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Say It Right Series

weird country names

Posted by baifameizhong November 19, 2008 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: country, names

Hi everybody

As many of you surely know many of the countries when translated into Chinese are based on how it sounds when pronounced in English or the country's language. That's why England get's the name 英国 and America 美国 .Usually the characters are not meant in their original meaning but are only there to fit the sound. So the 美 doesn't necessarily mean beautiful 美国.

I, however, am from Switzerland and just like we have a special treatment for banks and political status, we seem to get special treatment with the Chinese word for Switzerland: 瑞士 (rui4 shi4). To me that pronounciation doesn't fit the pronounciation to Switzerland in any of the languages that might make sense (English, German, French, Italian...).

 

Does anyone else know of countries where the Chinese doesn't appear to make much sense, i.e. come from the pronounciation? And, maybe even more importantly, does anyone know where the pronounciation DOES come from?

 

David

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