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  #1  
Old 11-09-2004, 05:35 PM
Charlie Tan Charlie Tan is offline
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Why Beijing but not München?

I guess it was in the 80's when Peking suddenly was transformed to Beijing. Bombay might have been less succesful in changing to Mumbay and for all I know, it's only the Greeks that call their country Hellas.
Why was it so important to change Peking, when Roma is still Rome, München is still Munich, Köln is still Cologne and Nippon is still Japan?
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  #2  
Old 11-09-2004, 05:46 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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And it's kinda funny that it's still "Peking Duck" on the menu, and not Beijing Duck...
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  #3  
Old 11-09-2004, 05:56 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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My understanding ( and China Guy or some other more knowledgeable person can correct me if I'm off ) is that it just reflects a change from Wade-Giles transliteration to Pinyin, which has been ongoing for some years.

In other words everybody, including China, upgraded to a ( arguably ) superior system of Romanizing Chinese.

- Tamerlane
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  #4  
Old 11-09-2004, 06:58 PM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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And IIRC, Bombay used to be called Bombay in India too, not just in England/the USA/wherever. The change to Mumbai happened at the same time for everyone; it wasn't a case of "they call it Mumbai but we still say Bombay".

My local curry house does not yet feature "Chicken Chennai" on its menu, though.
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  #5  
Old 11-09-2004, 07:39 PM
roger thornhill roger thornhill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Gaspode
I guess it was in the 80's when Peking suddenly was transformed to Beijing. Bombay might have been less succesful in changing to Mumbay and for all I know, it's only the Greeks that call their country Hellas.
Why was it so important to change Peking, when Roma is still Rome, München is still Munich, Köln is still Cologne and Nippon is still Japan?
Actually, the Chinese government made the name change in 1958 - it's just taken time for the change to trickle down. What many people still don't understand is that "-jing" is not pronounced in the French style (with a soft "j" - "Beigeing"), but with a hard "j" (as in "jingle").

Nice story about Munich. A bloke was telling his mate that locals didn't pronounce it with a "k" as the end, but with the "ch" sound as in the Scottish "loch".

Nice example of a name being disputed for political reasons is happening right now on the BBC World Service. All the staff there use "Burma", while many of their interlocutors in interviews use "Myanmar". Sometimes you get distracted from the content of their interaction by the jousting going on over the name, as each side religiously reformulates the other side's "incorrect" usage with their own "correct" one.
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  #6  
Old 11-09-2004, 07:59 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roger thornhill
What many people still don't understand is that "-jing" is not pronounced in the French style (with a soft "j" - "Beigeing"), but with a hard "j" (as in "jingle").
I don't think it's necessarily ignorance that causes this, but simply the fact that the soft J is easier for anglophones to pronounce.
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  #7  
Old 11-09-2004, 08:58 PM
roger thornhill roger thornhill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
I don't think it's necessarily ignorance that causes this, but simply the fact that the soft J is easier for anglophones to pronounce.
??
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  #8  
Old 11-09-2004, 09:22 PM
Hemlock Hemlock is offline
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IMO... It's a sign of low self-esteem and inferiority complex to insist that foreigners pronounce/write your country's placenames your way. China, India and Burma all have anti-Western, anti-Colonial, nationalist chips on their shoulders, and getting us to rearrange words in our own language like Peking, Bombay or Rangoon makes them feel good. It's a way of self-assertion.

Indeed, maybe they should have been flattered. I would argue that there must be something special about a place if foreigners have evolved their own words for it. Europeans don't object to The Hague, Munich, Rome, Athens etc, nor do people get upset by the French Londres or Nouvelle Orleans.

Also, it's not consistent. For a while, China tried to get everyone else to call it "Zhongguo", but they gave that up years ago. Peking University has never changed its English name. This place is still not Xianggang.

For a slight twist on the principle, notice how we're now supposed to call Ivory Coast Cote d'Ivoire???
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  #9  
Old 11-09-2004, 09:25 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Quote:
??
Hard Js tend to get softened when in the middle of words (eg 'showjumping').

Quote:
For a slight twist on the principle, notice how we're now supposed to call Ivory Coast Cote d'Ivoire???
There's stacks of threads explaining this.
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  #10  
Old 11-09-2004, 09:33 PM
roger thornhill roger thornhill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
Hard Js tend to get softened when in the middle of words (eg 'showjumping').
You tractor boys must pronounce things differently from the rest of us.
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  #11  
Old 11-09-2004, 09:37 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roger thornhill
You tractor boys must pronounce things differently from the rest of us.
Nope, I'm serious. It's one of those quirks of pronunciation that's so ingrained it's hard to hear it even when you try - like the two different pronunciations of 'the'.
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  #12  
Old 11-10-2004, 06:40 AM
charizard charizard is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamerlane
My understanding ( and China Guy or some other more knowledgeable person can correct me if I'm off ) is that it just reflects a change from Wade-Giles transliteration to Pinyin, which has been ongoing for some years.
It's more related to the adoption of Mandarin as the official language in China. Most early exposure that the Western world had was to Cantonese-speaking people.

We've seen other usages change over the past couple of decades for the same reason - I've even seen references in the Western media to Mao Zedong (nee: Mao Tse-tung) and Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek)
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  #13  
Old 11-10-2004, 09:22 AM
Coil Coil is offline
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Originally Posted by The Gaspode
and for all I know, it's only the Greeks that call their country Hellas.
I believe the Norwegians also say Hellas. I've got no other cite than the fact that one Norwegian I know says it.
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  #14  
Old 11-10-2004, 12:35 PM
Shirley Ujest Shirley Ujest is offline
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My boss was from Germany and I asked her this very question. She figured it was because the Yanks/Brits could not pronounce it correctly and had to Anglo-cize it to make it seem less foreign.


Then you have:

Milan - Milano.

Rome - Roma.

Florence - Virenza

France, Netherlands, Scandanavia all seem to be the same Engrish wise. So maybe it has something to do with the Romantic Languages. Though, German cannot every be accused of being a romance language, however, Rome did have control over Germania eons ago and maybe that has something to do with it.

It's a mystery best left to historians and language type people.


ASAIK, Mumbai was Mumbai before the British took control of India for, what, a hundred years or so? It reverted from Bombay to Mumbai to reflect India's pride and indepence and not a jewel in the British Crown. That's my take on it.



/I'm talking out of my butt, so never mind me.
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  #15  
Old 11-10-2004, 02:07 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirley Ujest
Florence - Virenza
Correction - Firenze

And it's hardly as if England was the only country in Europe to create translations of place names - London/Londres/Londra is enough to show it's a two-way street. Everybody was happy to modify common placenames to fit their own speech patterns. However, they did it as equals. When it's part of colonial history, the connotations are very different.
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  #16  
Old 11-10-2004, 02:25 PM
Charlie Tan Charlie Tan is offline
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The thing is, Mumbai/Bombay was essentially founded by colonial forces, first the Portuguese, then the English.

I think Hemlock is onto something, underlined by the last post by GM.
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  #17  
Old 11-10-2004, 03:19 PM
august9 august9 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirley Ujest
...
France, Netherlands, Scandanavia all seem to be the same Engrish wise.
...
København: Copenhagen, Copenhaque, Kopenhagen


Quote:
Originally Posted by Coil
I believe the Norwegians also say Hellas. I've got no other cite than the fact that one Norwegian I know says it.
Well, I've been told so too - by a greek-norwegian tour guide. She also told us that greeks generally preferred this name to Greece, Greque, Griechenland, Grækenland, etc.
I like prefer the name "Hellas" too - if not for anything else, at least it sounds nicer and there's a sort of historical ring to it, that "Greece" hasn't. And it isn't even hard to spell or pronounce.
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  #18  
Old 11-10-2004, 04:11 PM
Roches Roches is offline
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The change of Bombay's name to Mumbai was led by the right-wing Shiv Sena party and its leader (at the time) Bal Thackeray, who has openly stated that he admires Hitler. Shiv Sena is a pro-Hindu party that opposes colonial and Muslim influences. Ironically, Thackeray's name is an Anglicization of his Marathi name, Thakre. It's true that the name Bombay was associated with colonialism, but I'd suggest that people look a bit further into why the name was changed before using the new name.

I understand that it's appropriate to change the name used for a city or country in English when it's the name the local people use, but I'm a bit troubled when it's done for political reasons. For example, 'Democratic Republic of the Congo' instead of 'Zaire' (or 'Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya' instead of 'Libya') are politicized name changes put in place by less-than-democratic leaders.

European cities generally are referred to by their long-established English names, though in some cases this seems to be changing. The German city which in English is called 'Cologne' is more and more often referred to as 'Köln' in the news. Sometimes, Anglicized names are used because the local name is difficult to pronounce in English; Köln and München both have vowel sounds that don't exist in English. Asian names are usually pronounced in an Anglicized manner, without taking into account unaspirated initial plosives, for example, or sounds that don't exist in English.
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  #19  
Old 11-10-2004, 05:11 PM
Excalibre Excalibre is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamerlane
My understanding ( and China Guy or some other more knowledgeable person can correct me if I'm off ) is that it just reflects a change from Wade-Giles transliteration to Pinyin, which has been ongoing for some years.

In other words everybody, including China, upgraded to a ( arguably ) superior system of Romanizing Chinese.

- Tamerlane
Not really; "Beijing" would have been something like "Peiching" in Wade-Giles (forgive me if I'm slightly off: I don't really know Wade-Giles transcription.) "Peking" was a leftover from colonial days and to my knowledge it came, as stated above, from the Cantonese pronunciation. (Same goes with Nanking/Nanjing.) I'm not sure exactly what motivated us over here to switch our spelling (and pronunciation), but it most likely went along with the shift from WG to Pinyin. The PRC started using Pinyin spellings in all its publications, so Chou En-Lai became Zhou Enlai, and so on.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
Nope, I'm serious. It's one of those quirks of pronunciation that's so ingrained it's hard to hear it even when you try - like the two different pronunciations of 'the'.
Relatively smart armchair linguist speaking here: I do not make a /3/ sound when I speak j sounds in the middle of words (what's "showjumping" anyway?) It's definitely an affricate, not a fricative, in every example I can think of. I've always wondered exactly why we pronounce it /bei '3IN/ instead of /bei 'd3IN/, but neither one is actually correct. The Mandarin sound written "j" in Pinyin is an affricate produced on the palate, not on the alveolum like the English "j". It has a slightly softer sound, to me. But I wouldn't sweat pronunciation of it, because like I said, we're not getting it right anyhow.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
Correction - Firenze
Which is interesting, since the English (and French) "Florence" is closer to its original sound. In Italian, consonant clusters with Ls in them changed so that, for instance, Spanish has "blanca" while Italian has "bianca". Same for "flor"-"fior", "plaza"-"piazza", and a million others. So the English word has actually stayed the same while the Italian one has changed. It's the Italians who don't know how to talk right, not us.
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  #20  
Old 11-10-2004, 05:21 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Excalibre
Relatively smart armchair linguist speaking here: I do not make a /3/ sound when I speak j sounds in the middle of words (what's "showjumping" anyway?) It's definitely an affricate, not a fricative, in every example I can think of. I've always wondered exactly why we pronounce it /bei '3IN/ instead of /bei 'd3IN/, but neither one is actually correct. The Mandarin sound written "j" in Pinyin is an affricate produced on the palate, not on the alveolum like the English "j". It has a slightly softer sound, to me. But I wouldn't sweat pronunciation of it, because like I said, we're not getting it right anyhow.
No idea what most of this means (but hey, you're still stuck on showjumping )....nonetheless I'm glad that even the people who like to correct us may not be correct.
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  #21  
Old 11-10-2004, 06:07 PM
Capt B. Phart Capt B. Phart is offline
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Where does Vienna for Wien come from? - It sounds strangely Italian to me
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  #22  
Old 11-10-2004, 06:11 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Originally Posted by Capt B. Phart
Where does Vienna for Wien come from? - It sounds strangely Italian to me
IIRC the adjective is Wiener, which is very close to the English pronunciation.
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  #23  
Old 11-10-2004, 06:15 PM
matt_mcl matt_mcl is offline
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I believe "Vienna" is the Latin name.
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  #24  
Old 11-10-2004, 06:16 PM
matt_mcl matt_mcl is offline
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Oh, wait, that's not right, the Latin name is "Vindobona." My guess is that it came from the French "Vienne," which is pretty much pronounced just like "Wien," with the extra "a" added because English tends to have a's at the end of place names where French has silent e's, as in Barcelona/Barcelone, Geneva/Genève, and so forth.
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  #25  
Old 11-10-2004, 11:01 PM
roger thornhill roger thornhill is offline
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Here's an amusing take on the mispronunciation of the Chinese capital, plus follow-up.

The consensus from native speakers in the office is that "Bei-jing" ("jing" as in jingle) is a much better approximation to the actual pronunciation than the French-style "Bei-geing", although "Bei-dzing" is closer still.

Regarding Republican leader Chiang Kai-shek (incidentally, just one of the various different names he used), the romanization is particularly interesting, as it combines rendering of the Mandarin (Chiang [Wade-Giles], rendered in Pinyin as Jiang; but Cheung in Cantonese) with rendering of the Cantonese (Kai-shek; Jieshi in Pinyin, as charizard notes). Such linguistic hybridization reflects the time and place when this name became established: the Republicans were based at the time (the 1910s) in Guangzhou (old Canton), where of course Cantonese was spoken.

Incidentally, Mao Tse-tung is just the Wade-Giles (Mandarin) version of the Great Helmsman's name. Since he, like Chiang, had strutted most of his stuff before 1958, when Pinyin was adopted, he typically stays in his Wade-Giles incarnation.

The Cantonese version of the Chairman is usually rendered Mou Jaak Dung, following Sidney Lau's system of romanization of Cantonese.
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  #26  
Old 11-10-2004, 11:52 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
Correction - Firenze
I always thought Fiorentina was Florence..
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  #27  
Old 11-11-2004, 12:06 AM
matt_mcl matt_mcl is offline
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That would be the adjectival form: Florentine.
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  #28  
Old 11-11-2004, 12:48 AM
Sternvogel Sternvogel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirley Ujest
France, Netherlands, Scandanavia all seem to be the same Engrish wise. So maybe it has something to do with the Romantic Languages. Though, German cannot every be accused of being a romance language, however, Rome did have control over Germania eons ago and maybe that has something to do with it.
Italian (the national origin of the examples you used) is a Romance language, but so is French. Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian are the other major ones. There are also Catalán, Provençal, "and many more" (to echo the phrase popularized by "Fifty Super Hits of the Seventies" commercials).

Germany is the English name of a country that's Deutschland in its own native tongue, Alemánia in Spanish, and cognates of the Spanish term in other Romance languages. Except for Italian, whose speakers identify the nation by the Germania designation you mentioned.

Then there's Switzerland,, also known as Suisse, Schweiz, and Svizzera in (respectively) French, German, and Italian. Those are three of the country's official languages (the obscure Romansch, a Rhaeto-Romantic dialect, is the fourth). Rather than clog its stamps with all these different versions of its name, however, the country opts for neutrality with the Latin Helvetia, which historically referred only to the western part of Switzerland. Still, it explains why the suffix for Swiss web sites is .ch -- the letters stand for Confoederatio Helvetica, or Helvetic Confederation.

Wonder if any Dopers from Bharat, Magyarorszag, or Suomi (to name just a few) would care to add their contributions to this discussion...
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  #29  
Old 11-11-2004, 03:01 AM
WonJonSoup WonJonSoup is offline
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I still wonder how the Guangdong province of China picked up the name Canton. I can kind of see how it probably came from the Cantonese/Mandarin pronunciation, but which colonial power was it that got it all the way to "Canton?"

Interestingly enough, the Japanese and Koreans apparently use the old English pronunciation for Beijing and Hong Kong, as in "Peck-king," and "Hong Kong." Just kind of interesting to me because the Japanese have the Chinese characters for those cities, but use the English pronunciation instead of either the Chinese pronunciation or even their own pronunciations for the individual characters.
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  #30  
Old 11-13-2004, 12:42 PM
China Guy China Guy is offline
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First, I'm pretty sure that most of the older names/romanization had at least roots in wade-giles. The problem is that wade-giles was for linguists, and of course the newspapers and other popular press did not include the apostrophe, which denoted an aspiration mark. For example, K' was pronounced like "K" and "K" (no apostrophe was pronounced like "J" as in "jingle". Therefore, one sees Nanking and although the words are pronounced like "Nanjing." If one wanted Nanking to sound like Nanking, then it should have been written as Nank'ing.

Taiwan also used some sort of Wade Giles derivative, and that's why most westerners refer to the capital as Taipei 台北 when the pinyin would be Taibei and very close to how it is pronounced in Chinese. Earlier name for Beijing was actually "Beiping" 北平 or "northern peace" rather than "Beijing/northern capital". Remember, Beijing was primarily the capital of invading overlords rather than the Chinese capital of China for significant parts of Chinese history. "Peiping" romanization was still used occaisionally in Taiwan through the 1980's.

Oddly enough, Taiwan now uses pinyin rather than their old wade giles derivative romanization system.

The other romanization that was used but never became popular was Yale. That was basically romanizing in a way that made a certain amount of sense to native English speakers who were not linguists. Never really took off.

Finally, to get to the OP, the news wire services and print adopted pinyin as their system for Chinese romanization system IIRC in 1980 or 1981. A big announcement was made by the news services, and today that's pretty much what one sees. There are still a few exceptions such as China, and the names of prominent leaders such as Mao Tse-tung and Chiang Kai-shek (this is actually a Cantonese name). You also see it on the obsequitous Chinese beer "Tsingtao", which in pinyin should be "Qingdao." Again, Tsingtao was a historic name and a few of these still float around (any other non-beer reference to "tsingtao" is romanized as "qingdao").
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  #31  
Old 11-13-2004, 12:46 PM
Quartz Quartz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
Hard Js tend to get softened when in the middle of words (eg 'showjumping').
Are you confusing England with Poland? The J in showjumping is hard. For a soft J we have Y.
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  #32  
Old 11-13-2004, 01:00 PM
lee lee is offline
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It is not just lazyness that gets Beijing mispronounced. A friend of mine is a linguist and thought that I was wrong for saying the hard j and not the zh that most use. He certainly can say it correctly but did not realize the correct pronunciation. I learned watching an interview with someone who pointed out that this was a common error.
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  #33  
Old 11-13-2004, 01:35 PM
Tapioca Dextrin Tapioca Dextrin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirley Ujest
France, Netherlands, Scandanavia all seem to be the same Engrish wise.

I'm talking out of my butt, so never mind me.
The Scandinavian countries of Suomi, Norge, Sverige and Danmark, Nedeland and France. I think Deutchland and Oestreich squeeze in unchanged, too.
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  #34  
Old 11-13-2004, 03:20 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quartz
The J in showjumping is hard.
It's a hard J, but not the same as in eg blackjack (where it follows a consonant).
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  #35  
Old 11-13-2004, 04:38 PM
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The Bombay-Mumbai change hasn't been all that successful only because those people who had always called the city Bombay continue to do so, and the same applies to Mumbai.

Now that I think about it, I really have no clue about the origins of the name Bharat. It is the Hindi name for India, and I'm sure a few other Indian languages also use Bharat as well. Other Indian languages may have different names for it too. Hindustan was used fairly commonly a few decades ago, but no one really uses that name anymore.
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  #36  
Old 11-13-2004, 04:56 PM
Excalibre Excalibre is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by China Guy
For example, K' was pronounced like "K" and "K" (no apostrophe was pronounced like "J" as in "jingle". Therefore, one sees Nanking and although the words are pronounced like "Nanjing." If one wanted Nanking to sound like Nanking, then it should have been written as Nank'ing.
Uh-uh. K meant "G" (the hard kind) and K' meant "K" - the difference between the two sounds in Chinese is one of aspiration (the /g/ in English is unaspirated and voiced, and /k/ is aspirated and unvoiced. Both are unvoiced in Chinese, but pronouncing pinyin "G" as /g/ and "K" as /k/ is close enough). The "J" thing has to do with the fact that older "K" initials turned in some circumstances to "J" sounds in Mandarin, but remained the same in Cantonese and most other dialects. Nanjing has always, IIRC, been a Mandarin-speaking area, but I believe this change is recent and the spelling may actually just reflect the older pronunciation.

The Mandarin "J" is why Canada is Jianada in Mandarin, when it's something like "Kanada" in Cantonese. The middle syllable in the Mandarin word for Chicago is "jia" as well, and also "ka" in Cantonese. But "K" was never used to write a "J" sound.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ChinaGuy
Oddly enough, Taiwan now uses pinyin rather than their old wade giles derivative romanization system.
Don't think that's true. They recently invented a more modern romanization to replace Wade-Giles, but while it's similar to pinyin, it's not identical. I'm sure it's heavily based on pinyin, but the Taiwanese of course have to make sure it's quite clear that they don't support anything the PRC has ever done, so they can't use pinyin.
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  #37  
Old 11-14-2004, 10:21 AM
smaft smaft is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
It's a hard J, but not the same as in eg blackjack (where it follows a consonant).
It's a good thing I'm not at work- everyone would think I'm insane for saying, "showjumping, blackjack" over and over.* I do not hear or feel any difference between the two Js. What am I missing here?

*Like they need another excuse.
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  #38  
Old 11-14-2004, 01:49 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Try dropping the K from blackjack - the J changes from being close to 'ch', to more like 'dg'. A more obvious example of how we change sounds according to context is "The owl and the pussycat." Try saying "Thuh owl and thee pussycat" - the two different sounds for 'the' are swapped, making it sound strange and feel awkward.
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  #39  
Old 11-14-2004, 02:16 PM
ouryL ouryL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapioca Dextrin
The Scandinavian countries of Suomi, Norge, Sverige and Danmark, Nedeland and France. I think Deutchland and Oestreich squeeze in unchanged, too.
Oesterreich
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  #40  
Old 11-14-2004, 02:58 PM
Shrinking Violet Shrinking Violet is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
Try dropping the K from blackjack - the J changes from being close to 'ch', to more like 'dg'.
Nope - I've been repeating it too, and I can't see the difference either (and I'm from the same place as you Gorillaman!).

Surely a soft "j" would be the "zh" sound in Dr Zhivago?
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  #41  
Old 11-14-2004, 04:13 PM
Götterfunken Götterfunken is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright
I always thought Fiorentina was Florence..
Like matt_mcl points out, "Fiorentina" is simply the adjectival form of "Firenze," which was originally "Florentia" in Latin.

Fiorentina is the name of Florence's football/soccer team, the full name of which is the Assocazione Calcio* Fiorentina (usually abbreviated as "AC Fiorentina" or simply "Fiorentina")--which means the "Florentine Football Association," hence the use of the adjectival form.

*"Calcio" being the distinctly Italian term for soccer/football.
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  #42  
Old 11-14-2004, 04:22 PM
China Guy China Guy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Excalibre
Don't think that's true. They recently invented a more modern romanization to replace Wade-Giles, but while it's similar to pinyin, it's not identical. I'm sure it's heavily based on pinyin, but the Taiwanese of course have to make sure it's quite clear that they don't support anything the PRC has ever done, so they can't use pinyin.
Thanks, I get that aspiration backwards a lot.

I don't have time, but do a google search and I'm pretty sure you'll see Taiwan does indeed now use pinyin. I didn't believe it at first when someone on these boards pointed it out, but that's what google found for me about a year ago.
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  #43  
Old 11-14-2004, 05:11 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrinking Violet
Nope - I've been repeating it too, and I can't see the difference either (and I'm from the same place as you Gorillaman!).

Surely a soft "j" would be the "zh" sound in Dr Zhivago?
OK, so you've brought up a fourth different pronunciation of j...dammit......

Anyway, I still maintain that 'Beijing' with a quais-CH J feels strange to a monolingual English speaker.
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  #44  
Old 11-14-2004, 05:34 PM
barbitu8 barbitu8 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
No idea what most of this means (but hey, you're still stuck on showjumping )....nonetheless I'm glad that even the people who like to correct us may not be correct.
Refer to this.

Immediately after WWII, the pronunciation of Hiroshima had the accent on the third syllable. However, for many years now the accent has been on the second syllable. Somebody once told me that the confusion is that Japanese don't really accent syllables in their words. Is this true?
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  #45  
Old 11-14-2004, 06:41 PM
Excalibre Excalibre is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barbitu8
Refer to this.

Immediately after WWII, the pronunciation of Hiroshima had the accent on the third syllable. However, for many years now the accent has been on the second syllable. Somebody once told me that the confusion is that Japanese don't really accent syllables in their words. Is this true?
Someone who speaks Japanese will no doubt be in shortly with the specifics, but I'll start by saying that Japanese uses pitch accent, not stress accent. Pitch accent means each syllable is essentially the same volume and lasts for the same length (though in Japanese they're called morae (sing. mora) and "n" at the end of a syllable counts as a mora for these purposes). In English, or other stress accent languages, the stressed syllable is louder and longer than other syllables, and it changes the rhythm of the word.

In Japanese, each mora is the same length, but some are high and some are low. I don't remember the rules for figuring it out, so someone else will have to chime in and explain the stress on Hiroshima. But essentially, yeah, the way an English word's rhythm is changed my moving the stress around doesn't really exist in Japanese.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
Try dropping the K from blackjack - the J changes from being close to 'ch', to more like 'dg'. A more obvious example of how we change sounds according to context is "The owl and the pussycat." Try saying "Thuh owl and thee pussycat" - the two different sounds for 'the' are swapped, making it sound strange and feel awkward.
I'm telling you, I don't do that. If it's after a "k" sound, or after a glottal stop (which I instinctively insert when I try to say "bla--jack" the voicing starts a little later, so it's sorta more "chj" than just "j", but the difference is subtle. (In SAMPA, that would be /tS3/ rather than /d3/ - but the difference is quite subtle.)

I don't use "zh" (/3/) as an allophone of "j" (/d3/) ever in my speech, as far as I can tell. And I'm absolutely one-hundred percent positive that the "Beizhing" pronunciation is not due to normal allophonic variation. There are no other words where we substitute a "zh" for a "j" because it's in intervocalic position. This is some widespread tendency to make "Beijing" sound more foreign, and it's probably perpetuated by the media. (Granted, I'd say it's the norm, so it's not wrong per se - especially as, like I mentioned earlier, English speakers aren't going to pronounce "bei3 jing1" correctly no matter how we try.)

I don't think "thuh/thee" is allophonic variation either. Someone correct me if I'm wrong here, but this is basically the same as "a/an", except spelling doesn't reflect the change in pronunciation. The word has two alternate pronunciations depending on context, and it's not the result of a systematic shift that "uh" (/@/, the schwa sound) undergoes.
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  #46  
Old 11-16-2004, 10:11 AM
ntcrawler ntcrawler is offline
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Oh, but that's nothing! There are much more extreme examples of this.

For example, the country of Hungary, in the native tongue is known as - get ready for this - Magyarorszag!!

For reference, in Polish it's called "We,gry".



Come on! I mean that's not even close! How does this happen! Why can't people refer to someome's country by its native, proper name? What's the reason for the changes anyways?

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  #47  
Old 11-16-2004, 10:18 AM
Algernon Algernon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon
My local curry house does not yet feature "Chicken Chennai" on its menu, though.
But they have "Chicken Madras"?
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  #48  
Old 11-16-2004, 11:49 AM
Steve MB Steve MB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemlock
IMO... It's a sign of low self-esteem and inferiority complex to insist that foreigners pronounce/write your country's placenames your way. China, India and Burma all have anti-Western, anti-Colonial, nationalist chips on their shoulders, and getting us to rearrange words in our own language like Peking, Bombay or Rangoon makes them feel good. It's a way of self-assertion.
I recall seeing a compilation of old letters to the Times of London. One writer harrumphed over an earlier wave of name-shifts, rhetorically asking if he should start referring to Iranian cats and Thai cats.
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  #49  
Old 11-16-2004, 01:36 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntcrawler
For example, the country of Hungary, in the native tongue is known as - get ready for this - Magyarorszag!!

...What's the reason for the changes anyways?
The word 'Hungary' predates the Hungarian nation:

Quote:
The proper name for the largest ethnic group in Hungary is Magyar. The word is a derivative of Megyeri, supposedly the name of one of the original ten Magyar tribes. Magyar refers specifically to both the language and the ethnic group. The words Hungary and Hungarian are derivatives of a Slavicized form of the Turkic words on ogur, meaning "ten arrows," which may have referred to the number of Magyar tribes.
http://countrystudies.us/hungary/49.htm
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  #50  
Old 11-16-2004, 01:48 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve MB
I recall seeing a compilation of old letters to the Times of London. One writer harrumphed over an earlier wave of name-shifts, rhetorically asking if he should start referring to Iranian cats and Thai cats.
Let's not forget Ceylon, Abyssinia, the Voltaic Republic, Belorussia, ...
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