How Do You Say Mexico In German?

“Is this the train to Germany?” asked Frankie, a study-abroad student, to the train conductor.  “Ya! Deutschland!” replied the man, nodding.  “So… not Germany?” Frankie attempted to confirm.  The man shook his head.  He then pointed to the train.  “Deutschland!” he said, matter-of-factly.

This thought-provoking scenario was a hypothetical, but I bet you know what would’ve happened next.  Little Frankie spent the next 20 minutes asking people the same question until someone finally informed him that Deutschland is what the Germans call Germany.

So riddle me this – Why do English-speaking people not call it Deutschland?  Surely the Germans know the name of their own country better than anyone else.  And, for the record, this is not an isolated incident.  In Italian, the cities of Venice, Rome and Florence are actually called Venezia, Roma, and Firenze, respectively.  So why are we calling it Rome? It’s not like it’s easier to pronounce!  Am I crazy here?

I suppose I could understand having an alternative name if it is directly translatable.  Like the United States.  United and states are both words in other languages, so I can understand calling it “Los Estados Unidos” in Spanish.  But last I checked, Germany cannot be translated into anything…. it is a proper noun in its purest form.


Special Thanks To Buzz Bambrook for having a strong understanding of intricacies of world languages.

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