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In Persia, Germany is called "Alaman". In Portugal it's called "Alemanha".

I know some other countries in the world call it 'Alman' too

Why the name changed?

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7  
This is rather humourously depicted in a polandball comic. It's worth noting that virtually no other languages actually refer to Germany by anything close to its name in German (Deutschland). –  commando Jul 8 at 14:46
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I've added your comment to my answer @Wrzlprmft, that's an excellent Q&A pair, it deserves all the visibility it can get. –  Yannis Rizos Jul 8 at 15:03
    
@commando Quite a few, actually: Dutch has “Duitsland”, Danish has “Tyskland”, etc. Italian also has “tedesco” (as an adjective). –  Relaxed Jul 9 at 0:25

4 Answers 4

up vote 19 down vote accepted

The name comes from the Alemanni, a Germanic tribe.

Germany is known by a variety of names throughout the world, you can find a comprehensive list on Wikipedia: Names of Germany.

See also: Is there a reason why Germany (Deutschland) is called so many different things in other European languages? (German Language Stack Exchange)

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There is a Wikipedia article on the topic, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_Germany

Because of Germany's geographic position in the centre of Europe, as well as its long history as a non-united region of distinct tribes and states, there are many widely varying names of Germany in different languages, perhaps more so than for any other European nation. For example, in German, the country is known as Deutschland, while in the Scandinavian languages as Tyskland, in French as Allemagne, in Serbian as Nemacka, in Polish as Niemcy, in Finnish as Saksa, and in Lithuanian as Vokietija.

In general, the names for Germany can be arranged in six main groups according to their origin:

  1. From Old High German diutisc or similara

    • Afrikaans: Duitsland
    • Chinese: 德意志 in both simpl. and trad. (pinyin: Déyìzhì) commonly 德國/德国 (Déguó, "Dé" is the abbr. of 德意志, "guó" means "country")
    • Danish: Tyskland
    • Dutch: Duitsland
    • Faroese: Týskland
    • Frisian: Dútslân
    • German: Deutschland
    • Icelandic: Þýskaland
    • Japanese: ドイツ(独逸) (Doitsu)
    • Korean: 독일(獨逸) (Dogil/Togil)
    • Nahuatl: Teutōtitlan
    • Norwegian: Tyskland
    • Northern Sami: Duiska
    • Northern Sotho: Tôitšhi
    • Swedish: Tyskland
    • Vietnamese: Đức
    • Yiddish: דײַטשלאַנד (Daytshland)
  2. From the Latin Germania or Greek Γερμανία

    • Albanian: Gjermania
    • Aramaic:ܓܪܡܢ (Jerman)
    • Armenian: Գերմանիա (Germania)
    • Bengali:জার্মানি (Jarmani)
    • Bulgarian: Германия (Germaniya)
    • English: Germany
    • Esperanto: Germanujo (also Germanio)
    • Friulian: Gjermanie
    • Georgian: გერმანია (Germania)
    • Greek: Γερμανία (Germanía)
    • Gujarati: જર્મની (Jarmanī)
    • Hausa: Jamus
    • Hebrew: גרמניה (Germania)
    • Hindi: जर्मनी (Jarmanī)
    • Ido: Germania
    • Indonesian: Jerman
    • Interlingua: Germania
    • Irish: An Ghearmáin
    • Italian: Germania
    • Hawaiian: Kelemania
    • Lao: ເຢຍລະມັນ (Yialaman)
    • Latin: Germania
    • Macedonian: Германија (Germanija)
    • Malay: Jerman
    • Manx: Yn Ghermaan
    • Maltese: Ġermanja
    • Māori: Tiamana
    • Marathi: जर्मनी (Jarmanī)
    • Mongolian: Герман (German)
    • Nauruan: Djermani
    • Nepali: जर्मनी (Jarmanī)
    • Panjabi: ਜਰਮਨੀ (Jarmanī)
    • Romanian: Germania
    • Russian: Германия (Germaniya)
    • Samoan: Siamani
    • Scottish Gaelic: A' Ghearmailt
    • Somali: Jermalka
    • Swahili: Ujerumani
    • Tahitian: Heremani
    • Tamil: செருமனி (cerumani), ஜெர்மனி (Jermani)
    • Thai: เยอรมนี (Yoeramani), เยอรมัน (Yoeraman)
    • Tongan: Siamane
    • Urdu: جرمنی (Jarmanī)
  3. From the name of the Alamanni tribe

    • Arabic: ألمانيا ('Almānyā)
    • Asturian: Alemaña
    • Azerbaijani: Almaniya
    • Basque: Alemania
    • Breton: Alamagn
    • Catalan: Alemanya
    • Cornish: Almayn
    • Filipino: Alemanya
    • French: Allemagne
    • Galician: Alemaña
    • Kazakh: Алмания (Almanïya) Not used anymore or used very rarely, now using Russian "Германия".
    • Khmer: ប្រទេសអាល្លឺម៉ង់ (Prateh Aloumong)
    • Kurdish: Elmaniya
    • Mirandese: Almanha
    • Occitan: Alemanha
    • Piedmontese: Almagna
    • Ojibwe ᐋᓂᒫ (Aanimaa)
    • Persian: آلمان ('Ālmān)
    • Portuguese: Alemanha
    • Spanish: Alemania
    • Tatar: Almania Алмания
    • Turkish: Almanya
    • Welsh: Yr Almaen
  4. From the name of the Saxon tribe

    • Estonian: Saksamaa
    • Finnish: Saksa
    • Livonian: Saksāmō
    • Veps: Saksanma
    • Võro: S'aksamaa
    • Romani: Ssassitko temm
  5. From the Protoslavic němьcьb

    • Arabic: نمسا (nímsā) meaning Austria
    • Belarusian: Нямеччына (Nyamyecchyna)
    • Bosnian: Njemačka
    • Croatian: Njemačka
    • Czech: Německo
    • Hungarian: Németország
    • Kashubian: Miemieckô
    • Polish: Niemcy
    • Romanian: Nemți (Germans) (though the country is called Germania and its rarely used Germani is more common.)
    • Serbian: Немачка (Nemačka)
    • Silesian: Ńymcy
    • Slovak: Nemecko
    • Slovene: Nemčija
    • Lower Sorbian: Nimska
    • Upper Sorbian: Nemska
    • Ukrainian: Німеччина (Nimecchyna)
  6. Unclear originc

    • Latvian: Vācija
    • Lithuanian: Vokietija
    • New Curonian: Vāce Zėm
    • Samogitian: Vuokītėjė
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It is worth noting that while Italian uses Germania for the country, it uses tedesco (cognate with deutch) as the adjective and for a German person. Meanwhile English uses Dutch as the adjective for a neighbouring country. –  Henry Jul 9 at 9:20

To add to @Yannis Rizos's post, what has come down to us as the Germanic tribal name Alemanni is actually the Latin name for what that tribe called itself. The tribe called itself the High Germanic equivalent of the modern German "alle männer", or "all men"/"all mankind", because they themselves were all the people they usually referred to.

The Romans assimilated the phrase "alle männer" into Latin as Alemanni (the -i suffix indicates plural) and called the land where the Alemanni lived "Alemannia" (-ia is a common placename suffix, as with many other lands like "Francia", land of the Franks, "Graecia", land of the Greeks, etc.).

From there, as the Romance languages evolved, so did the word Alemannia. For instance, in Portuguese it evolved to "Alemanha", and it was a loanword from some Romance language into Persian as "Alaman".

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In Portugal it is called "Alemanha", not "Alman". It is that way because of the tribe living in that region of Europe, "Álamos"

Source: I'm Portuguese.

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