Country Names in Chinese

Mandarin Chinese often couples two existing words to create new words for places, ideas, inventions, etc. Below we have included the names for several countries, states, and cities in Mandarin. Can you guess which is which?

中国 Zhong1 Guo 2 – China – “Central Country”

美国 Mei3 Guo2 – America – “Beautiful Country”

日本  Ri4 Ben3 – Japan – “Land of the Rising Sun” (literally. “sun origin”)

法国 Fa3 Guo2 – France – “Law/Lawful Country”

泰国  Tai1 Guo2 – Thailand – “Peaceful Country”

英国 Ying1 Guo2 – England – “Flower Country”

北京 Bei3 Jing1 – Beijing – “Northern Capital”

南京 Nan2 Jing 1 – Nanjing – “Southern Capital”

上海 – Shang1 Hai3 – Shanghai – “Upper Ocean/Above the Ocean” (varies by translator and context)

加州 Jia1 Zhou1 – California – “Added State”

广州 Guang3 Zhou1 – Guangzhou – “Wide State”

西安 Xi1 An1 – Xi’an – “Western Peace”


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