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Why is Germany called “Germany”?


Unbelievably important question! We don’t even know why we didn’t talk about it before. The Germans call their country Deutschland, we call it Germany, and its inhabitants are Germans. Those are completely different words. Why is that?


The whole national idea of the Germans was built on their language. That is why we say with certainty that the word “Deutschland” is primarily a country that unites all those who speak “Deutsch” (“German”). Having rewound the history of Europe by one and a half thousand years ago, we will enter the Frankish state. It is a conventional name, the territory was inhabited by the Franks, who were part of the Germanic tribes. It existed until the 11th century, and then split into 3 separate kingdoms: West Frank (later France), East Frank (later Germany) and the Middle Kingdom (soon split into Italy, Provence and Lorraine).


Those who continued to talk in the original German language began to call “theoda”, which in German meant “people”/”people”, with the Latin prefix “-iscus” – “Theodiscus”. This was the name of the Germans, who continued to speak German, as opposed to those who began to speak Latin. The word “Germans” itself seems to be of Celtic origin, either from gair (“neighbor”) or gairm (“battle cry”). Word for word, in the literary German “theoda” (people), began to look like this: “teutsch”. In Old Upper German “diutsch”, and in Lower German “düdesch”. So the origin of the name is quite banal. “Deutschland” is “country of people”/ “country of people”.

Accordingly, we call the country Germany because it is the country of the Germans who have preserved the Germanic language.


That leaves one unsolved mystery. Where did the word “Germans” and “German language” come from? The Slavs in ancient times called all Western Europeans Germans. It is believed that this word comes from the word “mute” (we do not speak it). The country itself is even called differently by different Eastern Europeans: in Russian “Germany”, in Ukrainian “Nimechchina”, in Latvian “Vācija” and in Lithuanian “Vokietija”. Some call the Germans Saxons, for example, in Finnish it is called “Saksamaa”. In general, the idea is clear, the list can be continued for a long time.
They say that still in deaf villages Germans can call French, English or any other natives of Western Europe: “we don’t say it’s the Germans”.

But in the Germans themselves everything is simple and logical, as always: country – Deutschland, language – Deutsch, inhabitant – Deutsche.

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