Dublin is really Blackpool|
Bud Devo: How do countries get there names? No, not what the citizens of a country call themselves, but why we in the USA call Germany Germany when they call it Deutchland? And why do they call France Frankheit? and France uses a different name. Seems like I would be insulted if somebody changed my name just becuase they live in another country. I can see how names could be corrupted by the inablity to prounounce similar sounds, but that does not apply to the above examples.
Peter Spierings: Perhaps it is because I daydream a lot but I have always found placenames and languages quite fascinating although I am not an expert on these topics, far from it. For this reason I find your question most interesting.
I think the answer to your question can be found in studying languages, history and geography together with lots of speculation. As an example, take the name Bethlehem. In the classical Hebrew "b" means in, "eth" means place and "lehem" means bread. So, literally translated, Bethlehem means "In the place of bread". Here's where speculation comes in. In Hebrew there is no definite article (the) and there are no vowels. The meaning of words can vary widely according to which sounds are used to pronounce them and, of course, the context in which words are used. Translation from Hebrew into Greek or any other language such as English can be quite misleading, even hillarious. But that goes for the translation of any language into any other.
Another example. The first three words in the Old Testament are, generally, cited as: "In the beginning". Because of the definite article, many scholars strongly disagree about this particular translation. The three words are known to be enigmatic, a riddle. Furthermore, if God is infinite then why bother with "beginning" at all? Infinity cannot be defined and it is therefore senseless to speak of a "beginning" or "end".
Interesting, if one is that way inclined, but totally useless in every day living because people go on believing what they want to believe. Confused? Join the club.
In conclusion, my surname Spierings (which is Dutch and is the name of a little fish from the North Sea) is spelled and pronounced in a variety of ways. I don't mind what they call me as long as it is not "late for breakfast".
Terry O'Connor: Many of the names are mistranslations -- or mishearings -- of the original names. For instance Dublin in Ireland was originally the Gaelic Dubh Linn (Black Pool), and Peking was, presumably, the nearest that early European visitors could come to what is now translated as Beijing.
In the 1970s an Australian weekly newspaper, Nation Review, decided to give all city and country names in the original, so as not to give offence to the inhabitants. The experiment quickly lapsed, because of the number of incomprehensible (to us English speakers) names.
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