Road Signs Call Hong Kong ‘Xianggang’ Between Guangzhou and Shenzhen

Road Signs Call Hong Kong ‘Xianggang’ Between Guangzhou and Shenzhen
Jan 23, 2014 By

When we read road signs in China it is usually easy enough as the pinyin names for cities are the names we use for them in English. However, there are exceptions, most notably Hong Kong and Macao.

During the construction of a new high speed highway between Guangzhou and Shenzhen the workers hastily put up some road signs directing traffic. Although there was a rather sizeable mistake made on all of the erected signs. Because pinyin was used along with the Chinese characters, the name for Hong Kong was directly translated to Xianggang, the SAR’s pinyin name.

Reporters asked 15 foreigners from seven different countries if they knew what Xianggang means and only 7 of them correctly identified it as Hong Kong. Authorities now have to decide whether it is worth the cost for them to change the name on all the signs. Don’t hold your breath.


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Keywords: Road signs call Hong Kong ‘Xianggang’


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It is a sign on the road from Guanzhou to Shenzhen, isnt it? So, it is a sign for Chinese of CPR. What kind of pronouncing should be used - mandarin (Xianggang) or cantonese (HongKong)? Cantonese is native dialect of Guandong province as whole (not only of HongKong state), aborigens of Guanzhou also speak Cantonese as mother language. But as citisen of CPR they all must know and use mandarin (Xiangang). Specially, Shenzhen. Shenzhen is the only city in Guandong which speaks only Mandarin, they as a rule dont know Cantonese. So, this sign is addressed not for citisens of HongKong state, it is addressed only for citisens of CPR, and especially, for population of Shenzhen.

Jan 25, 2014 18:25 Report Abuse



Why the hullabaloo Hong Kong is Hong Kong

Jan 25, 2014 19:59 Report Abuse



Another reason why people need to study Chinese.

Jan 25, 2014 11:17 Report Abuse



Even more important is that the English should be there for Snake Mouth, that could prove very dangerous!! Or even tiger gate!!!

Jan 24, 2014 19:06 Report Abuse



@author of this article: Haha...but of course there was a "mistake"...c'mon, surely you can't be THIS naive.

Jan 24, 2014 09:37 Report Abuse



Now you can add me to the list of foreigners who know that Xianggang is Hong Kong. =]

Jan 24, 2014 09:17 Report Abuse



haha...add me to the list...although I've always thought that 'Xianggang" meant 'Rebel State' or 'For Re-education'...or something like that...hehe.

Jan 24, 2014 09:44 Report Abuse



I guess it would behoove me to look it up! (thanks)

Jan 25, 2014 13:24 Report Abuse



I see...perhaps the authorities can insert 'Hong Kong' just below 'Xianggang' until people get used to it.

Jan 24, 2014 09:49 Report Abuse



"In all fairness Xianggang is the correct name for it." The correct name is the one that Hong Kong people use, which is HONG KONG. Xianggang is the Mandarin name, which was NEVER used by Hong Kong people. The name Hong Kong is derived from the Cantonese name Hoeng Gong. The current and official name is Hong Kong, so stop being a Communist Party puppet please.

Jan 24, 2014 12:50 Report Abuse



By that logic, the correct name that the CHINESE people use for China is ZhongGuo, so next time you are using the word "China" in China you are using it stop being an ignorant foreigner please

Jan 24, 2014 15:35 Report Abuse



I don't object to people from Zhongguo calling their own country Zhongguo. Thanks for the straw man argument. The local name used by local people for Hong Kong is Hong Kong (you can tell them to stop being ignorant too). The international name for Hong Kong is Hong Kong. It was originally derived from a similar-sounding Cantonese word, NOT from mainland China's "Xianggang". Xianggang is itself a phonetic imitation. There is nothing "correct" about it - you just assumed it's the original name because it's Chinese. Oops!

Jan 24, 2014 18:33 Report Abuse



HongKong is part of China, and the official language in China is Chinese, not "mandarin"...a term made up and known only to those people outside of China. Therefore, the international name for HongKong very well should be XiangGang, a name written in its native language. Just like we no longer call Beijing, Peking, cities' names should be spelt correctly, in accordance only with their native language.

Jan 26, 2014 10:44 Report Abuse



Holy god. The history of China and Hong Kong is something I am genuinely interested in and, unlike you, read about. The importance of naming as a political tool is also an interesting topic, but I suspect that's beyond your depth. "Xianggang" is a NON-native name that Beijing is attempting to impose as the official one, just as the British Empire liked to impose names in the past. According to you, "Cities' names should be spelt correctly, in accordance only with their native language." OK, then... Do you know what Hong Kong people speaking their native language call Hong Kong? They call it "Hong Kong". They pronounce it "Hong Kong". When they romanise the word, they write "Hong Kong". "Xianggang" is NOT the original name. It is not the official name. It is not part of the "native language", nor has it ever been. It is a name that Beijing (which has a different spoken language) is attempting to impose on Hong Kong. This is clearly not a topic you are familiar with.

Jan 26, 2014 15:55 Report Abuse



Yeah Rayjiao (Guest2293436) is being an idiot. In the native language of the region, no matter if you call it Cantonese or Yue, the city is called Hong Kong. Canadians don't call Montreal "Mount Royal" because that's what that word means in English. That being said, I think this boils down to local laziness and indifference more than trying to undermine the cantonese language.

Jan 27, 2014 09:31 Report Abuse



Sorry for the excessively serious response, Lord Hanson. I am liable to do that occasionally. Hong Kong's "high degree of autonomy" (and Beijing's interpretation of that) is a topic I'm quite serious about.

Jan 29, 2014 14:34 Report Abuse