You booked a trip to Germany, so why does your passport stamp say Deutschland? Your name didn’t change from John to Johann, so why should the country’s name change? If you’ve ever wondered why countries go by different names in different languages, you can check out the Endonym map, that displays each country by their own name. Endonyms are a country’s name within its own borders (see: United States of America, Detschland, Estados Unidos Mexicanos), while exonyms are what it’s known by in other languages (a.k.a. Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika, Germany, Mexico). Many of them are similar-sounding cognates that are easier to say or spell in our native language (Brazil/Brasil or Italy/Italia), or some are descriptive and sometimes derogatory names for a place (see this literal Chinese translated map of Europe, like Italy/Meaning Big Profit).
Can you figure out some of the more difficult English exonyms with a hint?Elláda: You might recognize this name better from its ancient pronunciation: Hellas, named for a famously beautiful resident.
Hrvatska: Such a combination of consonants might be familiar from one of their famous islands: Hvar.
Miṣr: You’ll read this name now in Arabic, not hieroglyphics.
Suomi: The more commonly known name for this country was found on rune stones in nearby Sweden.
Zhōngguó: Our name derives from Persian and Sanskrit, and now also describes a certain kind of porcelain dishes.
*Answers: Greece, Croatia, Egypt, Finland, China
Flickr user GogoTheGogo has taken a photo of what looks like the end of a perfect day. The image features a solitary figure in silhouette walking through the grass against a fiery orange sky in Zagreb, Crotia. I love the warm colors, the way the light plays off the little puffs of cloud, and most of all, the anonymity of that lone figure who gets to take this magnificent scene in.
Taken any great photos on your own travels? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.
Croatia’s geography lends itself to love. The country is blessed with a scenic coastline along the Adriatic Sea – a stretch of land that is dotted with picturesque rocky islands and scenic beach towns like Dubrovnik and Hvar. Not surprisingly, Croatia has long attracted tourists and couples – during the summer months, it’s the perfect spot for laying on the beach, island-hopping and plenty of outdoor fun.
According to the Daily Mail, Croatia’s coast is also home to another unintentionally romantic destination – a heart-shaped island recently highlighted on Google Maps. Though the island is uninhabited, tourists have recently caught on and have been clamoring for access. The island’s owners, overwhelmed by requests to visit, have renamed the small landmass as “Lover’s Island” to capitalize on the demand. I guess the original name, Galesnjak, didn’t exactly roll off the tongue…
As romantic as it may sound to head off to this remote heart-shaped landmass, take note – the island has no buildings and no access to fresh water. February temperatures are also hovering in the high 30’s. Still for some, access to one of the world’s more remote destinations (and with a theme to boot!) is powerful motivation. I guess when it comes to love, emotion sometimes trumps proper logic.