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Old 20th December 2016, 18:16   #1
tivoli
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Default Brussels Midi/Zuid

I realise the language divide in Belgium is a difficult subject but has there ever been any move to simplify the name after all neither is a translation of the other.
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Old 20th December 2016, 18:18   #2
Bletchleyite
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You could change the French to "Bruxelles Sud" (translating it the other way to Brussel Middagsstation would be a bit silly and not quite convey the same meaning), but I don't see what the benefit of doing so would be. In Germany it'd be Brussel Hbf, but SNCB/NMBS don't use the Hauptbahnhof-Konzept the same way.
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Old 20th December 2016, 18:37   #3
tivoli
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I feel Bruxelles Sud would make sense, I do know that some people have confused Midi with Central/Centraal as in Midi being in the middle of North and South.
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Old 20th December 2016, 18:38   #4
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I remember the press coverage of the start of Eurostar services, about a year in advance of services starting when all these places were largely unexplored territory for Fleet Street hacks.
Several accounts said firmly that "all the trains will arrive in Brussels at mid-day".
Somebody had mis-translated a French phrase about all the London-Brussels trains arriving at Bruxelles Midi, picked the wrong English version, and then it got passed round the agencies.
Worth a laugh at the time.
For reasons I don't understand, Brits seem to prefer to use the French terms for Belgian place names, even when they are in Flanders (eg Bruges rather than Brugge).

Actually, with my O-level French it took me a while to comprehend that Canal du Midi described a place rather than a time.
http://dictionary.reverso.net/french-english/Midi

Last edited by LNW-GW Joint; 20th December 2016 at 18:41.
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Old 20th December 2016, 18:43   #5
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In some contexts "midi" in French does mean "south" (not least "the south of France"), so the two names are essentially identical.
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Old 20th December 2016, 19:06   #6
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I do not see the problem. It is a french area where Brussel Noord is considered Dutch. Just look at the streetsigns; straat, laan and weg is Dutch where rue, avenue and chaussee is French. Look at Ronse which is in Vlaanderen. Directly south of it is the language- and political border.
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Old 20th December 2016, 20:14   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tivoli View Post
I realise the language divide in Belgium is a difficult subject but has there ever been any move to simplify the name after all neither is a translation of the other.
But the translation might not make sense to the opposite linguistic group. There are many examples like this, though admittedly the Bussels example is quite subtle.

In all of these cases, the names refer to the concept (a concrete (literally) concept in this case) rather then the names being translations of each other: In Flemish, the "thing" is Zuid, in French, the "thing" is Midi.

Same applies in less subtle examples, eg: Swansea/Abertawe - one name is a contraction of Swayns Sea, the other is Mouth/Estuary of the Tawe [River]. Both refer to the same thing in different ways, yet the translations are not eqivalent.

Another example is Pasila station in Helsinki, which is the Finnish name for that area of Helsinki. The Swedish name (not translation) was Frederiksberg for many years until the station was rebuilt (1980s) and the Swedish name changed to Böle: In this case Frederiksberg and Böle are two areas of Helsinki on which the station effectively sits on the border. IIRC Böle is the eastern part of the area that Finns call Pasila, and Frederiksberg the western part.

The point is that names are given by a people/society/linguistic group and idenify a concept (abstract or concrete thing) - in multilingual societies the "translations" are rarely translations but rather use of the two different terms for the same concept.

Sometimes they are translations, often they are renderings the the sounds/alphabet of one of the languages, eg: Cardiff and Caerdydd - in this latter case the differences can become quite pronouned, eg: Llundain, London vs Londinium.

t.

Ian
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Old 20th December 2016, 20:45   #8
coppercapped
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tivoli View Post
I realise the language divide in Belgium is a difficult subject but has there ever been any move to simplify the name after all neither is a translation of the other.
Oh dear - get a good Larousse!

The words are direct translations, Midi = South, Zuid = South.

(In French 'Midi' also means 'midday' - but ask yourself, in the Northern hemisphere, which direction is the sun to be seen at midday. The answer is 'in the south' hence its use in French also to mean 'south'. The 'Canal du Midi' does not mean the 'Midday Canal'.
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Old 20th December 2016, 21:34   #9
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Belgium ist a bit complicated as the railways seldomly uses both languages. You wont find Liegè ob a Brugge timetable bitte Luik instead.
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Old 20th December 2016, 22:12   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duesselmartin View Post
Belgium ist a bit complicated as the railways seldomly uses both languages. You wont find Liegè ob a Brugge timetable bitte Luik instead.
In most of the country there is only one official language so only that language is used on trains and stations. Brussels is officially bilingual so both languages are used there. There are also a few areas near the language border which are officially bilingual.
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Old 20th December 2016, 22:13   #11
tivoli
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I am well aware of the meanings of the station name, and that these are names appropriate to the linguistic divide, but my point I suppose is that this particular station's names are no longer just relevant to the Belgians. With the arrival of Eurostar I was simply wondering if any consideration had been made to internationalise the station name. Not saying that would be right or wrong just curious.

There is a point though about dual use of names for places, in Wales as mentioned and in Ireland for example, both names are likely to be displayed on board trains. If travelling from Oostende or Brugge towards Brussels you are only going to see Brusssel Zuid displayed on board which could be confusing to the English speaker looking out for Brussels Midi.
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Old 20th December 2016, 22:13   #12
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Dutch names of cities in the french (and sometimes German) language in Belgium:
https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lijst_..._in_twee_talen
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Old 20th December 2016, 22:24   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tivoli View Post
I am well aware of the meanings of the station name, and that these are names appropriate to the linguistic divide, but my point I suppose is that this particular station's names are no longer just relevant to the Belgians. With the arrival of Eurostar I was simply wondering if any consideration had been made to internationalise the station name.
Internationalising the name could be done by renaming it in English. Schiphol was renamed to Schiphol Airport last year to help foreigners.
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Old 20th December 2016, 22:50   #14
tivoli
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Originally Posted by radamfi View Post
Internationalising the name could be done by renaming it in English. Schiphol was renamed to Schiphol Airport last year to help foreigners.
Actually timetables on both NMBS and SNCB pages on Belgian Rail website both refer to Brussels Airport-Zaventem, no attempt by either to use local names for Brussels or airport.
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Old 20th December 2016, 22:51   #15
coppercapped
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tivoli View Post
I am well aware of the meanings of the station name, and that these are names appropriate to the linguistic divide, but my point I suppose is that this particular station's names are no longer just relevant to the Belgians. With the arrival of Eurostar I was simply wondering if any consideration had been made to internationalise the station name. Not saying that would be right or wrong just curious.

There is a point though about dual use of names for places, in Wales as mentioned and in Ireland for example, both names are likely to be displayed on board trains. If travelling from Oostende or Brugge towards Brussels you are only going to see Brusssel Zuid displayed on board which could be confusing to the English speaker looking out for Brussels Midi.
Could have fooled me! You wrote

Quote:
after all neither is a translation of the other.
As trains from Germany also call at Brussel - Zuid, maybe it should have a German name as well, how about Brüssel - Sud?

Not only English speakers may be confused in Belgium. The Flemish word for 'Lille' is 'Rijsel' - which appears on older road signs in Wallonia by itself. In the older Michelin maps you couldn't find a 'Rijsel' anywhere. Aachen can also be called Aken or Aix-la-Chapelle. Liège can also be Luik.

Signs use the language of the area where they are put up. It's not difficult to understand. That's why all the name boards between Oostende and Brussel are in Dutch as all of the route is in Vlaanderen. It happens in other countries: Germans call the city we know as Milan as Mailand and the Italians call it Milano. People with many different first languages cope.

These days, French published maps now have 'Rijsel' in small print against 'Lille' and Belgium is a bit more international with newer road signs now saying Rijsel/Lille in Vlaanderen or Lille/Rijsel in Wallonie.

Be flexible - enjoy the variety!

Last edited by coppercapped; 20th December 2016 at 23:01.
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