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Should Japanese names be read with Japanese pronunciation?


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No, the Japanese word 露国 (Rokoku) is just the "Land of the (Morning) Dew". Isn't it nice?

Chinese 俄罗斯俄罗斯 or short 俄国 is just the phonetic rendering. There is history behind it - why 俄 was added in front but I don't remember - something about the OROS pronunciation, not sure in which language.

Nipponman, I know you hate katakana but I think Western countries are better rendered phonetically in Japanese, so ロシア Roshia is good.

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苏联/蘇聯 (Sūlián)



Well, 苏维埃 is the transliteration of Soviet but maybe you guys thought, 苏联 is just a name for Russia.

In the West it was the other way around - the Soviet Union (a Federation of 15 Republics, with Russia being the largest and the central one) was always called just Russia. After the break up of the USSR, they are confused. If I say that I am originally from Russia, they would ask, whic part of Russia (meaning Ukraine, Kazakstan, etc). I have to say - Russia, Russia.

Can I ask a Chinese person on the usage of the following, which one is more common or correct?:

俄罗斯 or 俄国

俄罗斯人 or 俄国人

俄语 or ?

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Why is Russia small?

Maybe 露 has some connotations that means small?

Yes, is Japanese, 露 means dew, but also carries the meaning of "small," (a slimily to零) and to reveal. Since I find Russia to be, well... More like huge


Since a dewdrop is a symbol of something small and/or transient 露 is also sometimes used in these senses.

Rare, though...heh.

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Well you could say 俄罗斯 rather than 俄国, 俄罗斯人 rather than 俄国人, 俄罗斯语 rather than 俄语. However 俄罗斯人 and 俄罗斯语 are used more to refer to the Russian minority in the territory of China. While 俄国人 and 俄语 is used more to refer to the Russians living in or from Russia itself. 俄罗斯 and 俄国 mean the same thing but 俄国 is used much more often.

Similarly, 法兰西=法国. 德意志=德国, but today almost no one uses 法兰西 and 德意志 to refer to France and Germany anymore. 西班牙, 葡萄牙 are rarely used as 西国 or 葡国.

Back onto the topic, I think the Japanese are used to reading katakanas and also they already have many pronunciations for the Chinese characters, which makes this easier. Although I would have no problem if they read 北京 as Hokkyō, because Pekin doesn't give any meaning, but Hokkyō does. They could ask why is it named Pekin? It would be sad for two nations having such a long history of contact with each other to speak of a city as if it was of no meaning such as 华盛顿Washington. When an English speaker speak of Warsaw, it sounds terrible (war+saw), and when they were communist, it becomes very easy to leave a bad impression on an American for example. This is why I think it is better to understand the meaning of a proper name and have a different pronunciation than to not understand the meaning of a proper name and have an almost accurate pronunciation.

-Shìbó :mrgreen:

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西班牙, 葡萄牙 are never referred to as 西国 or 葡国.

Never, again. :mrgreen:

I am not sure about Spain, but Portugal is sometimes called 葡國, the Portugese language 葡文, and Portugese 葡國人 (we are close to Macao, you see). And we have this famous dish 葡國雞(飯), and Portugese cuisine is often called 葡國菜.

Take a look -> http://www.macautouristguide.com/cn/dining_por.html

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Thanks 盤古 and shibo77 on explanation about usage of words. Shibo, pronunciation Warsaw is very remote fom the actual Polish pronunciation and spelling - Warszawa is pronounced as [Var-SHAH-vah] in Polish and Russian has nothing to do with the war.

Japanese write 北京 but pronounce it as Pekin, they write ペキン ["pekin" in katakana] less often or just to explain the reading. So they perfectly know the meaning by the characters. It would be Hokkyō (hoku + kyō), not Hokyo (ō is long o).

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