn't start that way, but doesn't mention Kalanga or Ikalanga diminutives and how they differ from Setswana. — LlywelynII 10:26, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Burma/Myanmar[edit]

Fixed the previous situation where a well-meaning editor hadn't paid attention to his tags. Using {{flag|Myanmar}} produces "Burma", so we had text at #B Burma referring people to see Burma and #M Myanmar listed as a mis-filed Burma.

Anyway, there are very good arguments on both sides of this, but WP:LOCALCONSENSUS prescribes we shouldn't move our names around until Burma & co. move theirs, so if you feel strongly on the topic, let yourself be heard over there (WT:TITLE seems another popular spot, but honestly, Burma's probably the better go here). — LlywelynII 12:14, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

China[edit]

User Kauffner restored previously removed text

Often said to derive from Qin (221 BC - 206 BC), although usage pre-dates this dynasty.<ref name="Liu">Liu, Lydia He, ''The clash of empires'', p. 77.</ref><ref name="GeoWade">Wade, Geoff. "[http://www.sino-platonic.org/complete/spp188_yelang_china.pdf The Polity of Yelang and the Origin of the Name 'China']." ''Sino-Platonic Papers'', No. 188. May 2009.</ref>

in place of correct and sourced

It is unclear whether the Sanskrit derives from the Qin Dynasty, the earlier State of Qin, or the endonym zina employed by the Yelang kingdom in Guizhou.<ref name="GeoWade">Wade, Geoff. "[http://www.sino-platonic.org/complete/spp188_yelang_china.pdf The Polity of Yelang and the Origin of the Name 'China']." ''Sino-Platonic Papers'', No. 188. May 2009.</ref>

First, there was no reason given to remove the sourced Yelang etymology.

Second, it was inappropriate to leave the GeoWade source as though it supported the restored text, which it does not.

Third, Liu is in fact a source, but he is also materially incorrect. Qin state existed as early as the 8th century BC, and there is no Indian source invoking the name China predating the 4th or 5th century BC (see Chinas). China in the Mahābhārata (citing no sources) links China with Indian texts claimed to predate "the first millennium BC", but as the actual Mahabharata page explains there are no passages thought to predate even 400 BC and the actual text wasn't finalized until around AD 400. Until some new archive is discovered to change these facts, the text and source depreciating a possible Qin origin should be removed. — LlywelynII 08:49, 21 Se ptember 2011 (UTC)

An especially bizarre edit since User:Kauffner presumably knows all this (except for the fact Qin was plenty notable prior to 400 BC and the closest division of China towards the Indians). — LlywelynII 08:56, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Hong Kong[edit]

Inasmuch as this is not now and never has been a country, doesn't go here but at list of etymologies of country subdivision names, under China or the UK. Ditto Macao (Portugal). — LlywelynII 20:58, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Oman[edit]

The entry cites a Roman historian named "Yalainous" and birth and death dates (23-79 AD). The only problem is that there's never been a Roman historian by that name -- it doesn't even look like a Roman name (certainly Latin didn't use the letter Y in that way). A little Google searching on the name only comes up with references to the name of Oman, many of which appear to be derived from this article. The reference given is to an Arabic-language book, so it's possible that the name has been transcribed from Latin into Arabic and then back again into Latin letters, but I can't figure out who it might be. Any guesses? --Jfruh (talk) 19:12, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

It's almost certainly an Arabic transcription, but of the major historians the only one that even looks vaguely similar is Velleius. It's worth simply removing, pending some correct and sourced version of the name. — LlywelynII 20:45, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
Ah... should've used the date instead of the name. They meant Pliny the Elder. — LlywelynII 20:47, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

Vietnam[edit]

This section has been rewritten so that the focus is disproportionately on China, as if Vietnamese had nothing to do with the name of their own country. If axes, tribes in the northeast, and the Yue Kingdom were written using the same Chinese character, perhaps it is because the words for these things sounded similar. The Yue Kingdom spoke a non-Sinitic language, so the name of the kingdom could not have been derived from any Chinese word. Combining various lines of speculation into a unified of theory of origin is a WP:SYNTHESIS. The name "Vietnam" originated with poet Nguyen Binh Khiem in the 16th century, was popular for several hundred years, and then disappeared. It was revived in modern times by Phan Boi Chau, the VNQDD, and the Yen Bai mutiny. But the way the section is written now, some Chinese emperor gets the credit. Moreover, this section should use Vietnamese spellings, Bach Viet and Nam Viet as opposed to Baiyue and Nanyue. That's the way scholars who write about Vietnam do it. Kauffner (talk) 12:08, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Three bars, let's try to keep this organized. =)
Vietnamese didn't have anything to do with the name of their own country when it was being run by a renegade Qin Dynasty general, and it's silly to write the article as if it were. The Viet name came from that Chinese state and the etymology of the Chinese character is highly topical.
As for the connection of the modern name with the previous rogue Qin state, see the linked articles if not the original sources. The nation specifically wanted to name itself Nanviet/Nanyue and got shot down by the Chinese. — LlywelynII 12:16, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
This is quite a demeaning view of Vietnam and its history. But I don't want to get hung up on that. Meachum, the source you cite, merely discusses the various uses of the Viet/Yue character and does not connect them together into a theory of the kind that is currently given in the article. We can just say that "Viet" is a shortened form of Bach Viet/Baiyue. If readers want to know more they can click the link and go to the Baiyue article. Kauffner (talk) 06:03, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
It's not the tiniest bit demeaning, although it does eschew the kind of propaganda that would assume that a Hebeinese in the service of Qin was reading his hanzi at his Cantonese capital in modern Vietnamese. The Vietnamese is worthwhile to include for its presence in modern scholarship, but it's subsidiary to the Chinese (Of course, if the Old Chinese names can be sourced, they're preferable to pinyin, and if you can show the Vietnamese names for Zhao Tuo's Nanyue are the common names in English scholarship—of those states, not incidental mentions in Vietnamese scholarship—and get their pages moved, we can change the order of the names here).
In any case, the Baiyue didn't all happen to share the same endonym that got transcribed into Chinese in a confusing manner: it was a catch-all Chinese exonym (for dozens of states, not just two) arising from the exiles &/or pretenders from Yue who happened to run some of them. That state of Yue was precisely the sourced Chinese state. It is quite arguable the tribe to the northwest was distinct and that character got applied to Yue by sound-loan. Feel free to find someone who will source that argument. In the meantime, they are in fact the same character; and while that has little to do with Vietnam per se, it's quite relevant to what we're able to reconstruct about its etymology.
[Edit: Added already implicit "seems to have" to soften it a bit from source. Generally try to avoid needless weasel words, but you're right it's quite reasonable Yue would've picked it up by sound-loan and the current record can't be claimed to be completely exhaustive.] — LlywelynII 13:44, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I have a source: "Places as well as people were nonsinitically named; Wú and Yuè each originally had a two-syllable designation; Wú was “Gōu Wú” and Yuè was “Yú Yuè.” These designations were not just place names; they meant something in the Yuè language." [1] Notice: "nonsinitically named", i.e. not derived from an earlier Chinese name for something else. Is 美国 the beautiful country, or 法国 the legal country? What this author is suggesting is a pretty standard method for rendering non-Chinese words into Chinese. Kauffner (talk) 00:44, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Most of the article disagrees with you and simply points to the Chinese having adapted a word for the state of Yue—which by no means extended thousands of miles south into Vietnam,—but there is something it says that's not good enough but points in the right direction.
We're losing track of the big picture. Your original complaint was that Vietnamese scholarship called a Chinese state run by a rogue Chinese general from China by its Vietnamese names. You felt we should, too. That's just silly and remains silly. Again, unless (for example) the preponderance of research on the Baiyue in English is being done using its Vietnamese names, such that their common English name has changed. I think that's doubtful, but if so you can argue that in a move proposal on those pages.
On the other hand, if you can find sources, there are two things the entry could use. The first is something mentioned by your source. (And b/t/b thank you for pointing out that journal to me. The article on PIE cognates in Old Chinese was interesting.) That's that the Chinese name for the Ou clans of the Baiyue were likely cognate with proto-Vietnamese Au and rooted in Proto-Austro-Asian. As a separate name for the Vietnamese people, you could include that as an historic name for at least some northern areas of the country.
The second is that it was a heavily Sinified northern state whose Old Chinese name was Wjat, but if you could find some further Austro-Asian root from which the Old Chinese name was derived, absolutely you should include that as well.
Of course, if you have nationalistic or folk Vietnamese sources, those alternate theories are usually relevant as well. — LlywelynII 13:42, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Noticed you simply went ahead and gutted the entry again. Remember to keep it on the talk page before you go simply removing pertinent sourced details. Also, maintain formatting consistent with the rest of the page: Annam is a separate, previous name; start the entry with the etymology, not a digression.
As for your additions, it's fine to note that the present name became official in 1945, but (a) Yue was in existence long before the Baiyue: Vietnam's Yue is not a shortened version of anything, regardless of their own origin myths involving divine snake children &c.; (b) even if it were, it's not derived from the modern Vietnamese transliteration – it's derived from the tribal group's name itself, first recorded in... the Chinese you keep blanking from the entry. — LlywelynII 22:07, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
If you could write about this issue without making rude remarks about Vietnam, someone might take what you have to say seriously. When Chinese characters are used in a Vietnamese context, is a common practice to transcribed them according to Vietnamese orthography, i.e. Viet as opposed to Yue. In my opinion, the characters used to write "Vietnam" were chosen for purely phonetic reasons, like 法国 (France) or 美国 (America). So besides being WP:SYNTHESIS, the theories concerning axe pictograms and so forth are also a distraction. Kauffner (talk) 12:17, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

China[edit]

  • The section on "China" was recently rewritten and sourced to a book published in the 19th century. Any modern dictionary will tell you that this word is derived from Medieval Persian Chīnī.[2][3] As a name for the country, it first appears in a 1516 account by Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa. Barbosa's account suggests that the word was already familiar as a name for porcelain, presumably because traders referred to this product by the Persian word.
  • On another note, the claim that Marco Polo used "Chin" only to mean the South China Sea is not quite true, although I think it is unlikely that the term "China" originates with Polo. Here is Henry Yule's translation: "You must know the Sea in which lie the Islands of those parts is called the SEA OF CHIN, which is as much as to say 'The Sea over against Manzi.' For, in the language of those Isles, when they say Chin, 'tis Manzi they mean." ("Manzi" was Polo's name for South China.) Kauffner (talk) 06:37, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

Persia and Uajemi (Iran)[edit]

Can someone provide a reliable source for theses sections?:

  • A common Hellenic folk-etymology derives "Persia" from "Land of Perseus". A source for Persia = Land of Perseus.
  • I think Uajemi section is WP:OR. Currently has "citation needed" template. --Zyma (talk) 19:52, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

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Austria[edit]

Hello, Wikipedia community & experts:

Would anyone please explain to me HOW COME that (in above-referenced section-under entry of: Austria), it offers the following explanation as per country's etymology: "Eastern March" whereas, Wikitionary offers the explanation of: Eastern Realm, as to the meaning of this country's name...!

I would also like to suggest investigation of the fact that the word: Reich (as in Österreich-the German name of the country of Austria) deriving from &/or being associated with the word: Rich, in German (as in the name of other world countries/areas-such as: Costa Rica=The Rich Coast & Puerto Rico-The Rich Port, in Spanish)-which will only leave the conundrum of what the meaning of the 1st part (Öster) of this country's name is & how it corresponds/relates (in terms of meaning) to the last part...!AK63 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 07:17, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Iceland[edit]

Hello,

As per my search (&, conforming/in accordance with other country entries), you are missing the Icelandic-language endonym for the name of the country (ˈistlant]-as per: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceland with the meaning of: the Land of Ice! — Preceding unsigned comment added by AK63 (talkcontribs) 08:17, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Indonesia/Malasia[edit]

Hello,

Aren't the above-named/referenced countries a mixture of their indigenous population (or prevalent/greatest-in-number representative clan/tribe) & the name of the continent: Asia???AK63 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 08:35, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Portugal[edit]

Hello,

Some would argue that the name of the country was given to it by its MOORISH conquerors-as, in Arabic, the word: برتقال=Burtugal means: an orange (possibly denoting/representing to them the vast orange crops in Portugal's orchards?!?). AK63 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 09:04, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Saudi Arabia[edit]

Hello,

the eponymic for the Arab Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia [المملكة العربية السعودية=Al Mamlakah Al Arabiyah A-SaUdiyyah], or, as more commonlu/populatly known in colloquial terms as: [Saudia=Saudiyah], is missing!AK63 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 09:22, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Turkey[edit]

Hello,

The missing part is the Turkish eponymic spelling of the country: Türkiye AK63 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 09:32, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Spain[edit]

Hello,

The country's eponymic spelling: España [espanya] is missing AK63 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 09:34, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

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