Hot answers tagged place-names
亚洲 is short for 亚细亚洲 while 非洲 is short for 阿非利加州. See the article "各大洲名称由来".
You're right, most foreign words are transliterated differently in Mandarin and in Cantonese. Sometimes there are even different standards in different Mandarin speaking regions. It's an interesting idea to use characters that have similar pronunciations in both dialects to unify the transliteration but it's not what has already happened. A few examples of ...
In all the news reports in Mainland China, "中东" refers to Middle East. This can be seen as a convention -- as a native speaker, if I hear "中东", I will definately think of the Middle East. You can take a look at the Wikipedia Page of 中东, and the Baidu Baike Page of 中东. Only one meaning is referred on both pages -- Middle East. If anyone wants to refer to ...
In the PRC, the official agency that decides this seems to be the 中国地名委员会 (China Commission on Place Names). They published a book called 外国地名译名手册 (Reference Book of Translated Foreign Place Names), which according to this Baidupedia entry includes the official translations of 18,000 place names plus general rules for translating place names from several ...
This is an interesting topics. I will throw in my 2 cents too :D Company Names Many big companies hire PR/Advertising firm to conduct research to create localized name or brand name. Though many times they will end up with phonetic translation, some will get nice semi-phonetic, some of them get lucky with phonetic and poetic. Famous Semi-Phonetic ...
When you only see "中东", that means "the Middle East". When you want to express the "middle east area of China", you should say"中东部" or "中东部地区", never say "中东". “部”here means "part", so "中东部" gets the meaning of "the middle east part[of this country, China]".
I don't believe there is any city officially named 西京, but that name has been used to refer to at least several cities, including what is now 西安.
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 ...
亞洲 (亚洲) is short for 亞細亞洲 (亚细亚洲, Asia) which can be found as early as 坤輿萬國全圖 published in 1602 (萬曆三十年) , mainly by Italian Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci or 利瑪竇 (Lì Mǎdòu), 6 Oct 1552 - 11 May 1610, who is believed to coin this transliteration into Chinese characters. 非洲 is from 阿非利加洲 (Africa). The above work, however, gives a different name for Africa: 利未亞 ...
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 ...
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 ...
Kaifen(开封） used to be the "Dongjing" of China during Song dynasty. Xi'an(西安) was the "Western capital" of China in many dynasties. However instead of “Xijing” (西京)， it was referred as "Xidu"(西都） in many ancient literature. For example: "望西都，意踌躇。" By 张养浩( Zhang yanghao ) Yuan Dynasty. But Xidu and Xijing are basically same meanning.
There is a 西京 to Japan's 東京; you were just looking in the wrong country: it's Kyoto, which for a short time was named Saikyō, just as Edo was renamed Tokyo when the capital moved from Kyoto to it. This is similar to how Nanjing and Beijing got their names too, when the capital was moved during Ming from then-金陵 to then-北平. In Japan's case only Tokyo's name ...
pinyinplaces.com has an extensive list of countries, cities, and states and provinces. I contacted the author, and he said he compiled the lists by buying a bunch of atlases and country maps from Chinese bookstores and culling the transliterations from them.
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