Place Names in Germany (1) -- Places with -ing
Place names can tell you a lot -- if you know how to decipher them. This is hardly a linguistic rule but I believe it has a true core: the more a certain word is used, the higher the chance its pronunciation becomes altered -- until you can hardly recognize the original meaning. Names of towns and villages are used a lot and so they change over the centuries. Consider the l city of Koblenz for instance. It is a very old city dating back to a Roman fort called "Castellum apud Confluentes" -- the fort near the merging -- rivers that is (Moselle and Rhine). From this, we today have "Koblenz"!
(1) PLACE NAMES WITH THE SUFFIX -ING OR -INGEN
Examples: Göttingen in Lower Saxony, Esslingen in Baden Württemberg, Freilassing in Bavaria (near Salzburg)
Area: All over Germany and throughout Europe wherever Germanic people have settled
Explanation: old Germanic suffix denoting possession, origin, belonging to. -Ingen is a plural and originally may have meant "People of...." "Gött- ingen" is believed to come from "gota" old Saxon for stream. Thus, "Got(a)-ingen" originally was the name for the people of the stream. "Ess (l)-ingen" is the name for a family/clan for whom a person called Hezzilo or Hetsilo played a significant role so that his clan was named after him.
Variations: Many variations throughout Europe, sometimes revealing the settling areas of Germanic tribes.
-engo in Northern Italy revealing Langobardic settlements. Example: Offanengo near Crema
-ing in England, probably denoting Saxon origin. Example: Epping near London
-ungen -- in Thuringia. Example: Teistungen
-ange in Belgium, Luxemburg and France. Example: Dudelange, Luxemburg. This pertains to the Frankish tribes.
-ingen in Germany is either Saxon (Kneitlingen in Lower Saxony), Frankish or Alemanic (Esslingen) -- also many Alemanic place names in Switzerland
-ing in Germany is Bavarian (Freising) Thus, in Germany, by looking at the map, you can tell whether it's a Bavarian or Swabian (Alemanic) area :) This is important to know because if you give free rounds of beer, you will be a hero in Bavaria, but if you do this in Swabia, you might get arrested for wasting money and destroying public morale :) Legend has it that Swabians are very keen on saving money so that they can build a nice house. Of course, this is just a stupid prejudice, right!?!