everson at evertype.com
Thu May 24 11:42:16 BST 2012
On 24 May 2012, at 10:52, Hewitt, Stephen wrote:
> Pour la petite histoire, the Arabic word for Austria is nimsâ. Where on earth did they get that from? From Ottoman Turkish, who took the universal Slavic word nemcy lit. “deaf ones”, i.e. those with whom it is like talking to a brick wall, in other words, for most Slavs, “Germans”, from their nearest neighbours and for many centuries, vassals, the Bulgarians, who used it mainly for the Austrian Empire (their most immediate experience of German-speakers).
The verb неметь means 'to be dumb, speechless', not 'deaf'.
Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/
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