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Thread: Where do the words немец and немецкий come from?

  1. #1
    JackBoni
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    Where do the words немец and немецкий come from?

    Hi all,

    I was just thinking about how it was so easy to learn the nationalities and their respective countries in Russian. Then it occurred to me that the two words above were the hardest of the nationalities to learn, at least for me, as they're not similar to either English or Latin or anything else I know a bit of already. Did they used to have different meanings, beside referring to German things or people? I'd be interested to know. Are there any others like this?

    Thanks!

    Jack

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай
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    Re: Where do the words немец and немецкий come from?

    The word "немец" shares its origin with "немой". Originally, it was a common name for all foreigners who couldn't speak Slavic languages. Later on, it came to mean just Germans.

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    Увлечённый спикер
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    Re: Where do the words немец and немецкий come from?

    The word "немец" comes from the Old Russian language. This word originally meant:

    1) A person whose speech is unclear, hard to understand;
    2) any foreigner.

    Later it came to mean "a German".

    Source: http://ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/немецкий

  4. #4
    JackBoni
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    Re: Where do the words немец and немецкий come from?

    Thanks for the replies

    Jack

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    Завсегдатай Crocodile's Avatar
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    Re: Where do the words немец and немецкий come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mist
    Later it came to mean "a German".
    Because, I think, the majority of foreigners in Russia at that time were Germans.

    Just to remind of the role Germans played in Russian culture of the time, here's a list of the first presidents of Russian Imperial Academy of Science in St.Petersburg (also, think where the name "Petersburg" has come from):

    1725-1733. Блюментрост Лаврентий Лаврентьевич, лейб-медик.
    1733. Кейзерлинг Герман Карл, граф.
    1734-1740. Корф Иоганн Альбрехт, барон.
    1740-1741. Бреверн Карл фон.

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