Saw this on Twitter:

yes

4 new elements = 4 new Chinese characters (since every new element generally gets a newly-invented character).

Then, I found this article which says:

化学元素周期表原子序113的新元素将命名为“Nihonium”,元素符号为“Nh”,“Nihon”是“日本”的日语发音,中文名称则尚未决定。

How are new element names/characters decided?

  • Depends on type of element,new element will use the following Chinese affix for those element. In fact, there is many Chinese such ancient character that might fit in the sound pronounciation or characteristic.. gas : 气 metal : 金 non-metal mineral : 石 liquid :水 – mootmoot Dec 6 '16 at 13:47
  • Nihonium is synthetic chemical elements, if there is such character 石霓, and not conflict with other usage, otherwise next closes character will be chosen. – mootmoot Dec 6 '16 at 13:59
up vote 6 down vote accepted

4 new elements = 4 new Chinese characters? I also know that 4 new elements = 4 new English words.

Actually these new elements have no relationship with China:

113: Nihonium (Nh) is from Nihon, another name of Japan.

115: Moscovium (Mc) comes from the city name Moscow.

117: Tennessine(Ts) comes from Tennessee.

118: Oganesson (Og) comes from Russian physicist Yuri Oganessian (1933-).

So how is a new element are named in Chinese? Here's Official standards from 全国科学技术名词审定委员会:

化学元素的符号是国际通用的,化学元素的命名由于语种的不同,会有较大的差异。化学元素名称的汉译,自晚清开始译入到21世纪的今天,历经了百年,形成了化学元素自有的中文定名原则:

(1)根据尽量少造新字的原则,在元素定名需要造字时,尽量选用已有的古字。

(2)选用或新造汉字应符合国家汉字规范。

(3)符合以形声字为主体的汉字书写特点,以体现元素的性质,发音靠近国际命名。

(4)避免与以前的元素名称同音,避免用多音字。

(5)使用简化字,避免用怪异字,选用笔画少的字。

(6)为了避免歧义,选字应尽量避开生活常用字和已经用做其他行业专用字的汉字。

(7)尽量采用繁简无差别的字,以利于海峡两岸和汉语圈科技术语的统一。

If you want to know more about how CHINESE name of new elements are decided, check out 全国科学技术名词审定委员会 Official Site.

P.S. They are collecting new names of these 4 new elements. If you have good idea, also check out this website to submit your name suggestions.

  • 1
    I would suggest using 鈤(Nh)、镆(Mc)、钿(Ts) and creating a new character 【钅奥】(Og). – wks Dec 8 '16 at 1:00

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