why do we call it Japan?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeremy Illingworth, Nov 24, 2001.

  1. Jeremy Illingworth

    Jeremy Illingworth Supporting Actor

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    Why do we call Japan by that name? Its not what they call it; did somebody just make it up and that's what we use? Who and why? They're nice enough to call my country by its name.

    And I don't think Germans call their country Germany.

    jeremy
     
  2. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    Bruce Wayne: It's Japanese.
    Knox: How do you know?
    Bruce Wayne: 'Cause I bought it in Japan...
    What do the Japanese call Japan? I always thought it was Japan. And the same with Germany. Are we being taught poor geography in school?
     
  3. Chris Maynard

    Chris Maynard Supporting Actor

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    I don't know the answer to Japan but people in Germany call their country "Deutschland".
     
  4. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    Japan- Nippon

    Germany- Deutschland

    I don't know why. Perhaps for Germany, it is the area that the English referred to when speaking of the Germanic people (middle ages?). But where did THAT come from?

    Interesting.

    Todd
     
  5. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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    What about Ireland? Isn't it Irie or something like that (originally)?
     
  6. MikeM

    MikeM Screenwriter

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    Here's your answer:
    The Chinese themselves took to calling Japan by the name that the Japanese had invented, and it is from the Chinese version of the name that English Japan is ultimately derived. In Mandarin Chinese, one of the forms of Chinese to develop from Middle Chinese, the phrase evolved to Rìbnguó, an early form of which was recorded by Marco Polo as Chipangu, which he would have pronounced as (ch-pän-g) or (sh-pän-g). The early Mandarin word was borrowed into Malay as Japang, which was encountered by Portuguese traders in Moluccas in the 16th century. These traders may have been the ones to bring the word to Europe; it is first recorded in English in 1577, spelled Giapan.
    For the complete info, check here.
     
  7. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Jeremy,

    Excellent post! I was thinking about the same type of thing just a few days ago, and planned to post about it here. I don't really care WHY we call about half the countries on the planet by the WRONG name-- rather I'm just wondering why it continues?

    I'm wondering why there hasn't been a movement to call countries by their actual names!

    -Vince
     
  8. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

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    Yeah, Vince. I think it should be a movement that sweeps across America . . . uhh . . . errr, I mean the United States of America.[​IMG]
     
  9. Jeremy Illingworth

    Jeremy Illingworth Supporting Actor

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    The Japanese call it Nihon, I meant to say that in my first post. How many 'wrong' country names can we come up with?

    jeremy
     
  10. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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  11. Darren Davis

    Darren Davis Stunt Coordinator

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    very cool post. And cool answer MikeM. Etymology is a pretty cool thing (I think that's what the study of words is called).
     
  12. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Yeah Mike, that was fantastic.
    I'd have a little bit of trouble pronouncing some of the native country names, but I am reminded of when a few years back mainland China decided to give their names new spellings.
    P.S. What ever happened to Burma and Siam? [​IMG]
     
  13. Adil M

    Adil M Supporting Actor

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    What about Holland? Ha, pissing off some Hollish people now.
     
  14. Adam Barratt

    Adam Barratt Cinematographer

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    Burma and Siam? And Abyssinia, Basutoland, the Belgian Congo, Ceylon, Persia, East Pakistan and the Ellice Islands? Countries' names are changed quite regularly depending on the political climate.

    Changing the names we use for countries might cause some short-term confusion, but it's certainly not impossible. Exactly what the benefits might be I couldn't say.

    Many countries (including my own) have managed metric conversion, which is far from an impossible task.

    Adam
     
  15. Ugo Scarlata

    Ugo Scarlata Stunt Coordinator

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  16. brian a

    brian a Second Unit

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    Along the same lines:

    I've been wondering why followers of Islam are called muslim? All of the others I can think of seem to be derived from the name of the religion (at least phonetically)

    brianca
     
  17. MikeM

    MikeM Screenwriter

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    Well, a movement to call countries by their actual names would be a bit difficult to say the least. Even in Japanese, "Japan" is called either "Nippon" or "Nihon". Either is correct, but in certain cases, one is more appropriate than the other, usually due mostly to repetition of sounds requiring the use of one or the other.
    And just to let you know this isn't an American or English problem exclusively. In Japanese, "Germany" is called simply "Doitsu" (which is short for "Deutschland"). Japanese often times chops off exceedingly long foreign "loan words" in Katakana to make them easier to pronounce. So English isn't the only language probably pissing people off! [​IMG]
     
  18. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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    Is the reason we don't call Germany Deutchland because we call people from the Netherlands Dutch?
     
  19. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Here's one that's always bothered me.

    The tallest mountain on Earth, Chomo-Lungma, is known to most of us by the last name of a Welsh surveyer.

    Jim
     
  20. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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