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What is the root for the "an" ending in names of central asian countries?


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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   Luc

Luc

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Posted October 01 2001 - 01:10 PM

Does anyone know what is the root for the "an" ending in names of Middle East and central asian countries?

Afghanistan
Pakistan
Tajikistan
Kyrgyzstan
Iran
Uzbekistan
Turkmenistan
Oman
Jordan
....more?

Was it named by some common language or something. Jordan, Iran and Oman are the only ones without the "tan" ending but nevertheless end in "an."

#2 of 2 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted October 01 2001 - 01:42 PM

The common feature of these names is not "an", but "stan", which means something like "the land of." (Similar to the "dy" ending in French placenames like Normandy - the land of the Normans or Northmen - and Picardy, or Finland - Finn's land - and Denmark, Mark - land of fief - of the Danes.)

Oman, Iran and Jordan don't belong on this list because they don't share the common "stan" ending, and their place names are of a different origin, or even several origins. I'm not sure that all three of those countries share a linguistic tradition, whereas the central asian "stans" do. (Iran is not an Arabic country, its language being Persian.)

Not surprisingly the population of Tajikistan is largely from an ethnic group called the Tajiks, that of Uzbekistan mostly made up of Uzbeks and Turkmenistan is mostly populated by people of Turkomen extraction.

Regards,

Joe