Was recently turned on to this pretty rad map of the world, which uses the etymological names of countries, continents and bodies of water.
Click on this link for a bigger version of the image.
It turns out the true name for Hungary, my motherland, is “Alliance of the Ten Tribes.” For the record, I’ve never understood why people have insisted on calling it “Hungary” when Hungarians call their homeland “Magyarorszag” (Country of Magyars). This is an issue for many countries of course, and I credit Google for respecting what nations call themselves on their global map. In any case, “Magyar” was a term bestowed by the Turks on their threatening neighbors from the north, hence the Alliance of the Ten Tribes. This, in turn, was only a perception, there was never actually a ten-tribe alliance.
New York City is, of course, named for York, in England. But what is York? Turns out that York means Yew Tree Village. The Yew Tree is apparently a British evergreen that the ancient Druids believed had mystical powers.
Further interweb investigation brought me Atlas of True Names, a project to unearth etymological origins of places all over the world. The site points out the similarity between “true names” on Earth and locations in J.R Tolkien’s Middle Earth, which is not all that surprising, as Tolkien was an impressive philologist (one who studies languages). Actually, in trying to recall the word “philologist”, I stumbled across Phrontistery, a site that lists the various words for studies. Algedonics, for example, is the study of pleasure and pain, and campanology is the study of bell ringing.
Have a happy Saturday.