Jump to content
Chinese-Forums
  • Sign Up

How to say "United States" in Chinese


Entropy_Rising

Recommended Posts

As I was preparing a cultural discussion about states in the US, the thought crossed my mind, in Chinese is there a way to express the actual concept of the "United States," rather than the default name for the country, 美国? Just as there is 中国 and there is 中华人民共和国 and there is "China" and "the People's Republic of China," I was wondering if in addition to 美国 there was an "official name" for the country along the lines of 联合州 (which represents my wild stab based on Chinese for "United Nations").

I'm curious! Anybody know? Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A.The full name of the US is “the United States of America”. In Chinese, it is “美利坚合众国”. Here, “美利坚” = “America”, while “合众国” = “the United States”.

B.“the United States”, in official Chinese, is “美国”, nevertheless its direct literal translation is “合众国” or “联合州”.

C.In my understanding, “美国” is short for “美利坚合众国”. “美国” or “美利坚合众国” is the only official name for this country in China. You can quite often find the phrase “美国政府” (the US government) in a news report from Chinese state media.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info guys, I'm going to try springing 美利坚合众国 on someone and see how it turns out. :mrgreen:

Because my Mandarin isn't as good as it should be, I'm tickled by the pronunciation similarity between 中国 zhong1guo2 and the 众国 zhong4guo2 at the end of USA. Of course, that's only something that someone who hasn't fully internalized the tone system yet would bother noticing. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's some interesting info about the translation of USA.

In 1583, it was called 美洲 in the world map introduced by Matteo Ricci.

In 1858 when the Treaty of Tianjin was signed, it became 大亚美理驾合众国, literally the Great United States of America.

When the boxer protocol was signed In 1901, the name was then shortened to 大美国, making it parallel to 大清朝. (source: http://www.bundpic.com/link.php?action=print&linkid=555)

There's also an old joke about how Amerigo Vespucci made the name America. The legend told that Amerigo presented a new world map to a Jesuit missionary who could speak Cantonese. The missionary pointed the area of the New World, and asked "A, me lai ga?" (啊, 咩黎架? --- Cantonese: Well, what's this? ) This place was then dubbed as "American". :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's also an old joke about how Amerigo Vespucci made the name America. The legend told that Amerigo presented a new world map to a Jesuit missionary who could speak Cantonese. The missionary pointed the area of the New World, and asked "A, me lai ga?" (啊, 咩黎架? --- Cantonese: Well, what's this? ) This place was then dubbed as "American".

Here is another version of the joke -> http://www.chinese-forums.com/showpost.php?p=28242&postcount=29

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

A.The full name of the US is “the United States of America”. In Chinese' date=' it is “美利坚合众国”. Here, “美利坚” = “America”, while “合众国” = “the United States”.

B.“the United States”, in official Chinese, is “美国”, nevertheless its direct literal translation is “合众国” or “联合州”.

C.In my understanding, “美国” is short for “美利坚合众国”. “美国” or “美利坚合众国” is the only official name for this country in China. You can quite often find the phrase “美国政府” (the US government) in a news report from Chinese state media.

[/quote']

' date=',, United Nations is 联合国.

[/quote']

Both Han-tiger and imron are right about the translations of the United Nations and The United States of America.

China is a charter member of the UN and one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. As such, Chinese is one of the official languages of the UN. Moreover, in (Chapter 5) Article 23 of the UN Charter, the five permanent members of the Security Council are also listed in Chinese. These confirm the official name of the U.S.A. in Chinese (with some links listed below for your reference):

------

United Nations:

http://www.un.org/

联合国主页﹕

http://www.un.org/chinese/

UN Security Council:

http://www.un.org/chinese/sc/members.asp

2008年安全理事会的成员

Five (Charter) Permanent Members of the UN Security Council:

常任理事国:

安理会由五个常任理事国——中国、法国、俄罗斯联邦、

联合王国以及美利坚合众国——和十个非常任理事国组成。

------

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a story on the names of the United States of America in Chinese and Japanese. I am not sure it is true or just a made-up one.

Long long ago, Both Chinese and Japanese visited US.

The Chinese were much impressed with the beautiful landscape in the country while

the Japanese were with the huge lands that could produce a lot of grains.

So, after returning to their own countries, they give the names to the country:

美国 by Chinese, which literally means "beautiful country"; and

米国 by Japanese, which literally means "grain country".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never let the facts get in the way of a good story! :-)

I was always under the impression that 米 means rice rather than grain. Or does it mean grain in Japanese? Or were the Japanese in the story impressed by America's rich rice paddies? :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was always under the impression that 米 means rice rather than grain. Or does it mean grain in Japanese? Or were the Japanese in the story impressed by America's rich rice paddies? :-)

米 is a general term for grains in Chinese and it means rice only when it is understood as 大米.

We have 大米、小米、高粱米,玉米、薏米、花生米。。。。

rice,millet,kaoliang; corn, Job's tears seed, peanut kernel......

sometimes also some thing that does not actually belong to the catalog, for example,

海米(虾米)shelled and dried shrimps.

I am not quite sure if the Japanese understand "米" the same way. If they don't, they didn't learn it well, which is what I could say only then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What about "United States of Mexico"? I see that Wikipedia has 墨西哥合众国, but is that also "official"?

I am frankly surprised at the translation of United States as 合众国, because I think the meaning is not quite right. I wonder if the choice was influenced by the politics leading up to the U.S. Civil War. Or perhaps there was some hesitation about how to translate "state" without losing prestige? For example, does 联合洲 come across as "the Allied Provinces"?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...