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zydecat
03-30-2001, 07:56 PM
I understand that Japanese people call their country Nippon. I believe that Chinese people don't actually call their country China. What do they call it? If the above statements are true, why do we insist on calling their countries something different? Where did the names come from? Are there other countries that we name differently than those who live there?

Smeghead
03-30-2001, 07:59 PM
I think they usually call it "here".

:D

msc75
03-30-2001, 08:01 PM
Nearly every country that speaks a different language that we do has a different name for their country in their own language. The former U.S.S.R. was the CCCP, for example, but don't ask me what that stands for. Sometimes things get lost in the translation. I've heard the name for China before, but I can't think of it right now.

BobT
03-30-2001, 08:05 PM
The official transliterated name is:
Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo

I'm guessing that's People's Republic of China in Mandarin, which is the official language.

MEBuckner
03-30-2001, 08:23 PM
Yes, according to the CIA (http://cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ch.html#Govt) "Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo" is Mandarin for "People's Republic of China". The Mandarin for China is "Zhong Guo".

friedo
03-30-2001, 08:27 PM
China was so named by Western explorers, who got there and noticed that the Chin family seemed to be in charge of things.

Informally, the Chinese just say "Zhong Guo". Which means literally, "middle kingdom."

Derleth
03-30-2001, 08:30 PM
msc75:
No, the Soviets never called the USSR the CCCP. They used the abbreviation SSSR, which stands for the Russian translation of United Soviet Socialist Republics. However, they usually spelled it in Cyrillic, the native alphabet of the Russian language. In that alphabet, our letter S resembles C and our letter R resembles P. So an approximation of the Cyrillic spelling of SSSR would look like 'CCCP' in our limited ASCII character set. An important distinction.

MEBuckner
03-30-2001, 08:31 PM
I just found this article (http://findarticles.com/m0WDQ/2000_June_12/62708644/p1/article.jhtml) which notes that there are two forms: "Zhongguo" and "Zhonghua". According to the article
Both expressions are translated in English as "China" or "Chinese." "Zhongguo," however, has been used in Chinese history to describe the Middle Kingdom or the Chinese state, while "Zhonghua" describes the Chinese nation in a wider cultural and ethnic sense.

zydecat
03-30-2001, 08:33 PM
I understand why we would have to write and english word to pronunciate the name. IMO "Zhong Guo" is not that hard to write or pronounce. Nippon is very easy also. Why do we insist on calling it something radically different? I'm guessing that Germans do not call their country Germany. There are probably dozens of names that I learned in grade school that are not "correct".

Are there any unusual names for the US that other countries use?

BobT
03-30-2001, 08:39 PM
Regarding Germany, you can get everything from Deutschland to Alemania to Germany and you don't even leave Europe doing that.

In English, we'll recognize most countries which use Romance, Germanic, or Scandinavian languages. However, countries like Suomi (Finland) or Magyar (Hungary) will stump us English speakers.

Zarathustra
03-30-2001, 08:39 PM
Are there any unusual names for the US that other countries use?

How 'bout The Great Satan?

Which makes me a Great Satanian, I guess . . .

Kayeby
03-30-2001, 08:45 PM
My parents call America Mei Guo (sp?). Could it possibly translate to "Beautiful Country"? Or am I getting the tones completely wrong? :)

friedo
03-30-2001, 08:50 PM
"Mei Guo" is just a phonetic approximation of "America." In written Chinese, the radical for Mei(beautiful) is the same as the one used in "Mei Guo," (IIRC, it's been a long long time) but it doesn't have the same meaning.

BobT
03-30-2001, 08:51 PM
My travel guide to China says that Mei Guo is about right for how the Chinese (Mandarin speaking) refer to the U.S.

However, my travel guides are silent on the other two big Pacific Rim countries: Korea and Japan, refer to the U.S.

Doobieous
03-30-2001, 08:54 PM
Originally posted by Derleth
msc75:
No, the Soviets never called the USSR the CCCP. They used the abbreviation SSSR, which stands for the Russian translation of United Soviet Socialist Republics. However, they usually spelled it in Cyrillic, the native alphabet of the Russian language. In that alphabet, our letter S resembles C and our letter R resembles P. So an approximation of the Cyrillic spelling of SSSR would look like 'CCCP' in our limited ASCII character set. An important distinction.

Well more accurately, Cyrillic is derived from the Uncial Greek Script (which is also probably where Coptic comes from). In the Uncial Greek script, the letter for the s sound is shaped like our letter C. Our C actually comes from the Etruscan way of writing G. G was devised by adding a vertical line to C.

I just had to comment because your wording implies Cyrillic is derived from the Latin Alphabet.

AETBOND417
03-30-2001, 09:04 PM
From the Qin (Chin) dynasty of the land.

BTW, my Chinese friend calls China "Zong Gua" (but then again I asked this in an IM and he isn't perfect in Mandarin).

Derleth
03-30-2001, 09:06 PM
Doobieous:
Where do I imply that Cyrillic is descended from, or in any way related to, the written language used in Rome? I was silent in from where Cyrillic was derived, or so I thought. I know Cyrillic derives from Greek. Heck, you figure that out the first time you see the two written languages side-by-side. Anyway, I would like to be enlightened as to where you saw the foul-up, so I don't do it again.

Derleth
03-30-2001, 09:40 PM
zydecat:
Cecil did a column on why Germany, in particular, has so many names. I think the basic ideas contained therein can be applied to most instances of name-changing.

The article: Why are there so many names for Germany, AKA Deutschland, Allemagne, etc.? (https://academicpursuits.us/classics/a2_162.html)

Azazel
03-30-2001, 11:46 PM
Also, does anyone know where "Bharat" (Indians' word for India) comes from or means?

Homer
03-31-2001, 02:00 AM
Originally posted by friedo
"Mei Guo" is just a phonetic approximation of "America." In written Chinese, the radical for Mei(beautiful) is the same as the one used in "Mei Guo," (IIRC, it's been a long long time) but it doesn't have the same meaning.



How's the intonation on that? Is it "Meh-ee-gwah"?

--Tim

friedo
03-31-2001, 02:14 AM
Originally posted by Homer
Originally posted by friedo
"Mei Guo" is just a phonetic approximation of "America." In written Chinese, the radical for Mei(beautiful) is the same as the one used in "Mei Guo," (IIRC, it's been a long long time) but it doesn't have the same meaning.



How's the intonation on that? Is it "Meh-ee-gwah"?

--Tim

It's more like MAY-gwaw.

Tansu
03-31-2001, 05:28 AM
In Mandarin, England is Ying guo. I am English is "Wo shi yingguoren"
IIRC, Germany is Deguo and France is Faguo. That's about all the Mandarin I know, apart from 'hello', 'my name is' and 'have you had lunch?' Also, because zhong means centre or middle, the revolutionary song 'Zhong fang hong' should really be translated as 'the centre is red', not 'the east is red' - although referring to China as the East makes more sense to Westerners.

Bharat comes from 'bharata varsha' - the land of the legendary King Bharata.

zydecat
03-31-2001, 08:34 AM
Aw man, my first question and Cecil has already covered something similar. I didn't realize that a single country had so many names.

If Montenegro should break off from Yugoslavia, what should we call it? I'm betting that the Montenegrans (?) would probably have a different name. Why not use it? If a Spanish person introduced themselves as Juan, why would you call him anything different? If Montenegro introduces themselves to the world as...., again why would we call them something else? Maybe I just crossed over into Great Debates or something.

TheLoadedDog
03-31-2001, 08:59 AM
Originally posted by Zarathustra
Are there any unusual names for the US that other countries use?

How 'bout The Great Satan?

Which makes me a Great Satanian, I guess . . .

I believe at the time of the 19th Century gold rushes, the Chinese called America "Gold Mountain", and Australia was "New Gold Mountain". Or maybe the other way around, I forgot. :)

Kamino Neko
03-31-2001, 09:05 AM
Originally posted by BobT
However, my travel guides are silent on the other two big Pacific Rim countries: Korea and Japan, refer to the U.S.

In Japan it's Amerika.

Timchik
03-31-2001, 10:39 AM
Originally posted by zydecat
...If Montenegro should break off from Yugoslavia, what should we call it? I'm betting that the Montenegrans (?) would probably have a different name...

Montenegro is Latin (Italian?) for Black Mountain. In Serbo-Croat (spoken in Montenegro, more or less) the name of the republic is Crna Gora, which translates as... Black Mountain.

Does this mean that Montenegro is known as Montnoir in France and Schwarzerberg in Germany? :)

Zarathustra
03-31-2001, 11:32 AM
Originally posted by TheLoadedDog
Originally posted by Zarathustra
Are there any unusual names for the US that other countries use?

How 'bout The Great Satan?

Which makes me a Great Satanian, I guess . . .

I believe at the time of the 19th Century gold rushes, the Chinese called America "Gold Mountain", and Australia was "New Gold Mountain". Or maybe the other way around, I forgot. :)

I thought "Gold Mountain" or "Old Gold Mountain" was always the name for San Francisco. Maybe in the popular mind, SF and the USA were interchangable.

Smeghead
03-31-2001, 12:39 PM
Well, I feel downright mundane, but in plain ol' Spanish, the US is called the Estados Unidos (or EU), which means, of course, United States. Those zany Latinos.

black rabbit
03-31-2001, 01:17 PM
More Mandarin phonetics:

Japan: Riben (jur-ben); the "ri" radical stands for the Sun, which makes sense.
Canada: Jianada (geeya-nah-dah)
Australia: can't remember the pinyin right now, but it's pronounced ow-da-li-ya.

Can't think of any more at the moment... that's what a night of cheap beer and habanero-induced diarrhea will do to you.

exchicagoan
04-01-2001, 01:54 AM
Montenegrans (?) would probably have a different name. Why not use it? If a Spanish person introduced themselves as Juan, why would you call him anything different? If Montenegro introduces themselves to the world as...., again why would we call them something else? Maybe I just crossed over into Great Debates or something. [/B][/QUOTE]

You did for me---the ELLIS ISLAND "name changing" thing. -----------HOW??--------
It's 1890, my name is Salvatore Battaglia, I'm standing in front of a desk and the clerk can neither say nor spell my name. Nor can I write it. So, the clerk writes down SAM BROCOLLI.---NOW:----will someone please explain to me how, even tho I KNOW WHAT MY NAME IS, I walk out of there saying--"my name is Sam Brocolli now". I certainly didn't read what he wrote down and writing it down doesn't make it so anyway.
I've never understood how a name could be changed like THAT.
Or is that really some kind of an immigration myth?

friedo
04-01-2001, 01:59 AM
Re: Ellis Island: You have to remember that at that time, most immigrants who came to the US wanted to assimilate and "become American," so many were willing to have their names mangled.

Yue Han
04-01-2001, 04:15 AM
Yeah, Zhongguo is actually pretty damn hard to pronounce. If you think it's easy, you're probably doing it wrong.

The zh/ phoneme doesn't exist in English except in a few words, like treasure. It's never found at the start of English words, but is used all the damn time in Chinese, a distinction it shares with the sound represented by c in pinyin, which actually sounds like the /ts/ from pets, and a few others. It's things like that (and the tonal system) that make Chinese a difficult language for English speakers.

Meiguo is the word for America and does mean beautiful country, although you wouldn't phrase it that way because you'd confuse everyone. Yingguo means wise nation. I thought at first that it was strange that Chinese compliments other nations but calls itself 'middle nation.'

Then I realized; zhong isn't just middle... it's CENTER. Like the Mediterranean Sea, the Chinese name for China declares it to be the center of the world.

--John

Doobieous
04-01-2001, 05:42 AM
In that alphabet, our letter S resembles C and our letter R resembles P.

That statement implies that Cyrillic /s/ is descended from our letter S. That is where your wording implied you were saying that Cyrillic derives from the Latin Alphabet (and yes, i know, you didnt mean it like that). A better wording would have been: "The letter for the sound of s in Cyrillic resembles the Latin C, and the letter for the sound of r resembles the Latin P".


And, just because i'm in a pedantic mood, Cyrillic is related to the Latin Script :D

Zarathustra
04-01-2001, 10:45 AM
Originally posted by Doobieous
In that alphabet, our letter S resembles C and our letter R resembles P.

That statement implies that Cyrillic /s/ is descended from our letter S. That is where your wording implied you were saying that Cyrillic derives from the Latin Alphabet (and yes, i know, you didnt mean it like that). A better wording would have been: "The letter for the sound of s in Cyrillic resembles the Latin C, and the letter for the sound of r resembles the Latin P".

There has to be a phrase describing someone who more or less deliberately misinterprets a phrase precisely by virtue of the fact that he's knowledgeable enough to know that what was written didn't express the original (correct) idea with 100% exactitude.

Oh yeah, it's called "showing off". Yawn. "Going off on a irrelevant tanget" also comes to mind.

LordDenning
04-01-2001, 12:32 PM
We of the Empire of Japan usually the nation of you Yanks as "amerika", as previously stated, but in the spirit of the thread, another name is "bei-koku", which is commonly known but not frequently used. "bei" is written with the kanji meaning "rice", and "koku" is written with the kanji meaning "country". I think the rice reference alludes to affluence, and not any particular level of consumption or production of the food product.

Plus, those of us who know better call our country "nihon".

Cerowyn
04-01-2001, 01:54 PM
Originally posted by Azazel
Also, does anyone know where "Bharat" (Indians' word for India) comes from or means?

Not off hand, except that Bharat Mata and Bharati are Hindu goddesses (as is Bharani).

Cerowyn
04-01-2001, 02:01 PM
Originally posted by Yue Han
I thought at first that it was strange that Chinese compliments other nations but calls itself 'middle nation.'

Then I realized; zhong isn't just middle... it's CENTER. Like the Mediterranean Sea, the Chinese name for China declares it to be the center of the world.

A professor once explained "Middle Kingdom" to me as referring to in-between Heaven and Earth. I found that to be an interesting interpretation.

Yue Han
04-01-2001, 03:16 PM
A correction on my post; (it was late, etc...) The sound in treasure and the /zh/ in zhong don't exactly match up either... it's really more halfway between a j and that sound.

--John

furryman
04-01-2001, 03:19 PM
I got a letter from Iceland that called America "Bindarkini" That sounds like a small European country.:)
Personally I think explorers are either patially deaf of monumentally egotistical.
Vienna=Vien
Cologne=Koln

John Kentzel-Griffin
04-01-2001, 03:49 PM
[Archie Bunker]
They don't call it notin'. They don't speak English.
[/Archie Bunker]

China Guy
04-05-2001, 07:11 AM
Really it's called the People's Republic of China. Although, every one in China calls it "zhong guo". "zhong" is "middle" or "central" and "Guo" is "country" "state" or "nation". Usually you see it translated as "Central Kingdom", which is a leftover from a few hundred years ago. Remember this is a supposedly communist country and the last real emperor was either Puyi ("The Last Emporer"), Mao or his widow Jiang Qing. None of the current players come close.

Sublight
04-05-2001, 09:38 AM
Originally posted by Tengu
In Japan it's Amerika.[/B]
Well, yeah, but there's also another name for it just using Kanji: Beikoku. The characters used translate as "Rice country." Kinda strange considering their import restrictions.

Other Japanese country names:
China -- Chuugoku (Middle country)
Korea -- Kankoku (which apparently just means "Korea")
France -- Furansu or Fukkoku (Buddha country)
England -- Igirisu or Eikoku (Excellent country)
Germany -- Doitsu or Dokkoku (Alone or Independent country)
Italy -- Itaria or Ikoku (Italian country)
Spain -- Supein or Seikoku (West country)

As for the Korean names, is there an Astroboy14 in the house?

--sublight.

DSYoungEsq
04-05-2001, 10:21 AM
Random thoughts on the postings to this point:

One reason we have different words or pronounciations for the place names of other countries is because, to some extent, all people get a bit ethnocentric about their language. Thus, where it would be just as easy to call the Italian capital Roma, which is precisely what the Italians call it, we call it Rome, which fits our pronounciation tendencies, avoiding a terminating vowel sound and using the 'e' to make the 'o' say its name. Similarly, even though we still spell the French capital correctly, we don't bother to pronounce it correctly, and if you tried to convince the average American that he should pronounce 'is' as a long-'e', he or she would think you had escaped from some local asylum.

Complicating this are situations where the common phonemes in the language of another country aren't found in the 'home' tongue. This, of course, often leads to mutilation of the 'native' names, or more often outright refusal to use them. This is quite often the case with China and Chinese place names.

On still other occaisions, rather than use a foreign word that is meaningless, the place name will get translated to an English equivalent. I could be wrong, but I think China provides another example of this with the 'Yellow' River.

The Russian name for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was, amazingly enough, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I won't attempt the English transliteration of the Russian words, but it would come out abbreviated SSSR. As was pointed out, the letters in the Cyrillic alphabet that correspond look like CCCP, pronounced 'ess ess ess ehr'. Amazingly, we called the country by the right name, likely the result of its relatively recent creation as a name.

Doobieous is 100% incorrect when making the assertion that the statement by Derleth implied a derivative relationship between the Latin letters S and R and the Cyrillic letters 'C' and 'P'. The statement used the word 'resembles', which implies no relationship except a visual similarity. It doesn't imply either an orthographic or a linguistic relationship (though the linguistic relationship certainly exists). If Doobieous thinks it did, then Doobieous is making an unwarranted inference. And if one was to make any inference regarding derivation, one would have to go the other way, and think the statement implied that our letter derived from their letter. Hmmph. So there.

toadspittle
04-05-2001, 10:29 AM
Originally posted by exchicagoan
What's so difficult about Munchen/Napoli/Roma?

Of course, "Napoli" is a bastardization of the original name of the Greek colony, Neopolis. So "Naples" is no worse, IMO.

Floater
04-05-2001, 10:40 AM
Originally posted by BobT
In English, we'll recognize most countries which use Romance, Germanic, or Scandinavian languages. However, countries like Suomi (Finland) ... will stump us English speakers.

On the other hand: the country is called Finland in Swedish, which happens to be one of the two official languages.

Morrison's Lament
05-13-2001, 03:47 PM
As a sidenote, I was told by reliable sources that the phrase "Wo Bu Shir Mei Guo Ren" gets you better prices in the San Li Tun area.
It literally means "I'm not American", but among seasoned merchants in the capitol it basically means "I'm not a sucker".
:D

--- G. Raven

erislover
05-14-2001, 06:07 AM
Originally posted by exchicagoan
I've never understood how a name could be changed like THAT.
Or is that really some kind of an immigration myth?
No. A rose by any other name, eh? Americanized names were very common. The original Russion of my last name is lost to those wacky Ellis Island guys, and my relatives never talked about it. Wouldn't even speak the Russian/Polish they were raised on unless they couldn't express it in English. "We are in America now, and we speak English."

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