Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Etymologist's Atlas

This is one of a series of maps published in Der Spiegel showing 'natural' place names.

Personally I'd have translated Honduras as 'Depths' and El Salvador as 'The Saviour'.

As for 'Guatemala', there are some doubts as to its origin. You can choose between two indigenous words Quauhtemellan ('land of the eagle') and Uhatzmalha (`mountain where water gushes').

Yucatán or "I don't understand you" is apparently what the Maya said to the Spaniards who asked them "what land is this?". (You can see why they thought this was real information, as in Spain the generic term is more usually "Eeeeh?")

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