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Monday, October 24, 2005

China to use 'Shouer' instead of 'Hancheng' for Seoul

Ohmynews article conveys the piece of news from the Chinese Xinhua news agency that the PRC government will start using "Shouer" (首尔/首爾) for Seoul, as promulgated by Seoul last January, and discard the old "Hancheng" (汉城/漢城). I couldn't (didn't have the skills to) locate the article that is being referred to, but according to Ohmy a Xinhua reporter had gotten a confirmation from the concerned government organ that China will change Chinese name for Seoul from 汉城 to 首尔. Xinhua also quoted a specialist saying that naming Seoul as "Shouer" (首尔) conforms both with the international practice and the Chinese practice of rendering foreign place names.

My earlier notes on the topic:
Making a new Chinese character name for Seoul (March 5, 2004)
Renaming "Seoul" in Chinese; the final nominees (July 20, 2004)
Seoul's new Chinese name for itself: Shouer (首尔/首爾) (January 27, 2005)

For media like Ohmynews, the most important (and concern) issue in the news here is not the Chinese decision but the points ("home run" in the Korean expression) that the mayor Lee Myung-bak might be able to score with this decision now that presidential candidates are being discussed, on top of the successfully finished Chyeonggyecheon project. (Not being able to give a personal opinion on it yet, my impression is that the overall opinion on the new Chyeonggyecheon has been positive.)

About the success of the Korean-led change of the Chinese name of Seoul, there were reports already soon after the promulgation of 首尔 that it would have gained some ground in the Chinese media (Ohmynews article on Feb 27, 2005). Could it be that the use of 首尔 would have meanwhile become widespread enough to alleviate the change of the official Chinese practice? From googling 首尔 韩国 I see for example that the Seoul National University is written as 国立首尔大学.

To be updated when more info is available.

Update, October 25, 2005

I don't have a Chinese source in a language of which I could understand more than phrases here and there, but at least I seem to have found the original Xinhua piece:
中国将启用汉城市中文新译名"首尔"; even though my ki (氣) is six feet below the ground when confronted with the hanmun (漢文) prowess of my blogger colleague Sanchon Hunjang, I'm still able to figure out from the title and the text that China is about to officially recognize 首尔 as the Chinese name of the South Korean capital. Other reports in the Chinese media only seem to use the Xinhua piece (like this one: 韩国首都中文译名改为“首尔”).

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