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18
votes
2answers
449 views

Why use 非 and 亚 for continent names?

Why was 非 chosen for 非洲 (Africa) and 亚 chosen for 亚洲 (Asia)? I can't find a particular reason to use these characters.
12
votes
3answers
508 views

How does foreign word transliteration work in the context of Cantonese vs Mandarin?

If I understand correctly, Cantonese sounds very different from Mandarin, despite being written in the same way (omitting some small differences, which are irrelevant for the question). If it is the ...
8
votes
4answers
353 views

中东 - “Middle East” or “Eastern China”?

The dictionary lists both Middle East and Eastern China for 中东. Is one of these meanings more common? What would be a native speaker's first impression of the word? Does the meaning vary from ...
8
votes
2answers
202 views

What is the first attested use of 美國/美国 in the sense of 'America' in Chinese?

The beginnings of Sino-American relations date back to the late 18th century (e.g. the Old China Trade). When did the Chinese begin to refer to America (or the US) as 美國/美国? Were there alternative ...
5
votes
2answers
137 views

Official place names

Is there an official list of place names (esp. for non-Chinese places)? If a bureaucrat or journalist in China is writing about a lesser-known foreign place, how do they determine the characters? I ...
4
votes
2answers
264 views

When saying Japanese place names like “秋叶原”, do people always use the respective Chinese pronunciation?

When I hear people talk about Tokyo in Mandarin, they always pronounce it as "dōng jīng" because it's written as 东京. Similarly for Osaka and "dà bǎn" (大阪), and other such places. Are there any names ...
4
votes
2answers
107 views

Interpretation of second character

Here's a picture I have found on flickr, taken in an outdoor museum in South Korea. I can only recognize the 1st, 3rd and 4th characters: 寶X山房. 寶 is probably not the variant written on the wooden ...
2
votes
3answers
250 views

list of Chinese language country name abbreviations

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 ...
-1
votes
3answers
1k views

Was there ever a “Xijing?” Could it have been “Xi An?” [closed]

"Beijing" means "northern capital," and "Nanjing" means "southern capital." There is even a "Dongjing" or "eastern capital" that is WAY east of China. It's the city that the Japanese call "Tokyo." ...