I had this idea for a while in my mind.

It is known that Algeria in Chinese language is 阿尔及利亚, which is a direct translation from it's English equivalent.

In Arabic, Algeria is called الجزائر (Al-Jaza'ir).

My question is theoretically speaking : Is it possible to change the chinese name of Algeria to some other chinese equivalent that somewhat falls on the original name ? The first ideas that came to my mind were (Zhe-Zai-Er) or (Jia-Zai-Er) ? If so, how do we choose the Hanzi/Characters to represent the new name ?

A second question is related to Chinese diplomacy history : Did China deal with any form of Countries changing their diplomatic names before ?

3 Answers 3


A translation for this already exists:

“阿尔及尔”之名源自其阿拉伯语名称贾扎伊尔(الجزائر‎ al-Jazāʾir),含义是“群岛”,指以前该市海湾处的四个岛屿,1525年之后这四个岛逐渐和大陆连成一体。

The issues with the term “贾扎伊尔” in Chinese these days would be that it more specifically refers to the El Djazair port in Algiers.


Did China deal with any form of Countries changing their diplomatic names before ?

yes. first example is laos (lao people's democratic republic), the wiki page in chinese mentioned that:


roughly, in 1950s, mr 陳 (foreign minister was one of his post) decided to call lao as “老撾”, while taiwan & se asia chinese diaspora used the term “寮國”

the second example is seoul, the capital of south korea.


roughly, in 2005, the seoul metropolitan government assigned “首爾” as the official chinese name of seoul, and requested “chinese-speaking circle” to help


have fun :)


Yes it is definitely possible for the name to change.

However, for that change to be recognized it would usually be enacted by someone famous or an official body. If I today started calling it something else, the only effect would be no one recognizing it-- at least at first. If it became well known enough and others used it that would change things.

Many countries have had name changes in the past. Either official change, or an unofficial name that becomes well known enough to be in dictionaries etc. Usually these come directly from political relations, or famous people. Sometimes it is a nickname based on the counties name-- for example 美國 for united states of america is actually the equivalent of usa in english. Almost everyone uses this term, but the official full name its based on is 美利堅合眾國

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