Just a short post today, as it’s Sunday and I fancy a rest, but I think I’ll complement it with a reblog of one of my earlier posts.

I’m always amazed at the number of different countries you all hail from. I love looking at that little map on the stats page, and am proud and humbled to have had visitors from every continent. Yesterday I had my first visitor from Montenegro, or at least someone in Montenegro at the time (thank you, whoever you are!). In many ways, Montenegro is similar to Luxembourg: a small country with a complex history and an interesting name…

The meaning of the country’s name is perhaps not very surprising: it means Black (negro) Mountain (monte). The name refers to Mt. Lovćen, which lies in southwestern Montenegro. So the meaning of the name makes sense, but what about its form? Montenegro doesn’t sound like Montegrin, or any of the other Slavic languages in the Balkans. It’s far too Latin. The country’s name in Montegrin is Crna Gora (also  meaning Black Mountain).

Where does Montenegro come from then? It’s actually from the Venetian language, and reflects the control that the Republic of Venice had along both eastern and western Adriatic coasts in the Middle Ages. I guess the name stuck because it has a nice ring to it.

I should also now say that I’m very happy to have learned about the Venetian language. Although it’s often referred to as a dialect of Italian, it’s actually considered an independent language, though still heavily indebted to Latin. And, it’s spoken as a native language by about four million people in the northeast of Italy. I’ll never tire of learning about how wonderfully complex Europe and its languages are. Here’s to Montenegro, and the Republic of Venice!

Image: GPL,

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