From: Andrew C. West (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon May 19 2003 - 12:47:13 EDT
On Mon, 19 May 2003 18:13:49 +0200, Marco Cimarosti wrote:
> IMHO, the original meaning of "zhong" was more "inside" than "middle", so
> wouldn't "inner countries" be a closer translation? Also cmp. the opposite
> "waiguo": "abroad" (lit. "outer countries").
I'm not sure. I was consciously using the term "Middle Kingdom" that is the
traditional translation of Zhongguo used since ... since the penetration of
Zhongguo by the Jesuits in the 16th century I guess (no doubt someone will
correct me if I'm wrong) ?
The basic meaning of ZHONG1 is "middle, centre" (the ideograph derives from a
picture of an arrow hitting the bulls eye of a target, and when pronounced
ZHONG4 is a verb that originally meant "to hit on target"), the implication
being that Zhongguo is the guo "country" that is at the centre of the world.
WAI4 "outer, external" in the compound waiguo "foreign countries" is not the
opposite of ZHONG1, but rather the opposite of NEI4 "inner, external". There is
no compound word neiguo "inner countries" to match waiguo, but then there isn't
really an opposite of ZHONG1 to be applied to those countries that are not at
the centre of the ancient Chinese world view, so I guess that's why WAI4 was
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