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央行行长会 - A Meeting of the Heads of Central Banks.

Is the second 行 necessary? If not why not? Does 央行长 mean "Head of a Central Bank" or is it necessary to say the equivalent of "Bank-Head of a Central Bank" i.e. 央行行长.

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央行行长 --> 中 – Derek 朕會功夫 Mar 5 '13 at 8:11
up vote 5 down vote accepted

This is an interesting question. My first impression is that there isn't such a term known as "央行长". But after doing a quick search on Google, I realize that there are people who actually use such a term though it isn't that widely accepted.

Let's take a look at the search results from a few similar terms before making a conclusion:

  • 国防部部长 (11,500,000) vs 国防部长 (6,470,000)
  • 协会会长 (8,630,000) vs 协会长 (1,010,000)
  • 肃毒局局长 (31,500) vs 肃毒局长 (21,200)
  • 卫生厅厅长 (6,320,000) vs 卫生厅长 (21,500,000)

As for 央行长:

  • 央行行长 (4,310,000) vs 央行长 (80,600)

Language evolves with time and new terms are constantly being invented while old ones may fall out of use. Some of the new terms may gain wide acceptance while others may not. "央行长" could well be a new term which has not gain much acceptance. Therefore "央行行长" is still the recommended term to use in order to be understood.

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+1 for methodology. – NS.X. Feb 17 '13 at 23:44
Insterestingly, 国防部长 could be considered an accepted word. For协会长, the search includes a lot phrases like "律协/会长" where 律协 is an abbreviation and 会长 is a title. "协会长" itself is not a word here. – fefe Feb 18 '13 at 3:10
It seems that 5->4 is acceptable, but 4->3 isn't... – Mike Manilone Feb 18 '13 at 4:52

You can not translate literally in a character by character way.

Here 央行 is an orgnization, and 行长 is a title for head of a bank. The second 行 cannot be omitted.

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“央行” is short for “中央银行”,which means "central bank". It is an organization to regulate the banking industry. "行长"(head) is a title. You can't ommit the second 行 just because there are two 行. Actually, there isn't such a word "央行长".

PS: an interesting(just I think) supplement on the character 行. "行" has two pronunciations and several different meanings for each pronunciation. We have an idiom "景行行止". The former 行 reads hang2 and the latter reads xing2. It is neccessary to analyze the structure and check the vocabulary first to see if some characters could be ommitted.

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You can read this article (in Chinese). It concludes the idiomatic abbreviations of "ABBC" -> "ABC" (Chap 3). It also illustrates possible reasons behind the abbreviation (Chap 4).

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