How Do You Say New York In Italian?


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Italians are most likely to refer to New York by its English name, rather than by using an Italian direct translation of the name, which would involve translating the word 'New' to Nuova for example. This is not always the case with the names of places, however, as Italians are most likely to refer to New Zealand as Nuova Zelanda.

Conventional place names

One suggestion for why some place names remain in their original language, whilst others are translated is that the name has become conventionally accepted. Once a city acquires a popular name, such as Londra (London) or Parigi (Paris), it is very difficult to persuade an entire population to revert to a different one. With cities that have a more recent origin, like New York (which became a city in 1898), their relative newness to the Italian lexicon means that Italians have never known the city by any name other than the English one.

Down to style?

Often, the question of whether to translate the name of a place simply comes down to the writer's style. One example is the use of both Marseille (French) and Marseilles (English) by English speakers, with both being generally acceptable.

History and place names

Sometimes the reason for a place having a different name in another language is because that place has a historical significance to a particular country. For example, the debated region of Alsace-Lorraine (that has changed hands between France and Germany several times in the past few centuries) will always be referred to as Reichsland Elsass-Lothringen by Germans.

Difficult names can be translated

Sometimes, when a place name has characters that do not have an equivalent in another language, or are simply difficult to pronounce, they can be translated to a more palatable form.

One example of this would be the number of German cities and regions that have dedicated Italian translations, such as:

- Aachen = Aquisgrana

- Köln = Colonia

- München = Monaco

- Niedersachsen = Bassa Sassonia

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