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Subject: Re: Chinese name
Author: Anneza   (Authenticated as Anneza)
Date: March 10, 2010 at 1:01:12 AM
Reply to: Chinees name by Maria
This is from Wikipedia ... so I can't vouch for the reliability. It seems to be the name of a city, and using place names for people is fashionable in English. I'm not sure if it happens in Chinese.

Xiamen (Mandarin pronunciation: [ɕjâmə̌n]), also known as Amoy (English: /ˈæmɔɪ/), is a coastal city in southeastern China. It is administered as a sub-provincial city under Fujian province in the People's Republic of China. It looks out to the Taiwan Strait and borders Quanzhou to the north and Zhangzhou to the south.

Xiamen and the surrounding countryside are famous for being an ancestral home to overseas Chinese. It became one of China's earliest Special Economic Zones in the 1980s. It covers an area of 1 565 km² with a total population of 2.5 million. It was recently named China's 2nd 'most suitable city for living'.[1]

Earlier, the name was written as 下門 , meaning "Lower Gate" — possibly because of its position at the mouth of the Nine Dragon River. The characters "下門" ("lower gate") in Zhangzhou dialect of Hokkien (one of the major Min nan languages) are pronounced ε̄-mûi (using the POJ Romanization). This is the source of the name "Amoy". The dialect is still spoken in the west and southwest of the city. In the Quanzhou dialect, the most common, it is pronounced ē-mn̂g.

Later, the authorities found "下門" too unrefined and changed the name to the modern toponym "廈門", which has the same pronunciation in Mandarin (but not in Hokkien) and literally means "The Gate of the Grand Mansion". The name continues to be pronounced ē-mn̂g in Hokkien, effectively using the older name, "下門".

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