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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Renaming "Seoul" in Chinese; the final nominees

This is very old news already, as the final two candidates for the new Chinese-character name for Seoul were announced already at the end of May, but I missed it then, and came to think of it only recently. (I have earlier posts on the subject here and here.) The metropolitan Seoul site I quoted earlier has not been updated for ages, so I had to do a search KINDS database, where I could find a few articles from late May (for example Hankyoreh and Munhwa Ilbo, May 22, 2004).

The final two candidates are 首爾 (Shŏuĕr/Shou3Er3) and 首午爾 (shŏwŭĕr/shou3wu3er3). Note that the last character in the two proposals is an unsimplified one: the correct forms for mainland China should be 首尔 and 首午尔 - are we going to see them presented to the PRC government and others for acceptance in that form?

I can't find any English-language Chinese commentary on the name change project; for those who read Chinese (I don't, except recognizing whole bunch of characters and words here and there), here's a Google search on 首午尔 首尔.

See a post from January 2005 about the selection of 首尔/首爾 (Shŏuĕr/Shou3Er3).

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Comments to note "Renaming "Seoul" in Chinese; the final nominees" (Comments to posts older than 14 days are moderated)

<Anonymous Anonymous> said on 22.1.05 : 

You want some Chinese comments? I can give you some. I am Chinese, and I read many Chinese comments on Chinese forums. Most of us think it is ridiculous and stupid, to be frank. You can not throw us a new name and make us to use it. After all, it's us who use Chinese language, not you. As to the Hancheng means 'Chinese city', that's pure stupidity. 'Han' has many meanings in Chinese. I used the word 'Hancheng' for so many years and it never occured to me it means 'Chinese city'. One thing I do remember about the name is a riddle game we played in middle school. 'Which city has no women?' The answer is 'Hanghceng', because it can mean 'men's city'. This riddle always goes together with another one. 'Which city has no men?' The answer is 'Wuhan', a city in central China. Because it can mean 'no men'.

<Anonymous Anonymous> said on 16.11.05 : 

Well, there's a similar counterpart in English. Originally, 'Beijing' was 'Peking' in English. But we changed our spelling and pronunciation to become more in line with the current (Mandarin) Chinese pronunciation. I think it is just a matter of being considerate. The Koreans have even done this, adopting 'Be-i-jing,' 'Sang-ha-i,' and 'Hong-Kong' among others instead of the Sino-Korean pronunciations 'Buk-kyeong,' 'Sang-hae,' and 'Hyang-hang.'

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