Dutch, German, etc.

Benjamin Fortson fortson at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Fri Apr 19 15:27:19 UTC 2002

The "Teutchland" in the quote uses an older spelling of Deutsch that was
current at various times; it appears for example in the title of the most
famous German Baroque novel, Der Abenteuerliche Simplicissimus Teutsch by
Hans Jakob Christoph von Grimmelshausen. I didn't realize it was still
kicking around in the 19th century.
        Teutonic comes from the Teutones, the Latin version of a Germanic
tribal name built to the Germanic noun *theudo: 'people, tribe', which has
congeners in Gaulish (e.g. the 'god of the tribe' Teutates or Toutates)
and the rest of Celtic (it's the source of the name O'Toole, ultimately
from Old Irish tu:ath 'tribe, people'), as well as Baltic (e.g. Lithuanian
tauta 'people'). Everywhere in West Germanic besides English the *th-
changed to d-, whence Deutsch, Dutch, the name Dietrich ('king of the
people', cp. Gothic Theodo-ric [not the same as Theodore, which is Greek,
Theo-doros 'gift of god'], Gaulish Teuto-rix), etc. In Old High German it
was still spelled with th- often, a spelling that persisted into Middle High German
and may be the source of the T- spelling in Teutsch, but I'm not sure
about that; the latter could also be a regional devoicing of d-.
Etymologically, Deutsch is just *theud-isk- 'of or relating to the common
people'. There are other Germanic relatives, e.g. German deut-lich
'clear', but I've gone on long enough.


On Fri, 19 Apr 2002, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:

> > >Add 'Deutsch' and 'Nederlands' to the list.  Of course, the cognates of
> > 'Dutch' in both Dutch and German mean 'German', not 'Dutch'.
> >
> > >I have been interested in the phenomenon of names of peoples in other
> > languages being significantly different from what they call
> > themselves.  Some words are easily explained, such as 'Dutch,' but how
> > about 'German'?  Why didn't English stick with 'Dutch'?
> >
> >On the evidence, English speakers cannot keep "Dutch" and "Deutsch"
> >distinct, i.e. "Low Dutch" and "High Dutch" or the German "Pennsylvania Dutch".
> Of course both "Deutsch" and "Germanisch" are standard in German (I think =
> "German", "Germanic" resp.).
> A form perhaps bringing together "Deutsch"/"Dutch" and "Teutonic" in a US
> item from 1847 (MoA Cornell):
> <<the people of the various Anglo-Saxon provinces, having come from
> different portions of the cradle-country in Teutchland ...>>
> (apparently used in seriousness, in reference to differences between
> English and Scottish usages).
> -- Doug Wilson

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