In the United States, I was taught a geographical scheme comprising seven continents:

Africa (非洲), Antarctica (南极洲), Asia (亚洲), Australia (澳洲), Europe (欧洲), North America (北美洲), and South America (南美洲).

How do people in mainland China perceive the world continents? It seems quite different. For example, I have the impression that Oceania (大洋洲) dominates over Australia, while the subdivision of the Americas varies by model.

  • 1
    Historically there could have been concepts or a concept different from the Western demarcation, but for now the Chinese apply the same terminology: zh.wikipedia.org/zh-cn/%E6%B4%B2 Of course North vs. South America, or Oceania vs. Australia varies from author to author not only in China, but in other countries, too. There is no absolutely safe way to decide what is a continent. So this is not something special to the Chinese. – Drunken Master Jan 18 '16 at 22:40
  • @DrunkenMaster Hmm... I was hoping there would be one "authoritative" model so-to-speak, at least by standards of PRC public education (not that I know much about that). Thankfully, there is a more conventional and commonly used scheme. Guess the plurality is unavoidable. Thanks a lot for the response! – Corellian Jan 20 '16 at 21:35
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Geographically, Chinese people say seven continents, as you listed above, except Oceania(大洋洲), which stands for Australasia and almost all small islands in Pacific ocean.

  • Thanks. In the second half of your answer, are you just defining 大洋洲? Or is it also somehow included in the list of seven? – Corellian Jan 22 '16 at 3:52
  • Oceania is included. Australia or Australasia is not seen as a continent in China. P.S.: This is an official definition on almost all (if not all) occasions about natural geography in China. – Aurus Huang Jan 25 '16 at 9:03
  • So with purely physical geography, are there seven continents? I ask because if 大洋洲 includes both Asia and Australia by definition, then there must be something else I'm missing for it to match the English scheme in number. – Corellian Jan 25 '16 at 21:03
  • The definition of Oceania is Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. It should be noted that Papua belongs to Oceania, though West Papua belongs to Indonesia, a typical Asian country. – Aurus Huang Jan 27 '16 at 9:27

Your Answer

 

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.