friendly islands
December 5, 2009, 12:57 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: ,

Often the names we know places by is nothing like the names the locals use.  In Italian, it’s not Florence, but Firenze, not Naples but Napoli, not Padua but Padova, not Venice but Venezia, not Milan but Milano, not Genoa but Genova.  To the Danes it’s not Copenhagen but Kobenhavn (pronounced Koopen-howen).  To the Yugoslavians it’s not Belgrade but Beograd.  To the Russians it’s not Moscow but Moskva.  And to the Dutch it’s not The Hague but Den Haag.  The names of countries are even more at variance with their English versions.  Try covering up the left-hand column below and seeing how many you can guess.

Greece – Ellinki Dimokratia

Finland – Suomen Tasavalta

Hungary – Magyar Nepkoztarasag

Albania – Shqiperi

Japan – Nihon

Greenland – Kalatdlit Nunat

Jordan – Al Mamlaka al Urduniya al Hashemiyah

South Korea – Han Kook

North Korea – Chosun Minchu-chui Immin Kongwhaguk

Morocco – al-Mamlaka al-Maghrebia

China – Zhonghua Renmin Gonghe Guo

Sweden – Konungariket Sverige

Tonga – Friendly Islands

~from The Mother Tongue, Bill Bryson, Penguin 2009

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