I once saw a documentary about Korean reunification with voice-over translation, and I wondered why they kept metioning Germany (until I realized what it was that they actually said:통일)

  • yes it is a coincidence
    – user17915
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 14:18
  • then what might be the etymological history of the first one?
    – wegendem
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 21:58
  • en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%ED%86%B5%EC%9D%BC#Etymology
    – user17915
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 22:47
  • Yes. Just a coincidence. In Japanese, ドイツ (Its pronunciation is [doittsu], which sounds like Deutsche.) means Germany. Its transliteration is 獨逸. And the word was imported into Korea without any modification. According to the rule of reading Sino-Korean, the word is pronounced as 독일.
    – jungyh0218
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 6:00

1 Answer 1


The Chinese character of 통일 is 统一 (the same in Japanese).

The Chinese character of 독일 is 獨逸, which was likely from Japanese word. This set of Chinese characters were chosen simply for its phonetic similarity. For more information, refer to this wikitionary page.

So it is simply a coincidence.

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