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In watching CCTV-4 news, I frequently see country names abbreviated but miss the leading character before I can look it up carefully (I know the major ones). Is there a list anywhere of those standard abbreviations (most of the form X国)?

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1  
Have you tried Wikipedia? –  杨以轩 Feb 9 at 7:36
    
There seem to have been other patterns for abbreviations or short-form names of countries in the past. Australia was 濠州 for instance. 国 is closer to country and 州 is closer to state. –  hippietrail Feb 10 at 20:34
    
濠州 is Japanese. It is 澳洲 in Chinese –  user58955 Feb 10 at 23:50
    
@user58955: I found a few variants of the same which have been used in either or both of Japanese and Korean: 豪州, 濠州, 濠洲. I don't know which country used it first. –  hippietrail Feb 11 at 8:58

3 Answers 3

I think this is a fairly exhaustive list of currently existing countries. This does not encompass unabbreviated country names that end with 国 (e.g., 孟加拉国):

Common

  • 中国 (Zhōngguó) - P. R. China or R. O. China depending on context
  • 法国 (Fǎguó) - France
  • 德国 (Déguó) - Germany
  • 泰国 (Tàiguó) - Thailand
  • 英国 (Yīngguó) - England / UK
  • 美国 (Měiguó) - USA
  • 韩国 (Hánguó) - South Korea
  • 俄国 (Éguó) - Russia
  • 寮国 (Liáoguó) - Laos (chiefly Taiwan, the term is dated in mainland China. Use 老挝 (Lǎowō).)

Rare

  • 奥国 (Àoguó) - Austria
  • 葡国 (Púguó) - Portugal
  • 墨国 (Mòguó) - Mexico
  • 加国 (Jiāguó) - Canada
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2  
And 寮国 for Laos in Taiwan. Mainland China used this term before as well. –  user58955 Feb 9 at 23:14
    
hmm.. I am not so sure if it's an abbreviation though? Otherwise it would definitely warrant inclusion here. I am contradicting myself here as this would rule out 泰国 as well.. hmm. –  deutschZuid Feb 9 at 23:16
    
I will include it for the time being. –  deutschZuid Feb 9 at 23:21
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@hippietrail You are right about me trying to enforce these rules even if I wasn't completely aware of what I was doing. I believe I have since relaxed the rules. I am including pretty much every two character country names suffixed with 国 as long as they are attestable. –  deutschZuid Feb 10 at 20:33
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@deutschZuid Usually what you read in the news is that the usual name of the country appears first, such as 加拿大, then it might be abbreviated to 加国 in the subsequent occurrences. 西国 wouldn't be a problem in this context. –  user58955 Feb 10 at 23:47

Most countries can be abbreviated by the first character in their name especially when describing the relations between two or more countries. There are some exceptions and many will be duplicates.

For example:

  • 印 can refer to both 印度 India and 印尼 Indonesia; short for 印度尼西亚.

  • 伊 can refer to 伊朗 Iran and 伊拉克 Iraq. 两伊 means Iran-Iraq.

  • 新 can refer to 新加坡 Singapore and 新西兰 New Zealand.

  • 巴 can refer to 巴基斯坦 Pakistan, 巴勒斯坦 Palestine, 巴拿马 Panama, 巴拉圭 Paraguay and 巴布亚新几内亚 Papua New Guinea.

So you can put two countries together + 战争 War, + 冲突 Conflict, + 关系 Relations, etc.

Examples:

  • 以巴冲突 Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  • 两伊战争 Iran-Iraq War.

  • 中日关系 Sino-Japanese relations.

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We only refer to some countries this way:

德国 (Deutsch),法国 (France),美国 (America), 英国 (England), 俄国 (Russia) - these countries were the first countries to visit China. Maybe at that time people began to learn English and translated the name in a different way.

Also 俄国 is more for referring to Russia before Soviet Union (苏联). Current Russia we call 俄罗斯.

For 韩国 (south Korea), it's because Koreans call their country 大韓民國.

For 泰国, I'm not sure.

For other countries' names, we try to use the pronunciation for translation:

  • Australia - 澳大利亚, 澳洲
  • Austria - 奥地利
  • Spain - 西班牙
  • Canada - 加拿大
  • Portugal - 葡萄牙 ...
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