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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Japanese Language: Country Names in Kanji


Today we are going to look at a few country names, as they are rendered in Chinese characters. 国(くに、こく;kuni, koku)is country. To identify a country, you can often just place its kanji, or Chinese character, in front of that. (Katakana, the Japanese syllabary for foreign words, can always be used, and some countries only have a katakana rendering.)

中国(ちゅうごく、chugoku)= China, the "middle" country or kingdom, whence all comes
韓国(かんこく、kankoku)= Korea
英国(えいこく、eikoku) = England, the "hero" country
米国(べいこく、beikoku)= USA, the "rice" country

Other countries are frequently abbreviated to one character when referred to in the press. At right in parentheses is the original.

印(いん、in)= India (印度)
仏(ふつ、ぶつ, futsu, butsu)= France(仏蘭西)
伊(い、i)= Italy(伊太利亜)
独(どく、doku)= Germany
西(にし、nishi)= Spain (西班牙)
欄 (らん、ran) = Holland (阿蘭陀)
加(か、ka)= Canada (加奈陀)

And let' not forget:

日本(にほん、にっぽん、nihon, nippon)= Japan

Please send other examples.

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