I decided to compare the names of twenty well-known European cities in ten different languages. The languages I chose were four Germanic, four Romance and two Uralic. They were English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Hungarian and Finnish. In the list below, I provide the names of the cities in their respective languages. The order is the same as in this paragraph.
Paris, Paris, Parijs, Paris, Pari’s, Paris, Paris, Parigi, Pa’rizs, Pariisi
London, London, Londen, London, Londres, Londres, Londres, Londra, London, Lontoo
Stockholm, Stockholm, Stockholm, Stockholm, Estocolmo, Estocolmo, Stockholm, Stoccolma, Stockholm, Tukholma
Milan, Meiland, Milaan, Milano, Mila’n, Mila~o, Milan, Milano, Mila’no’, Milano
Rome, Rom, Rome, Rom, Roma, Roma, Rome, Roma, Ro’ma, Rooma
Vienna, Wien, Wenen, Wien, Viena, Viena, Vienne, Vienna, Be’cs, Wien
Florence, Florenz, Florence, Florens, Florencia, Florenc,a, Florence, Firenze, Firenze, Firenze
Naples, Neapel, Napels, Neapel, Na’poles, Na’poles, Naples, Napoli, Na’poly, Napoli
Warsaw, Warschau, Warschau, Warszawa, Varsovia, Varso’via, Varsovie, Varsavia, Varso’, Varsova
Munich, Mu:nchen, Mu:nchen, Mu:nchen, Mu’nich, Munique, Munich, Monaco, Mu:nchen, Mu:nchen
Lisbon, Lissabon, Lissabon, Lissabon, Lisboa, Lisboa, Lisbonne, Lisbona, Lisszabon, Lissabon
Berlin, Berlin, Berlijn, Berlin, Berli’n, Berlim, Berlin, Berlino, Berlin, Berliini
Brussels, Bru:ssel, Brussel, Bryssel, Bruselas, Bruxelas, Bruxelles, Bruxelles, Bru:sszel, Bryssel
Prague, Prag, Praag, Prag, Praga, Praga,Prague, Praga, Pra’ga, Praha
Hamburg, Hamburg, Hamburg, Hamburg, Hamburgo, Hamburgo, Hambourg, Amburgo, Hamburg, Hampuri
Moscow, Moskau, Moskou, Moskva, Moscu’, Moscovo/Moscou, Moscou, Mosca, Moszkva, Moskova
Venice, Venedig, Venetie:, Venedig, Venecia, Veneza, Venise, Venezia, Velence, Venetsia
Athens, Athen, Athene, Aten, Atenas, Atenas, Athe`nes, Atene, Athe’n, Ateena
Geneva, Genf, Geneve, Geneve, Ginebra, Genebra, Gene`ve, Ginevra, Geneva, Geneve
Belgrade, Belgrad, Belgrado, Belgrad, Belgrado, Belgrado, Belgrade, Belgrado, Belgra’d, Belgrad
Moscow has two forms in Portuguese. Moscovo is European and Moscou is Brazilian. The cities with the most variants are Moscow (ten variants if we include European Portuguese and nine with Brazilian) and Athens, Venice and Warsaw with nine variants each. Stockholm has the fewest variants at four. The name "Stockholm" in used in six languages: English, German, Dutch, Swedish, French and Hungarian. Two languages, Spanish and Portuguese, use "Estocolmo".
The list shows that the names of many European cities can vary significantly from one language to another. This is often not the case for cities of other continents. The reason for this variation is probably due to the history and importance of these cities in the languages discussed here.
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