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MoSe
08-08-2008, 07:57:47
- OR -
translating city names

this is really making me mad.



OK, in the recent years we learned that a faithful transcription from Chinese of the Chinese capital name is Beijing, whereas in the west it has been mostrly referred to with the english name Peking (but in italian it's Pechino, for instance).


Very well.
So now we now that the city it's called Beijing in Chinese, and Peking in English.
What makes me mad, it's WHY should we now use the chinese name even when we speak english!?!?!?!

Think to it.

we know that the english capital it's London.
In french: Londres
In italian: Londra
(I forgot how germans call it...)

when an italian speaks italian, he will use the italian name of the english city, NOT the english one
he'd say "io vado a Londra", NOT "io vado a London"
he'd use the english name ONLY when he speaks english [or at least attempts to] : "I go to London"

when a french speaks french, he will use the french name of the english city, NOT the english one
he'd say "je vais a Londres", NOT "je vais a London"
he'd use the english name ONLY when he speaks english: "I go to London"

and so on

THUS
an english speaking site, or newspaper, or TV news, SHOULD STILL USE the english name of the chinese capital, Peking!!!
Beijing is in chinese language and it should be used ONLY when the WHOLE SENTENCE in written in chinese language too! (or chinese transcripted in western alphabet, but still chinese).

:bash:

same thing for instance with Bombay/Mumbai
when you talk in english, you sthould still be using Bombay
Mumbai is in indian language (hindi, whatever) and it should be used only when you're talking in that language

:mad:

Funko
08-08-2008, 08:02:31
Er... Bombay was actually renamed to Mumbai in 1995. Calling it Bombay would be like calling St Petersburg Leningrad.

Dyl Ulenspiegel
08-08-2008, 08:23:04
"(I forgot how germans call it...)"

London.

tricky, huh?

MoSe
08-08-2008, 08:28:34
do you mean indians called it bombay in their language too?
What about Calcutta/Kalkhata?
I don't know anything of hindi language and phonetics, so I might have picked the wrong example here.

but are you implying too that chinese people called their capital Peking when they spoke in mandarin, and then decided to change it to Beijing just like Leningrad to St.Petersburg???
Because Leningrad WAS the official name in Russian. Was Peking the official name in Mandarin too?

It would amaze me, and I don't think so, but of course I am not certain so if you prove it I'd stand corrected.

I'd rather imagine that a wave of "international political correctness" led to a revamping of the transcription/transliteration of mandarin language into western characters, just as like Mao Tze Tung suddenly has become Mao Zedong. I doubt he had registered a name change at the registry office....
I figured the chinese government said "do you now that or capital name doesn't actually sould like Peking, but more like Beijing?"
And instead of replying "We see, thankyou. but in english, the city name remains Peking" the west rolled over and said "OK as you please, we'll now change the english name to make it sound like chinese and make you happy"

In italian, we'll keep on calling it Pechino, just as like when you speak english you say Munich and not München, Rome and not Roma, Lisbon and not Lisboa

MoSe
08-08-2008, 08:29:45
Originally posted by Dyl Ulenspiegel
"(I forgot how germans call it...)"

London.

tricky, huh?

I should have imagined it, considering that you call England England too
:bash:

Funko
08-08-2008, 08:30:19
It should be "I forgot what Germans call it."

The what/how mistake seems to be common amongst non native English speaking Europeans, there's probably a linguistic reason.

Funko
08-08-2008, 08:31:22
I don't know if Peking changed its name I don't think so, I think we just learnt how to say it properly, I have no comment on that bit really. Just that Bombay/Mumbai is a bad example because they officially changed their name.

Dyl Ulenspiegel
08-08-2008, 08:31:44
How do you mean?

Funko
08-08-2008, 08:33:57
So is "Was bedeuten Sie?" wrong?

MoSe
08-08-2008, 08:46:12
Originally posted by Funko
It should be "I forgot what Germans call it."

The what/how mistake seems to be common amongst non native English speaking Europeans, there's probably a linguistic reason.

interesting lesson, thanks
:)

does it work with any name?
because I thought that for common words you had to say for instance
"how do you say 'fromage' in english?"
oh, I see...

is it then "how do you say fromage?" but "what do you call fromage?" ?
I surrender!
:clueless:

Funko
08-08-2008, 08:49:48
Originally posted by MoSe
is it then "how do you say fromage?" but "what do you call fromage?" ?
I surrender!
:clueless:

Yes. Exactly.

Dyl Ulenspiegel
08-08-2008, 08:51:12
Originally posted by Funko
So is "Was bedeuten Sie?" wrong?

?
Maybe not wrong, just very philosophical. "What is your meaning/purpose/reason to exist" (?)

The blame for the how/what confusion falls on english, of course.

For example:
Wie heißt diese Stadt?=What do you call this town?
Wie sagt man das?=How do you say that?

Bloody illogical (unlogical?) bastard language.

Dyl Ulenspiegel
08-08-2008, 08:52:08
Oh holy crap, same thought as MoSe... :(

Funko
08-08-2008, 08:52:11
What do you know about fromage?
How do you make fromage?
What do you make out of fromage?
How do you cook with the fromage?
What do you do with the fromage?

English rules. And I now see why people find it confusing.

Dyl Ulenspiegel
08-08-2008, 08:54:39
Hmm....

What do you know about fromage?.. Was...
How do you make fromage? Wie...
What do you make out of fromage? Was...
How do you cook with the fromage? Wie...
What do you do with the fromage? Was...

Bad examples. Those make perfect sense. :D

Funko
08-08-2008, 08:54:59
:lol: Bloody unlogical language. ;)

MoSe
08-08-2008, 08:58:01
Originally posted by Funko
I don't know if Peking changed its name I don't think so, I think we just learnt how to say it properly, I have no comment on that bit really.

Just that Bombay/Mumbai is a bad example because they officially changed their name.

the wiki links below might shed some light, and if I read them correctly they partially support my point.

which is, even if the old name was a bad attempt to transcript the chinese name, it entered the english language. Even if you later learned the correct pronounce *in chinese*, what had by then become the official english name should not have been changed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wade-Giles
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Postal_Map_Romanization
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beijing
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peking redirects to Beijing too)

Peking is the name of the city according to Chinese Postal Map Romanization, and the traditional customary name for Beijing in English (passports issued by the British Embassy are still printed as being issued by the "British Embassy, Peking"). The term Peking originated with French missionaries four hundred years ago and corresponds to an older pronunciation predating a subsequent sound change in Mandarin from [kʲ] to [tɕ][8] ([tɕ] is represented in pinyin as j, as in Beijing). It is still used in many languages

the "sound change" bit sounds interesting...
it suggests that it's not the city name that changed: it's the WHOLE Mandarin language pronunciation of the k that changed to j, and that affected every word including the city name....
:clueless:

Dyl Ulenspiegel
08-08-2008, 09:00:33
Says the guy from Mediolanum.

Dyl Ulenspiegel
08-08-2008, 09:00:57
Originally posted by Funko
:lol: Bloody unlogical language. ;)

Bloody unlogical bastard language.

MoSe
08-08-2008, 09:05:51
Originally posted by Dyl Ulenspiegel
Says the guy from Mediolanum.
:p

you know, that's a funny example, because the origin of that name is still obscure and debated.

to make it short:
- some claim it comes from "in the middle of the lanes" (meaning either rivers or roads)
- some from "in the middle of the [p]lain"
- some from "half-woolly", referring to an extinct strain of pigs with a partial wool/fur coat

Dyl Ulenspiegel
08-08-2008, 09:11:29
-some from "middle of the ass"

MoSe
08-08-2008, 09:22:10
:lol: right, you bastard :bash:

Funko
08-08-2008, 09:24:28
:lol:

MoSe
08-08-2008, 09:36:39
it's actually just a word joke with the -ano (= anus) ending...

for instance, we went on strike last winter, because the egyptian owner of the company (Sawiris, owning the middle-east phone and TLC group ORASCOM too) wanted to cut in half the personnel of the Milan branch (I mean, to halve our number)

one of the slogans we shouted in the streets was "Egyptian, don't touch Milan" which for the above joke can be maliciously get misinterpreted as "don't touch my ass"

("E-gi-zia-no, non toccar Milano" => "E-gi-zia-no, non toccarmi l'ano") :o :cute:

waswas

MoSe
08-08-2008, 09:41:58
anyway, back on topic:

as soon as I'll have time for it, expect a long boring list of cities which have an italian translation of their name, by country

:D

Drekkus
08-08-2008, 09:45:36
What name have germans for Den Haag?

MoSe
08-08-2008, 09:46:56
that should be Which!
:lol:

Scabrous Birdseed
08-08-2008, 09:55:44
I say there's good reason to have a slightly different standard for historically "equal" european nations than for third-world ones. (Although China is hardly third world these days, and has always been a great power etc. But within a western context it has not until very recently had the same access to discourse as the western nations have.)

It's like I wouldn't have a problem with pulling racial insults on white people, but would definitely hold my tongue before doing the same to black people. It's basically an issue of power - you should always look to specifically target and empower the ones with little power at the moment, while bringing down or ignoring the already powerful. Why should we empower the Italians by changing our pronunciation in a grovelling gesture to them? India, on the other hand, that the English have fucking raped in a shameful way over the centuries, they have all incentive to want to raise it.

MoSe
08-08-2008, 09:57:02
do you live in Stoccolma?

MoSe
08-08-2008, 10:03:56
I see your point about China

I think tho that having a foreing city name translated in your own language it's hardly a sign of lower consideration, on the contrary, only the most important cities usually get such "honour"...

MoSe
08-08-2008, 11:29:41
Originally posted by MoSe
anyway, back on topic:

as soon as I'll have time for it, expect a long boring list of cities which have an italian translation of their name, by country

:D

so let's begin with the British Isles, which are pretty easy:

London - Londra
Edinburgh - Edimburgo
Dublin - Dublino

as far as I can figure, those are the only ones which "deserved" an italian tranlsation...

except that we always get the accent wrong in Mànchester (instead of Manchèster)
And that we just can't say Leicester and Gloucester and the like (we read it as Leichester and Glouchester... :o ) but that's a different story

MoSe
08-08-2008, 11:41:01
off the top, I'd say the countries which city names got translated the most into italian are France and Germany, whereas there are relatively few from Spain and Portugal, Belgium and Netherlands, Austria and so on

MoSe
08-08-2008, 11:44:19
Originally posted by Funko
Er... Bombay was actually renamed to Mumbai in 1995. Calling it Bombay would be like calling St Petersburg Leningrad. I figure we'd best solve the question by renaming it Pompei and burying it in ashes

Mr. Bas
08-08-2008, 12:46:31
Originally posted by MoSe
off the top, I'd say the countries which city names got translated the most into italian are France and Germany, whereas there are relatively few from Spain and Portugal, Belgium and Netherlands, Austria and so on

Groninga. :beer:

Mr. Bas
08-08-2008, 12:47:11
And do you really use Boscoducale?

Scabrous Birdseed
08-08-2008, 12:57:37
Originally posted by MoSe
do you live in Stoccolma?

No, I live in Estocolmo, or possibly Tukholma. No wait, I think I might live in Štokholm, Stócólm, Stokkhólmur, Holmia, Sztokholm or Estocòlme. This is confusing.

MoSe
08-08-2008, 13:02:00
?????

we have several villages named "bosco something", and Groppo Ducale, b ut I can't find Bosco Ducale....

wait, do you mean it should be the translation of some dutch city?....


:gotit:


maybe.... Hertogenbosch?????

I never imagined bosch meant bosco!!!!
I thought it meant sparkplug!!!!!
;)

MoSe
08-08-2008, 13:02:48
:lol: @scabby

Venom
08-08-2008, 13:08:00
I have a rule about not reading the 90% of the posts in a thread started by MoSe. I kept that streak going.

MoSe
08-08-2008, 13:11:51
LOL, but so far more than 50% of the posts here have been posted by other posters!

:D

Scabrous Birdseed
08-08-2008, 13:47:57
I wonder what city in the world has the most radically different names.

Funko
08-08-2008, 13:52:33
Originally posted by MoSe
that should be Which!
:lol:


No, he's right it's what.

Drekkus
08-08-2008, 14:33:12
\o/

MoSe
08-08-2008, 14:33:42
ummm.....

San Sebastián / Donostia?

MoSe
08-08-2008, 14:34:16
Originally posted by Funko
No, he's right he's a twat.

Lurker the Second
08-08-2008, 14:37:03
I knew there was a fucking reason not to open this thread. Goddammit.

MoSe
08-08-2008, 14:46:47
hey!

if you reverse goddammit it says Tim Mad Dog

Bob
08-08-2008, 14:58:38
help!

Greg W
08-08-2008, 15:46:00
You need help, Mose. :p

MoSe
08-08-2008, 16:16:31
No thanks, I think with a little time I can manage it myself

Greg W
08-08-2008, 17:12:51
I wasn't talking about getting you a woman. :p

RedFred
09-08-2008, 17:41:26
The Chinese exerted a lot of political pressure to change the English pronounciation of Chinese in 1978-79. Not by coincidence this all happened when during the time of Chairman Deng Xiaoping's rise to power.

Under the old spelling/pronounciation system I think he was known as Dung Chow Ping. Seems the Chinese did not like the English media's references to Chairman Dung - FACT.