Endonyms and exonyms

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Endonyms and exonyms

Post by Kuhron » 10 Nov 2012 00:43

Similar to this thread.

I'm fascinated by how some natlangs got their names and am wondering what strategies people use to name their conlangs. This may also fit into the conworlds section for those who have cultural interaction between their peoples.

The best ones are those with a large discrepancy between the endonym and exonym.
Euskara is referred to as Basque, due to a name that was given to them by a traveler.
Hangugeo is Korean and Zhongwen is Chinese, due to the names of past dynasties.
Burushaski is the name of the people, with the Slavic suffix for a language.
Deutsch (from teuta) is German (and Allemande and Nemetski) because of different tribes' names.

Who has an example of this? What is the reason for each name?

I have yet to do anything like this. I typically choose a pretty much random name for the language, use it as an exonym, and then import it into the language as an endonym.
'Útel has the exonym WTL, Tahol has Daool, Seladyn has Seldry.

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Re: Endonyms and exonyms

Post by Creyeditor » 10 Nov 2012 04:11

I can just expand the explanations abour german (and low german).
The English name "german" is from the latin name for the whole northern europe.
The romance terms "allemande, ..." are taken from a tribe in western germany.
"Nemetski" comes from a slavic word for "silent", because germans where the most eastern people who did not speak a slavic language.
"Deutsch" comes from a latin exonym, taken from the german word for "folk". So german has no real "endonym", which developed from a pure german root.
Low German is a calque on "Plattdeutsch", which means "flat german" in High German, but which meant "understandable german" in the time it was coined. It is called "nedersaksisch" in Dutch, on the one hand because it developed out of Old Saxon, on the other hand, because "Saksisch" is another, tribe related name for ther German language.

In my moderate language project, all four languages are named after the landscape the speakers live in "Tslure Thujekatsoth" for example means "language of the forest" and "Oulth Irnai" means "language of the grassland".
"Pøplish" in fact has adopted an exonym as the language name (just because I did not yet translate "the language of the people with the expressive name" into pøplish)
"Omlűt", the endonym of my hatelang, is in fact a play of words on the english pronunciation of the german word "Umlaut", but in "Omlűt" it does mean, "you and me, we converse with each other".
"Kobardon" is a boring endonym, a random word just meaning "This language of mine/ this language of ours"
"Vrlungla" is a simlar random word meaning "the language"
"Mamambam" again "the language"
"K'úk'uts'" is just a random word with no meaning at all.
My first language had no name, but a symbol, which loooked like this turned upside down.
Image Nowadays I call it "Agrigropiapicz", that's their name for their dictonary.
The auxlang "Neo-Simikaka" has it's name from the simplification of the german exonym "Allerweltssprache"(engl: language of the whole world) -> "Alirwiltsmraki" -> "Smraki" -> "Simikaka". Again, a very old language of mine.
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Re: Endonyms and exonyms

Post by Ollock » 10 Nov 2012 06:14

Kuhron wrote:Hangugeo is Korean and Zhongwen is Chinese, due to the names of past dynasties.
I was about to explain to you where 中文 came from when I realized you have to be talking about the English terms "China" and "Chinese", which some do in fact think derives from the Qin dynasty (though I don't think etymologists are all that certain about it). In fact, Mandarin Chinese has a number of endonyms that are instructive of its history:

官话 guan1hua4 "officialspeak" -- because of its use in the later dynasties as the spoken language of the elite. (A similar motivation might be behind calling it "Mandarin", which derives from a term used to refer to Chinese imperial officials.) -- now a fairly archaic name
普通话 pu3tong1hua4 "common speech" -- a current name used in the mainland. Makes sense given its current and historic status as a lingua franca.
汉语 han4yu3 "Han language" -- ties it to the Han ethnic group, which essentially makes up all non-Muslim Sinitic-speakers. The term 汉 han4 is itself from a dynastic name -- the Han and Tang dynasties are seen as the height of Chinese civilization, so modern Chinese often refer to themselves by the names of one or the other dynasty.
国语 guo2yu3 "national language" -- coined by the KMT as they heavily promoted Mandarin. The term is still use in Taiwan, but pretty much left the mainland with the KMT.
中文 zhong1wen2, 中语 zhong1yu3, 中国话 zhong1guo2hua4 -- All translatable as "Chinese language" by reanalysis of 中 "middle, center" as China via 中国 zhong1guo2 (or, in the last case, just use of 中国). The first is most common, and many Chinese will interpret the 文 wen2 as meaning that term is exclusively for writing, and thus (according to folk linguistic beliefs) applies to all Sinitic languages, but in practice people don't always use it that way.
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Re: Endonyms and exonyms

Post by ol bofosh » 10 Nov 2012 08:31

I read somewhere on Wikipedia that "Wales" and "Welsh" come from an Old English word for foreign or foreigner. Oh, here it is.

:con: Alahithian is the anglicisation if ol alahith, the name for Alahithian in Alahithian. alahith means "language", and ol makes it a proper noun, so literally The Language.

:esp: alahitiano
:fra: alahiten
:cat: alahitià
:deu: Alahitisch
:nld: Alahithisch
:gla: Alaithitianach
cornish: Alahithek

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Re: Endonyms and exonyms

Post by Ànradh » 10 Nov 2012 13:59

'Iriex' is the nominative singular of 'tongue, leaf or language' in Iriex.
'Mex' is the nominative singular of 'kinsman' in Iriex.
'Tóan' is merely a Mex bastardisation of 'Dvoen'.

Dvoen, the name of both the language and people, means 'of Dvoti', Dvoti meaning 'white place' in refference to the snow.
Íríéx and Méx are just the Dvoen spellings of the respective Iriex names.
Sin ar Pàrras agus nì sinne mar a thogras sinn. Choisinn sinn e agus ’s urrainn dhuinn ga loisgeadh.

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Re: Endonyms and exonyms

Post by Curlyjimsam » 10 Nov 2012 15:57

For many of my languages I haven't actually worked out an endonym; for those that I have, it tends to be related to the exonym. "Viksen" in Viksen is viks-ba, "viks" being the common element to the name of the people, country, language etc. and "ba" being used to derive names of languages from such elements. The Greater Atlian name of Greater Atlian is literally "the greater Atlian language", though the element "all-" "Atlian" was originally an exonym, being derived from Naktic parini atolus "eastern league".
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Re: Endonyms and exonyms

Post by Chagen » 13 Nov 2012 17:31

I haven't thought about this much for my conlangs, but for Pazmat, it refers to its sister language Sefir by the term "Wabiqyamat", literally "Wabiqya-speech", since Sefir is spoken in the province of Wabiqqya. "Sefir" means "human" in Sefir, and it has a Pazmat cognate with "Sīper", which means "warrior" in that language.
Nūdenku waga honji ma naku honyasi ne ika-ika ichamase!
female-appearance=despite boy-voice=PAT hold boy-youth=TOP very be.cute-3PL
Honyasi zō honyasi ma naidasu.
boy-youth=AGT boy-youth=PAT love.romantically-3S

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Re: Endonyms and exonyms

Post by Ossicone » 13 Nov 2012 17:49

I'm generally pretty lazy when it come to naming my langs and people.

Inyauk means "people."

Same with Amjati.

I took a different tact with Uskra though.
Originally it was called Śiskra which meant "I speak."
But I changed it to the current Uskra meaning "to speak."

However, the Uskra refer to themselves as Urai Hinani or "the people of the waves."

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Re: Endonyms and exonyms

Post by cybrxkhan » 13 Nov 2012 19:03

I'm pretty lazy too.

I just take the name of their nation-state (or state, in pre-modern times) or the "academic" term for the culture in question, more often than not the Imperial Aidisese pronunciation of it (Aidis is the most powerful culture/country/economy/whatever in my conworld) (though not always), and then stick on the anglicized suffixes.

For instance, some random examples:

Aidis --> Aidisese
Mertha --> Merthic
Cedarin --> Cedarinian
Zajiang --> Zajiangese
Genais --> Genaisese
Xemar --> Xemarian
Athlia --> Athlian
Besera --> Beseran
Azhool --> Azhooli

Not terribly creative, obviously.
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Re: Endonyms and exonyms

Post by Maraxxus » 13 Nov 2012 19:17

Hmm, the history of Maxédri's naming...
Somewhere in my conworld's history; the people all united to face a common threat, but found that communication was difficult due to relative linguistic isolation between tribes. An idea for a centralized language came up and was accepted by all but two major tribes; and scholars and linguists came and worked together to document the language of the tribe that was at that time the most numerous and at the same time most powerful, its language called Hereedori; which would soon become the lingua franca of nearly the entire world, under the name Maxédri - "Of the keepers". The Hereed (Eredi) tribe still considers this the name of their language among one another; however, to the rest who speak it, it is known as Maxédri.
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Re: Endonyms and exonyms

Post by eldin raigmore » 13 Nov 2012 19:33

I am desperately lazy even compared to the laziest responder so far.

Adpihi is the name of the conlang, the conworld, and the conpeople. It means something like "Greetings to Thee, O God" or "Greetings my Lord" or something like that.

Reptigan is likewise the name of the conlang and the conculture that Adpihi segues into.
One of the conworlds and some of the conpeople are still Adpihi, but the non-humans and the people not descended from inhabitants of Adpihi have their own ethnonyms. For some of the non-human species, some Reptigan-speakers are physically unable to pronounce their endonyms, so it may be more or less important that someone invent exonyms for them.
Reptigan comes from (a) word(s) meaning something like "correct" or "proper" or "appropriate".

Arpien is the name of the conlang; I haven't thought about the ethnonym/endonym of its speakers, nor of their territory nor of their governmental community (if they have one).

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Re: Endonyms and exonyms

Post by xinda » 13 Nov 2012 20:03

Cednitit means 'from dirt'.

Vdangku is the name of the language, meaning 'to speak', but its speakers call themselves inzqūze 'those who run', and foreigners rumzqūze 'those who walk'.


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Re: Endonyms and exonyms

Post by Ollock » 13 Nov 2012 21:17

I guess I should mention that Aeruyo is, in fact, the genitive of Aeruro. The endonym is tsekrora aeruyo "language of the Aeruro". Of course, the decendant languages will have different names and demonyms that will be no where as easy to cause confusion.

For other languages, so far I have sort of place-holder names based on the ethnic groups that speak them.
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Re: Endonyms and exonyms

Post by Toko » 13 Nov 2012 22:35

Khzayskje has held a lot of names over the (in-world) years.

It's popular modern name comes from the common nickname of the Khymas Zjelsje (the "Khzay"), its nation of origin, which in turn is from the initialism of the nation's name in the Myk script, Kh or "khu" and Z or "zay".

Prior to this, the term "Zjeljezay" was how it was commonly referred to within the Khymas Zjelsje. Outside the Khzay, terms like "Khzayskje" and "Zjeljezay" tend to refer specifically to the dialect of the Khymas Zjelsje, while "Zjeljesatje" refers to all dialects. More scholarly works within the Khzay sometimes use this terminology as well.

All these stem from the term "Zjelsje", which comes from very "Old Zjelsjen" (a general term for the more common of languages spoken among the Zjelsjen archipelago before its colonisation by the empires of the East around the 5th century EC*) "Tsel Se", a name for the largest island/inner ring of islands, meaning literally "our ancestral land". The actual word "zjelsje" was used more by the Bagamazhj colonials, but eventually through their control over the archipelago spread into usage in the native language.

Modernly, "Zjelsje" refers both to the main land of the Khymas Zjelsje and the archipelago itself (or "Kadjes Zjelsje"). People of the archipelago/nation are commonly called "Khzayk" or "Zjelsjek" (the former more common modernly within the nation, the latter outside).

I typically use "Zjelsjen" as an English name for the language and the people, though this might change if I think up a better sounding/looking anglicisation.

*- there are two slightly differing calendars present within this conworld, modernly known as the Eastern Calendar (referring to it's origins in the Eastern hemisphere) and the Western Calendar (referring to its use originally by the relatively western nation of the Khzay, and many generally western hemisphere areas that the Khzay has had influence over).
Image Zelsian (Khzajske)

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