Author Topic: Currencies with more than one name  (Read 6246 times)

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Offline <k>

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Currencies with more than one name
« on: January 16, 2012, 01:26:33 PM »
How many currencies have more than one name? As an example, the UK pound has two units: the penny and the pound, but the currency itself is known as the pound sterling, or simply "sterling". You cannot say "two sterlings" - it's the currency name, not a unit.

Likewise, the main currency unit of the Republic of China is the yuan, but the currency is also known as the renminbi. To my knowledge, one never speaks of "two renminbis" or uses the name as a unit. It's also notable that we talk of "the renminbi" but only "sterling" - never "the sterling", though we always speak of "the pound sterling".

Are there any other currencies that have more than one name? And is there a special term for the name that does not refer to units, e.g. "sterling" as opposed to pound and penny/pence?
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Online Figleaf

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Re: Currencies with more than one name
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2012, 02:52:41 PM »
In what language? What is known as a gulden in Dutch can be referred to as guilder or florin in English. In Dutch, it is highly uncommon to say sterling when you mean pound, but in French, it's OK to say either livre or livre sterling (pronounced stairleeng, stressing the last syllable).

Peter
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Offline <k>

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Re: Currencies with more than one name
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2012, 03:18:56 PM »
In what language?

Peter

Point taken.  ;)

What is known as a gulden in Dutch can be referred to as guilder or florin in English. In Dutch, it is highly uncommon to say sterling when you mean pound, but in French, it's OK to say either livre or livre sterling (pronounced stairleeng, stressing the last syllable).

Under ELU (European Linguistic Union) Dutch is set to be phased out by 2040. But a guilder or a florin are also a denomination. Interesting that a denomination can have two standard names (as opposed to colloquial ones, i.e. nicknames like "bob" for shilling or "a tanner" for the pre-decimal sixpenny bit). However, I'm looking for names, like sterling, that are not also denominations. Interestingly I saw an article about Scottish independence with the heading: "Scotland may not be allowed to keep Stirling". A misspelling - they meant Sterling. Stirling is a Scottish city!  ;D
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Offline Md. Shariful Islam

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Re: Currencies with more than one name
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2012, 03:28:09 PM »
There is an interesting currency, 1957 Pakistan rupee (100 Rupee note) where Urdu and English reads '100 Rupee' while Bangla inscriptions read '100 Taka'.

Probably Indian prsent currencies have same practice (I am 50% sure).

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Online Figleaf

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Re: Currencies with more than one name
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2012, 03:32:42 PM »
Look in the medieval section of the site and you will find several coins called sterling (plural: sterlings) Many of the coins you find there were issued in what is now France, Belgium and Germany, but they are imitations of an English coin usually called a penny, also represented in that part of the site. Guilder is a denomination only in British Guiana, but florins flower everywhere.

Peter
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Currencies with more than one name
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2012, 04:02:00 PM »
There is an interesting currency, 1957 Pakistan rupee (100 Rupee note) where Urdu and English reads '100 Rupee' while Bangla inscriptions read '100 Taka'.

Probably Indian prsent currencies have same practice (I am 50% sure).

Islam

I think a similar situation occurred with coins of British-occupied Egypt in the early 1920s. The English uses the word 'piastre' but from memory the Arabic reads 'qirsh' (or however you want to transliterate it).

On sterling: in Italian the UK currency is virtually always called 'la sterlina', which is, like all other currencies, countable and declinable (una sterlina, due sterline etc.). Technically 'pound' = 'lira', but because the Italians' own currency was called that, the scope for confusion is clear. 'Libbra' would also have been possible but in practice is only used for units of mass, not currency.

Offline <k>

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Re: Currencies with more than one name
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2012, 05:06:50 PM »
On sterling: in Italian the UK currency is virtually always called 'la sterlina', which is, like all other currencies, countable and declinable (una sterlina, due sterline etc.).

So probably it's an anomaly of the English language that sterling is just "sterling" and never "a sterling" nor "the sterling". Though as we know, not all languages, and not even all European ones, have equivalent words for "a"/"an" (which developed from "one") and "the" (which evolved from "this" and/or "that").
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Currencies with more than one name
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2012, 05:28:01 PM »
Though as we know, not all languages, and not even all European ones, have equivalent words for "a"/"an" (which developed from "one") and "the" (which evolved from "this" and/or "that").

That is true, but AFAIK all European languages which are Indo-European have the concept of collective vs. countable nouns. In all such languages there are words which can have a plural and can be counted (like coin, coins), and those which exist only in one form (e.g. money -- though this is plural in some languages, with no singular existing). On this analysis, the English use of 'sterling' is indeed anomalous, as AFAIK all currencies in all of these languages can be expressed as both singular and plural.

Offline bagerap

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Re: Currencies with more than one name
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2012, 06:46:38 PM »
There is also the anomalous use of "Quid" as both singular and plural

Offline ciscoins

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Re: Currencies with more than one name
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2012, 06:56:13 PM »
Some of the ex-USSR currencies are usually called "roubles", and their subdivisions - "kopeks". When I visited the Eastern Ukraine, I was the only person who called hryvnias with their original name, and all the other people used the word "rouble".

I know exactly only about hryvnia and leu, but maybe some other currencies are also in this list.
Ivan
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Currencies with more than one name
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2012, 06:59:55 PM »
Quid isn't that anomalous. If I asked you how much you weigh, you'd probably answer (other than 'none of your business') xx stone, not stones. That is pretty universal, but other (traditional, not metric) units of measurement and currency also attract this usage in some areas of the UK. Phrases like 'three pound fifty' or 'it's 20 mile away' are pretty common. And 'bob' was always uninflectable -- nothing ever cost '3 bobs'. All of these, though, only apply when used with a number or substitute quantifier (such as 'a few'). Otherwise, you get phrases like 'we're quids in' or 'I've got a pocketful of forged quids' with the standard plural.

(Some languages go further than this and don't use normal plural forms with numerals at all. I believe Irish does this, and possibly Welsh. Presumably the logic behind this is that if you know you've got (say) 10 of something, they're by definition plural and you don't need to specify that further.)

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Currencies with more than one name
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2012, 07:03:00 PM »
Some of the ex-USSR currencies are usually called "roubles", and their subdivisions - "kopeks". When I visited the Eastern Ukraine, I was the only person who called hryvnias with their original name, and all the other people used the word "rouble".

I know exactly only about hryvnia and leu, but maybe some other currencies are also in this list.

Is that a function of the linguistic background of eastern Ukrainians? Most of them speak Russian as a mother tongue, so perhaps use of rubl', rublya, rublei is more natural there, with hryvnya, hryven more likely in the west where they speak Ukrainian. It's a bit like many Irish people calling the eurocent 'penny' (and indeed Americans calling the US cent the penny, too).

translateltd

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Re: Currencies with more than one name
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2012, 07:49:42 PM »

Likewise, the main currency unit of the Republic of China is the yuan, but the currency is also known as the renminbi.


In spoken language it's also known as "kwai" (pick your transliteration), as I understand it.

The ten-cent unit has more than one name, too - you'll see different characters used on different coins of this denomination.


Offline ciscoins

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Re: Currencies with more than one name
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2012, 07:58:00 PM »
Is that a function of the linguistic background of eastern Ukrainians? Most of them speak Russian as a mother tongue, so perhaps use of rubl', rublya, rublei is more natural there, with hryvnya, hryven more likely in the west where they speak Ukrainian.

The difference between Ukrainian and Russian languages is not so big. They have almost the same phonemes, grammar, vocabulary. For 70-80% they are the same language. So it's not somehow hard for a Russian-speaking person to use the word "hryvnia" if he wants. Some Russian coins in the previous centuries had this name (the pronounciation was slightly different - "grivna").
Ivan
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Offline <k>

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Re: Currencies with more than one name
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2012, 09:15:40 PM »
In spoken language it's also known as "kwai" (pick your transliteration), as I understand it.

So is kwai a denomination AND a currency name - or, like "sterling", just a currency name?

There are still only two currencies, then, so far as we know, with English names that do NOT also apply to a denomination, namely sterling and renminbi.
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