Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Name that city!!!!

What should Xinbei be called? Call it Shuangho (雙河). This would be Twin Rivers in English, giving it a pleasant, pastoral sounding name representing the Danshui and Keelung Rivers that flow through it. In Chinese it would have not only the two rivers(河), but also the two "ho-s", Yungho (永和) and Chungho (中和), and thus be a nifty play on words.

New North City is lame. New Taipei City is ok but boring. Your suggestion?
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35 comments:

Robert R. said...

Well, if you're also changing the Chinese name, go nuts.

If you're sticking with 新北市, then I'd rather stick with a phonetic transliteration. There are no other cities in Taiwan that don't have a transliterated name, and it can cause the same confusion that "Roosevelt Rd." does in Taipei.

I'd also rather avoid Xinbei, because no one (i.e. tourists) has any clue how to pronounce the X. Truthfully, I wouldn't mind Hsinbei to be mostly consistent with Hsinchu...

David said...

I like your suggestion of Shuanghe, although I definitely wouldn't spell it like you do!! I also thought the twin rivers would actually be the Dahan and Xindian rivers, but anyway it's the same idea.

Another idea is Beixian City (北縣市), which preserves part of the name of Taipei County. I would go even further to suggest that the official "English" name could be "Special Municipality of Taipei County" which would be commonly abbreviated as Taipei County.

I think the reason "New Taipei City" is being promoted is that it is seen as prestigious. For a long time the residents of Taipei County have been regarded and treated as second class citizens by their neighbours in Taipei City. So by choosing the name "New Taipei City" the residents of Taipei County can at last claim some sense of superiority over Taipei City.

M Chen said...

What about Pingpu平埔? New Taipei City or New North City are both stupid. I can image that it was easier to label Taipei County as 'New Taipei City'. However, a name should be based on location as Shuangho, or history as Pingpu. However, I do believe no government official will care enough to think about it. Have a nice day.

Ben Goren said...

I can't beat your suggestion. I second Shuangho (雙河) as the name. Pity its far too catchy and appropriate - it'll never be used by an administration that sees genuine creativity as a threat. Knock that nail down ....

Dixteel said...

雙河 is pretty good, but the English for it is difficult to spell I think.

Anonymous said...

"Outer Taipei" or "Waibei" would better reflect the geography, and has a nifty sinological ring.

Jason said...

Mordor.

FOARP said...

+1 to Mordor.

Just like a lot of people who have lived on the mainland, I don't get why people find "Xi", "Xin" etc. hard to pronounce. Once the news agencies had gotten used to Xinjiang they seemed to have no problem pronouncing it, and whether or not foreign tourists can pronounce it or not should hardly be the concern of the Taiwanese.

Michael Turton said...

Great idea, David. I was trying to think of a way to call it Taipei County but yours was much better than mine.

Tim Maddog said...

I like "Tiger City" (inspired by Taipei County Commissioner Chou Hsi-wei's (周錫瑋) hunting expedition), but that name's already taken.

I also like "Outer Taipei" (Guā-pak, 外北) and "Donut City" -- both because of the way the former Taipei County rings Old (Inner) Taipei.

Tim Maddog

Robert R. said...

FOARP, if Taiwan doesn't need to care about the convenience of Foreigners, then there's no need for any English names, eh?

It's not that foreigners cannot make the "x" sound, but they don't know what sound is associated with the letter "x".
And news services have a basic duty to figure out how to write & pronounce things. Even so, I still here the occasional anchor saying "zhinjiang" or something similar.
Tourists should learn the appropriate pinyin, but, frankly, considering Taiwan's already confused and varied romanization, try to get something that is not a problem for the casual traveller.

Anonymous said...

This is all really moot since in another two years, the plan is to merge Keelung, Taipei County, and Taipei City all together.

Alton said...

Ketagalan (凱達格蘭)

Zeyo, or Liberty City (自由市)

The name Ketagalan would perpetuate the memory of the Ketagalan people who first settled the area millenia ago. Genetic studies confirm that, though their culture was assimilated, they never went away. The Ketagalan have plenty of descendants living in the area even now.

Zeyo / Liberty City would be an intersting choice. The name would honour Taiwan's democracy, and it has the added benefit of being easy to write. Alas, it's not yet a word that gets as much love in the halls of power as it deserves.

I also like Shuanghe. It would also work well to have a name that alludes to thermal springs, or to precious metals.

Alas, the name has been chosen, and I don't see much chance now of dislodging 'new north city.' All that remains open for discussion at this point is how to render the name in an appealing way for international users of the Roman alphaet. As there's nothing especially appealing about the Xs and Qs of the New Phonetic System, I would prefer the spelling Hsinbei or Sinbei.

I'm fine with New Taipei City, too, if that's what residents like. Right now it would be nice just to get it settled.

Hans said...

The meaning of ShuangHe is great, the only problem is the English part. It says nothing about the city from its phonetic spelling, unless you go with "Twin Rivers"

Or maybe it could be the nickname of the acceptable New Taipei City, the same way as Hsinchu or Chicago is the Wind City, and Boston is the Bean town.

New Taipei - The city of twin rivers

Sounds fabulous.

Anonymous said...

I hear they were considering "New Jack", but that had already been taken.

Karl said...

開安市

Poagao said...

There was a plan to merge Taipei City and Taipei County, but AFAIK it's been scrapped since the revisions last year to include more city/counties such as Tainan.

I have talked with people who do indeed think "New Taipei City" has a certain prestige, but I also think this has nothing to do with the convenience of foreigners and everything to do with Eric Chu wanting to one-up Hau Lung-bin after the latter's claim that "Taipei will lead the five municipalities."

If it were up to me, I'd use "Xinbei City". That's the convention and I don't see any reason to depart from it.

les said...

@Alton: Love 'Liberty City'. Maybe it can create a classic rock radio station and hire Iggy as a DJ...

Michael Turton said...

Liberty City is really good but sounds too much like the newspaper.

Anonymous said...

Paradise City... where the grass is green and the Betel Nut girls are pretty?

Anonymous said...

A city of gold-miners then,
a city of gold-diggers now, with the largest populace of the up-and- coming in Taiwan.
Though 台北 took the title of Taiwan's north, 金北 would outshine it with the glitz.

With its twin rivers channeling the transport of Taiwan's golden north, "Gold Bay" as its English name would fit the bill better than the amorphous "Xinbei" that conjures up no fantasy for the future but a blank.

arithmandar said...

for me, I don't like Xinbei City. It was Taipei County before which means the northern Taiwan. I would say "新北市" is the shorter term of "新台北市" but indeed this will cause confusion.

"Xinbei" sounds weird you know? It sounds like 新背/新杯.

But anyway, I used to be a Tapiei County's citizen, now I am a Xinbei City's citizen, I just feel weird.

Hans said...

Anon 1:50 PM:

I thought about the gold mine idea as well, the inspiration comes from calling San Francisco "Old Gold Mountain."

"Golden Bay City" would be something, as in Jing Wan City or Jing Bei City.

Hans

Anonymous said...

Bullet City!

There must be something to commemorate the incredible bullet election

MKL said...

The name is 新北市 and I don't care, if it's romanized as Xinbei City or New Taipei City. For me, it's just not a city. How can cities and towns like Danshui, Yingge, Xinzhuang, Banqiao and Ruifang be districts of one big city? They don't have much in common other than the proximity to Taipei city. This is for me too artificial. A city or town needs to have an identity. I liked Taipei County more.

Boyd R. Jones said...

Mordor and Golden Bay City are golden are apropos.

Other suggestions:

* 888City
* StrayDogVille
* StripedPinkPlasticBagBurg
* LapDogLane
* BetelNutBorough
* AmbientNoiseNook
* SynPeiSure (one has to have very warped and strangely spelled pin yin)

Robert R. said...

I liked Taipei County more.

Taipei County City.

FOARP said...

As far as I know Hanyu Pinyin is the official Romanisation system in Taiwan, so Xinbei it is. Yes, I actually think the other proposals were quite good (they have what "Xinbei" lacks - character), but calling it "New Taipei" or whatever would merely render its name more incomprehensible when spoken by those who cannot read Chinese characters. As for "New North City", you might as well rename everywhere in Taiwan using a literal translation if you're going to do that.

Boyd R. Jones said...

* UnwantedCarRecyclingStickerCity

jerome in vals said...

How about Taipei Metropolis?

Anonymous said...

"New Taipei City" is awful to me. It sounds like a replacement for some "old" and disused Taipei City.

Thoth Harris said...

In tribute to Robocop, how 'bout we name it, Delta City?

Alton said...

We have a decision. It's New Taipei City.

http://taiwantoday.tw/ct.asp?xItem=141179&ctNode=452&mp=9

The city's Chinese name, as we know, is 新北市 (Pinyin Xīnběi Shì).

Gentlemen, print your business cards.

Alton said...

A post script to my earlier news.

One consideration that led to the choice of New Taipei City over the transliteration Xinbei was the fact that a Xinbei District already exists in China. Taiwanese city officials wanted no confusion on that score. Incorporating the name of Taiwan's longtime capital city of Taipei in the construction of the new city's name makes its Taiwanese location much more apparent.

My own casual polling so far finds both Taiwanese and expat residents of New Taipei giving the choice positive reviews.

Michael Turton said...

Thanks, Alton! It's not a bad choice, but I think there were several better ones.