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Old 10-02-2012, 11:29 AM
Location: San Francisco
8,982 posts, read 10,487,960 times
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Originally Posted by barneyg View Post
It's actually the only one I was able to figure out at all
The others are actually quite simple -- if you know a bit of Finnish:

USA: Yhdysvallat - yhdys = united (derived from yksi, 'one'); valta = state, plural is vallat
UK: Yhdistynyt Kuningaskunta - yhdistynyt = united (maybe a Finnish speaker can explain why it's a different form than the one used for "USA"), kuningas = royal (cognate with "koning" which is Swedish for "king"), kunta = in this context, a state or government
Netherlands: Alankomaat - alanko = lowland; maa = country (plural is maat), so it's a translation of "Low Countries" which is in fact how the Dutch refer to their country (Nederland)
Belarus: Valko-Venäjä - valko(inen) = white; Venäjä = Russia
New Zealand: Uusi-Seelanti - uusi = new; Seelanti = a "Finnishized" version of "Zealand"
Austria: Itävalta - itä = east; valta = state (see above). A direct translation of the German "Österreich".
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Old 08-30-2014, 01:05 PM
Location: Taipei
8,879 posts, read 8,492,185 times
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Found this thread,so informative and fun!

I guess I can give a few examples in Mandarin Chinese,other than the ones mentioned.

Spain is 西班牙,which is pronounced like Xi-ban-ya.You probably already think it's really weird but it's actually just a direct translation from the English name of Spain and Espana.
Then there's 葡萄牙,which is pronounced like Pou-tao-ya,and guess what,that's freakin' Portugal.葡萄 means grapes and 牙 means tooth in Mandarin Chinese,lol.What a delicious name.

Iceland is 冰島,冰 is ice,島 means island.So in this case it's a free translation instead of transliteration.Most of the other countries that end in "land" are transliterated to 蘭,such as 荷蘭(Holland.尼德蘭,which is Netherlands,is lesser used),愛爾蘭(Ireland),芬蘭(Finland),波蘭(Poland),紐西蘭(New Zealand).

Countries that end in 國(which means country/sovereign state) are rare cases.I can only think of the US,UK,France,Germany,Russia(the other name is also frequently used as well though),South Korea,Thailand,Laos,and China.The rest of the common names in China are mostly transliteration(in most cases) or free translation(like Iceland,Cote d'Ivoire) from English,or something extremely tricky,like Japan.

Btw some countries have different translation in China and Taiwan.Not many though.
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