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horas

'China' etymologically related to 'Qidan'?

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horas

*

http://www.museenkoeln.de/museum-fuer-ostasiatische-kunst/default.asp

The exhibition (first in Europe) of 'The treasures of the Liao' begins in Cologne (Germany) after New York (until end of December 2006). The Liao dynasty [907–1125] is a short lived dynasty of Turk-related nomads (horsemen) forming at its peak time a superpower stretching from the Altai mountains in the West to the Japanese Sea in the East, from the Baikal Sea in the North to the vicinities of Beijing in the South. The Song dynasty even pay tribute to them to prevent a war and the resulting hegemony of the Liao.

The Liao folk is called Qidan (Kitan) by the Chinese. Surely now it must ring a bell, Jin Yong die-hards!. In JY's novel 'Tian long ba bu' the popular heroic protagonist Qiao Feng (who was raised up by Chinese foster parents) discovered in his thirties that he was in fact born a Qidan (Xiao Feng) turning him suddenly into an enemy of the Chinese.

So far so good.

In the newspaper it is also mentioned that the word 'China'(supposedly from the name of the city 'Cathay') is etymologically related/originates from the word 'Qidan'.

Well, honestly I'm perplexed, that's new to me.

Q.

What are the (Chinese) characters for the word 'China/Cathay' (of course I don't mean the characters for 'zhong guo')?

What are the (Chinese) characters for 'Qidan'? Any optical similarities?

When do the Westerners first use the word 'China' for 'zhong guo' and why (by what reasons) did they choose that word?

Of course you could retort: Look it up yourself, you lazy bug!

Well, I'm really a bit lazy lately. :oops:

But on the other hand I'm not that mean to spoil the pleasure of our most diligent informants (Skylee, Quest etc) in searching for answers and enlightening us.

(SAE - search & enlighten)

:mrgreen:

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skylee
What are the (Chinese) characters for 'Qidan'?

契丹.

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Jose

It is the old European name "Cathay" (still used, in a variant form, in languages like Russian and Mongolian) that is usually assumed to be derived from "Kitan". The Chinese name 契丹 is just a phonetic rendering of the non-Chinese name of this people, which became "Cathay" in the mediaeval European stories about the Orient.

However, the name "China" does not seem to be related to "Cathay" at all. It was used by the European missionaries, such as Matteo Ricci, who came into contact with China in the 16th century. I have read somewhere that it was a Portuguese Jesuit, Bento de Goes, who proved that Marco Polo's Cathay and the missionaries' China were actually the same place.

As for the origin of the name "China", it is often said to be derived from the name of the Qin dynasty. However, I have never found any proper research that supports this. The distance, both in terms of space and time, between the appearance of the Qin dynasty and the first European mentions of China is so huge that I find it very difficult to believe that theory, but I am no expert on these things. My gut feeling is that it must be a folk etymology probably due to the fact that the Wade-Giles form "Ch'in" looks similar to "China". However, I think this is just a coincidence. The pronunciation of this name may have been very different 2200 years ago, not to mention the fact that nobody was romanising it in Wade-Giles or whatever at that time.

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gato
As for the origin of the name "China", it is often said to be derived from the name of the Qin dynasty. However, I have never found any proper research that supports this. The distance, both in terms of space and time, between the appearance of the Qin dynasty and the first European mentions of China is so huge that I find it very difficult to believe that theory, but I am no expert on these things. My gut feeling is that it must be a folk etymology probably due to the fact that the Wade-Giles form "Ch'in" looks similar to "China"

Maybe it's derived from the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1912). The Wade-Giles for Qing is "Ch'ing".

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Jose

I don't think it can be derived from Qing since Matteo Ricci and other Europeans were already using "China" or "Sina" to refer to the Ming empire.

Besides, it seems that the name "China" was also used in a very influential map of the world produced by the Flemish cartographer Abraham Ortelius in 1570, well before the Manchu conquest. in 1584, he produced a map of China under the name "Chinae" (see this Google image search). I think it is very possible that Ortelius' atlases could have been responsible for the widespread adoption of the name "China" (with all its variant spellings like "Chine" or "Cina") throughout western Europe.

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skylee

Take a look -> http://blog.hjenglish.com/shlq01/archive/2005/11/19/175503.html

  英语中China一词来源于古英语的Chin,古英语语Chin(在不同的文献中也写成Cin、Cine)来源于古法语的Cine,古法语的Cine来源于拉丁语的Sina,而拉丁语“Sina”的来源则有几种说法:

  1,来源于波斯语的“支那”(Cini、Cinistan),意思为光明之国。考虑到古罗马与古波斯的地理位置相近,来往密切,这是可能性最大的观点。

   2,来源于古印度梵语的“支那”(Cina)。这是在中国更有代表性的观点。

  3,来源于古罗马时期的“秦”(Cin),即当时中国的自称。

  总之,古拉丁语中的Sina一词在欧洲语言中经过逐渐演变,变成了现在欧洲各国的词语。

  从下文中,你可以发现,大多数欧洲国家对中国的称谓,发音都同拉丁语的Sina很近似。 欧洲各国语言对“中国”的称谓: 英语:China 德语:China 荷兰语:China 西班牙语:China 葡萄牙语:China 罗马尼亚语:China 法语:Chine 希腊语:Kina(Κινα) 马扎尔语:Kina(匈牙利官方语言) 塞尔维亚-克罗地亚语:Kina/Кина(塞尔维亚语和克罗地亚语为同一种语言,但是使用的字母不同) 丹麦语:Kina 挪威语:Kina 瑞典语:Kina 冰岛语:Kina、Kinland或Sinland(因为地理位置与世隔绝,所以冰岛语被称做“日耳曼语言的活化石”,保留了很多古日耳曼语的词汇,所以从“Sin-”的词根可以看出与拉丁语Sina的渊源) 芬兰语:Kiina 意大利语:Cina 捷克语:Cina 斯洛伐克语:Cina 波兰语:Chiny 土耳其语:Cin 阿尔巴尼亚语:Kine 俄语:Китаи(Kitai) 保加利亚语:Китаи(Kitai) 语言学家通常认为俄语中的Kitai一词来源于“契丹”、“震旦”)。英语诗歌和文雅作品中表示中国的“Cathay”一词也是来源于“震旦”。

  虽然梵文“Cinasthana”中的“cina”和“Mahachinasthana”中的“china”起源于秦国的“秦”的语音之说论据较为有力,但学界仍未就此达成共识。不过,“Cinasthana”、“Mahachinasthana”皆为古印度对中国的称谓之说则早已成了定论,而且汉语中的“支那”和葡萄牙语、荷兰语、德语、英语中的“China”以及法语中的“Chine”等皆起源于梵语“Cinasthana”、或“Mahachinasthana”之说也早已获得了公认。

  据考证,唐玄装等僧侣在其著作中叙述赴印度取经的情形时,曾将古印度对中国的呼称“Mahachinasthana”音译成了“摩诃脂那国”、“摩诃至那国”、“摩诃震旦”等。梵文“Mahachinasthana”中的“Maha”乃“大”的意思;“sthana”读作“斯坦”,乃“国境”的意思;“china”则为“秦”的语音。因此“Mahachinasthana”的意译应为“大秦国”。不过唐朝僧侣并没有意译它,而是对它进行了音译,于是汉语典籍中便开始出现了一组同义音译词:“脂那”、“至那”、“震旦”、“支那”等。此后,这些音译词在汉语典籍中虽然不时露面,但总的来说出现的频率不高;且即使出现了,也大都作为历代中国的统称而被使用。之所以这样,是因为在不少特定情况下,譬如说在汇编各朝代中国人的佛教著作时,只署记某一朝代的名称显然不合情理,故人们不得不使用跨越多个朝代的统称。当时,人们虽然有选择其他统称的自由,但对佛门弟子来讲,无疑没有哪个统称比源于梵文的译语“支那”更能体现自己的虔诚和博学的了,因此“支那”比较多见于佛教经典。

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selfconstruct

Skylee beat me to it, but I found reference to the Sanskrit origins deep within Wikipedia:

China = Serica seu TZINISTHAN, non Sinarum Regio. TZINISTA was the name for China used by the alexandrian monk Cosmas Indicopleustes in his work "TOPOGRAPHIA CHRISTIANA" in 547 A.D. TZINISTA derives indirectly from the Sanskrit "CHINASTHANA", where "Sthana" means "region" (Cf. Hisdustan, Afghanistan,etc...). "TZINISTHAN" is the name that appears in the nestorian inscription of Singanfu (today Xi'an) of the 781 A.D., discovered in 1625. Laurentius Euricus hoc scripsit.

http://la.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disputatio:Lexicon_Nominum_Locorum

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Koneko

Strangely, Dictionary.com suggests Persian!?

[Persian chīnī, ultimately from Chinese (Mandarin) Qín, Qin; see Qin.]

Surprisingly, Wikipedia also seems to agree with Persian.

The English name of China comes from the Qin Dynasty, possibly in a Sanskrit form; the pronunciation "China" came to the western languages through the Persian word چین "Chin".

K.

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HashiriKata
[Persian chīnī, ultimately from Chinese (Mandarin) Qín, Qin; see Qin.]
I'm inclined to believe this. Both Oxford and Collins dictionaries also attribute the earlier origin of the word to Persian.

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rose~

Well, the Persian civilisation is one of the oldest and the greatest.

Also, Farsi is an Indo-European language, which means many words have Sanskrit origins in common with languages such as English. For example, you can say "Khoda hafez" for "goodbye" in Persian. It means "God be with you", and "Khoda" is "God", the two words are very similar (especially when you hear them pronunced). There are many examples like that: brother = baradar, mother = madar, daughter = dokhtar, and so on.

Some forces want to paint Iran as being one big group of evil along with Arab terrorists, because many people do not realise anything about Iranian culture, they don't realise that Persians are not Arabs, they don't understand anything about the culture. The US will try and bomb Iran soon, but it will never win.

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Koneko

Insyahallah!

I used to be a Persian cat! :wink:

K.

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horas

*

http://dspace.anu.edu.au/bitstream/1885/41883/1/Marcopolo.html

I think it is maybe true that Marco Polo never went to China.

I may add another argument:

At the time MP said he met Kublai Khan, the Liao dynasty had already perished about a hundred years. He must have taken the name Kitai (Cathay) for 'Northern China' from other (written) sources (not being there himself).

Other people have used 'Cathay' for/meaning China:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathay

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JVGruat

Hello to all from a newcomer ...

It so happens that in 2004 we had a discussion around the origins of the names used for China on the French usenet group (news:fr.lettres.langue.chinoise).

The best source then identified was http://www.wordiq.com/definition/China_in_world_languages#Chin ,

which indeed provides a lot of details. Including on why Cathay, or Seres/Serica for ancient Greek/Latin people ...

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Jose

That source comes from Wikipedia. Although I love Wikipedia, and often contribute to it, you shouldn't believe everything you find there. In particular, I have always found this Wikipedia article on the names of China very iffy. It contains lots of unreferenced "possibly related" statements, and things that don't make much sense, like claiming that Sinæ is both Latin and Greek (it looks like a Latin genitive to me. How could Sinæ ever be greek?)

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