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Place names in China primarily refers to
Han Chinese The Han Chinese (), or the Han people (), is an East Asian East Asia is the east East is one of the four cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions north North is one of the four ...
names, but also to those used by China's minorities.


Origins

In his study of place-names in China, J. E. Spencer notes that "although Chinese names indicate both domestic cultural and geographical influences, they almost never indicate cultural influence from other parts of the world", a tendency that also appeared to be characteristic of Chinese place-names in
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
.
Tibetan Tibetan may mean: * of, from, or related to Tibet * Tibetan people, an ethnic group * Tibetan language: ** Classical Tibetan, the classical language used also as a contemporary written standard ** Standard Tibetan, the most widely used spoken dialec ...
,
Mongolian Mongolian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Mongolia, a country in Asia * Mongolian people, or Mongols * Mongolia (1911–24), the government of Mongolia, 1911–1919 and 1921–1924 * Mongolian language * Mongolian alphabet * Mongo ...

Mongolian
, Uighur and tribal minorities of China's names are phonetically transcribed into Chinese.


In Chinese grammar

Names for places in
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
, when referred to in Chinese contain a class identifier. In English this is often translated, while the rest of the name is not. The class identifier in Chinese is placed at the end, in English with the exceptions of mountains and lakes the identifier is placed at the end too. For names of lakes and mountains "X Lake" http://www.mwr.gov.cn/english1/20040802/38171.asp - Ministry of Water Resources / "Lake X" and "X Mountain" / "Mount X" both is used. Some mountain ranges like
Tian Shan The Tian Shan,; dng, Тянсан, ; otk, 𐰴𐰣 𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃, ; tr, Tanrı Dağı; mn, Тэнгэр уул, ; ug, تەڭرىتاغ, , ; kk, Тәңіртауы / Алатау, , ; ky, Теңир-Тоо / Ала-Тоо, , ; uz, Tyan ...

Tian Shan
are referred to English by the Chinese name. "Tian" means sky or heaven and "Shan" means mountain(s), so Tian Shan literally translates as the "Heaven Mountains".


List of class names

E = English, C = Chinese, P =
Pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objecti ...

Pinyin
{, class="wikitable sortable" ! Group ! Class (E) ! Class (C) ! Class (P) ! Example (E) ! Example (P) , ---- , Administrative , Autonomous Region , 自治区 , Zìzhìqū ,
Tibet Autonomous Region The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) or Xizang Autonomous Region, often shortened to Tibet or Xizang, is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , count ...
, Xīzàng Zìzhìqū , ---- , Administrative , Province , 省 , Shěng ,
Hebei Province Hebei (; Postal romanization, alternately Hopeh) is a coastal Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, and is part of the North China region. The modern province was established in 1911 as Zhili, Chihli Provinc ...
, Héběi Shěng , ---- , Administrative , County , 县 / 縣 , -xian ,
She County, Hebei She County (), or Shexian, is a county A county is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the in ...
, Shè Xiàn , ---- , Administrative , Province (archaic) , 州 , -zhou ,
Guizhou Guizhou (; alternately Kweichow) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational enti ...

Guizhou
, , ---- , Administrative , Autonomous county , 自治县 , Zìzhìxiàn ,
Dachang Hui Autonomous County Dachang Hui Autonomous County (; Xiao'erjing: ) is a Hui people, Hui autonomous county of Hebei province. It is under the administration of Langfang prefecture-level city, and was established in 1955. The Hui Muslim county of Dachang was Chinese M ...
, , ---- , Administrative , City , 市 , Shì ,
Chengdu City
Chengdu City
, Chéngdū Shì , ---- , Administrative , District , 区 , Qū , Bincheng District , Bīnchéng Qū , ---- , Administrative , League , 盟 , Méng ,
Alxa League Alxa League or Ālāshàn League (; mn, , Mongolian Cyrillic. Алшаа аймаг) is one of 12 prefecture level divisions and 3 extant leagues of Inner Mongolia Inner Mongolia, officially the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, is a l ...
, Ālāshàn Méng , ---- , Administrative ,
Autonomous banner A banner () is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are generic names f ...
, 自治旗 , Zìzhìqí ,
Evenk Autonomous Banner Ewenki Autonomous Banner ( Evenki: ; Mongolian Mongolian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Mongolia, a country in Asia * Mongolian people, or Mongols * Mongolia (1911–24), the government of Mongolia, 1911–1919 and 1921–1924 ...

Evenk Autonomous Banner
, Èwēnkèzú Zìzhìqí , ---- , Landform , Mountains , 山脉 , ,
Ailao Mountains The Ailao Mountains (; Hani language, Hani: ''Hhaqlol haolgaoq'') are located in Yunnan, China. The Ailao Mountain Nature Reserve is located in the Ailao Mountains, is about 503.60 square kilometres and was created in 1986. Mountain ranges of ...
, Āiláo Shān , ---- , Landform , Mountain , 山 , Shān ,
Tianmu Mountain Tianmu Mountain, Mount Tianmu, or Tianmushan () is a mountains of China, mountain in Lin'an County west of Hangzhou, Zhejiang, in eastern China. It is made up of two peaks: West Tianmu () and East Tianmu (). Twin ponds near the top of the peaks ...
, Tiānmù Shān , ---- , Landform , Peak , 峰 , Feng , , , ---- , Landform , Island , 岛 , Dǎo ,
Liugong Island Liugong Island () is a small island located on the northeastern edge of Shandong Peninsula The Shandong Peninsula or Jiaodong Peninsula is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by ...
, Liúgōng Dǎo , ---- , Landform , Plateau , 草原 , Cǎoyuán ,
Bashang Plateau Bashang Plateau or Bashang Grasslands () covers about of northwest Hebei Hebei (; alternately Hopeh) is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArtic ...
, Bàshàng Cǎoyuán , ---- , Landform , Peninsula , 半岛 , Bàndǎo ,
Shandong Peninsula The Shandong Peninsula or Jiaodong Peninsula is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body ...
, Shāndōng Bàndǎo , ---- , Landform , Valley , 沟 (formally 峡) , , Insukati Valley , , ---- , Landform , Pass , 关 , Guān ,
Kunlun Pass Kunlun Pass () is mountain pass A mountain pass is a navigable route through a mountain range or over a ridge A ridge or a mountain ridge is a geographical feature consisting of a chain of mountains or hills that form a continuous ele ...
, Kūnlún Guān , ---- , Landform ,
Desert A desert is a barren area of landscape where little precipitation occurs and, consequently, living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life. The lack of vegetation exposes the unprotected surface of the ground to the processes of ...

Desert
, 沙漠 , Shāmò ,
Taklamakan Desert The Taklamakan Desert (; zh, s=塔克拉玛干沙漠, p=Tǎkèlāmǎgān Shāmò, Xiao'erjing Xiao'erjing or Xiao'erjin or Xiaor jin or in its shortened form, Xiaojing, literally meaning "children's script" or "minor script" (cf. "original ...

Taklamakan Desert
, Tǎkèlāmǎgān Shāmò , ---- , Landform ,
Gorge A canyon (; archaic British English spelling: ''cañon'') or gorge is a deep cleft between escarpments or cliffs resulting from weathering and the erosion, erosive activity of a river over Geologic time scale, geologic time scales. Rivers have a ...

Gorge
, 峡 , Xiá ,
Wu Gorge Wu Gorge (), sometimes called Great Gorge (), is the second gorge of the Three Gorges The Three Gorges () are three adjacent gorges along the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, in the hinterland of the People's Republic of China. With a ...
, Wū Xiá , ---- , Landform , Basin , 盆地 , Péndì ,
Tarim Basin The Tarim Basin is an endorheic basin An endorheic basin (; also spelled endoreic basin or endorreic basin) is a drainage basin that normally retains water and allows no outflow to other external bodies of water, such as rivers or oceans ...
, Tǎlǐmù Péndì , ---- , Landform , Cave , 洞 , Dòng ,
Xianren Cave The Xianren Cave (, ''Xiānréndòng''), together with the nearby Diaotonghuan (, ''Diàotǒnghuán'') rock shelter A rock shelter (also rockhouse, crepuscular cave, bluff shelter, or abri) is a shallow cave-like opening at the base of a b ...
, Xiānrén Dòng , ---- , Landform , Plain , 平原 , Píngyuán ,
Chengdu Plain The Chengdu Plain (Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most pop ...
, Chéngdū Píngyuán , ---- , Landform , Rock , 磯/矶 , Jī ,
Swallow Rock Swallow Rock () is a small scenic area in the northwest part of Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. Standing at 36 metres in the Yangtze River, the Swallow Rock is shaped like a flying swallow and is also one of three famous rocks in Nanjing. Li Bai ...
, Yànzi Jī , ---- , Landform/Water , Glacier , 冰川 , bīngchuān ,
Mingyong Glacier
Mingyong Glacier
, , ---- , Landform/Water , Spring , 泉 , Quán , Baimai Spring , Bǎimài Quán , ---- , Landform/Water , Waterfall , 瀑布 , Pùbù , Hukou Waterfall , Hǔkǒu Pùbù , ---- , Landform/Water , River , 河 , Hé , Huai River , Huái Hé , ---- , Landform/Water , River , 江 , Jiāng , Chang River , Yangtze River, Cháng Jiāng , ---- , Landform/Water , Lake , 湖 , Hú , Ayding Lake , Àidīng Hú , ---- , Landform/Water , Sea, X Gulf , 海 , Hǎi , Bohai Sea , Bó Hăi , ---- , Landform/Water , Bay , 灣 , Wān , Bohai Bay , Bóhǎi Wān , ---- , Landform/Water , Strait , 海峡 , Hǎixiá , Taiwan Strait , , ---- , Landform/Water , Reservoir , 水库 , Shuǐkù , Jiangkou Reservoir , Jiāngkǒu Shuǐkù , ---- , Landform/Water , Harbour , 港 , Gang , Hong Kong , Xiānggǎng


Directions

Chinese reckon five directions: * East: 东, Dong — e.g., Guangdong (广东), "Eastern Part of the Expanse" * West: 西, Xi — e.g., Xi'an (西安), "Western Pacified Area" * South: 南, Nan — e.g., Hainan (海南), "South of the Sea" * North: 北, Bei — e.g., Beijing (北京), "Northern Capital" * Central/Middle: 中, Zhong —e.g., Hanzhong (汉中), "Middle of the Han" From the early concept of yin and yang (阴 and 阳), originally based upon exposure to the sun, many placenames also incorporate them. Old Luoyang was located on the north bank of the Luo. Old Hanyang District, Hanyang was located on the north bank of the Han, while the eponymous county seat of Hanyin was located on the south bank. When a placename is derived from a mountain, however, these positions are reversed: the ''yang'' side is the mountain's south face and the ''yin'' side its north.


See also

* Place names of Hong Kong


References

Names of places in China, Chinese language Lists of place name etymologies, China Place name etymologies