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On Pleco, there are two entries for the word Silicon Valley, 硅谷 and 矽谷.

One is 硅谷, the other is 矽谷.

What is the difference between the two?

  • If you have purchased KEY for Pleco it would show too that 矽谷 is {TW usage} Silicon Valley. – user3306356 Mar 6 '18 at 8:12
  • @user3306356 What is the KEY? – Blaszard Mar 6 '18 at 8:13
  • A dictionary add-on store.pleco.com/products.php?ios=1 KEY Chinese-English Dictionary - $19.99 (version 3 only) Up-to-date and very comprehensive Chinese-English dictionary with over 280,000 entries (but no examples); adapted from the PC software of the same name. Probably better to purchase it in app though. – user3306356 Mar 6 '18 at 8:15
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「硅」(Pinyin guī) is the Mainland Chinese word for silicon, while「矽」(Pinyin ) is the Taiwan and Hong Kong word for silicon. This difference in the word for silicon transfers over to their respective names for Silicon Valley as well.


From Japanese Wikipedia; top character is PRC chemical element name, bottom character is Taiwan chemical name.

enter image description here

  1. ランタノイド: Lanthanide series
  2. アクチノイド: Actinide series

(Don't know why English and Chinese Wikipedia doesn't provide this naming difference periodic table between PRC and Taiwan)

  • Thanks and now I got confused. So is 矽 traditional character? – Blaszard Mar 6 '18 at 7:01
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    @Blaszard no,「硅」and「矽」are different words that are synonyms. (1)「硅」came from a larger effort to turn all characters representing solid non-metal elements at room temperature and standard pressure to have the「石」radical (a similar change occurred with phosphorus, 燐 -> 磷).「硅」was originally written「珪」(Japanese kei, Pinyin guī), which was an ancient unused Chinese character repurposed by Japan to phonetically transcribe the Dutch word keiaarde, the early 19th century Dutch name for silicon. (2)「矽」was an invented character to phonetically match the English word silicon. – dROOOze Mar 6 '18 at 8:36
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    @Blaszard PRC and Taiwan just use entirely different words for silicon,「硅」and「矽」are not traditional/simplified character variants of each other. Modern chemistry was introduced not that long before the Chinese civil war, and continued to be developed by PRC and Taiwan separately after the ROC fled to Taiwan, so it's natural that they would have different words for some of the chemical elements. – dROOOze Mar 6 '18 at 8:47

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