Subject: Re: Saygon
Author: Sean Foglai   (guest)
Date: November 13, 2006 at 7:28 PM
Reply to: Re: Saygon by itabukinomiya

Only one guess since ... it may be related to Saigon ...

A frequently heard etymology is that Sài is a Chinese loan word (Chinese: 柴, pronounced chái in Mandarin) meaning "firewood, logs, twigs; palisade", while Gòn is another Chinese loan word (Chinese: 棍, pronounced gùn in Mandarin) meaning "stick, pole, bole", and whose meaning evolved into "cotton" in Vietnamese (bông gòn, literally "cotton stick", i.e. "cotton plant", then shortened to gòn).

Some people say that this name originated from the many cotton plants that the Khmer people had planted around Prey Nokor, and which can still be seen at Cây Mai temple and the surrounding areas. …

Trương Vĩnh Ký, "Souvenirs historiques sur Saïgon et ses environs", in Excursions et Reconnaissances, Imprimerie Coloniale, Saïgon, 1885.
Another explanation is that the etymological meaning "twigs" (Sài) & "boles" (Gòn) refers to the dense and tall forest that once existed around the city, a forest to which the Khmer name Prey Nokor already referred.

Chinese people both in Vietnam and in China do not use the name 柴棍 (pronounced Chaai-Gwan in Cantonese and Cháigùn in Mandarin), although etymologically speaking it is the Chinese name from which the Vietnamese name Sài Gòn is derived (if the theory here is correct). Instead, they call the city 西貢 (pronounced Sai-Gung in Cantonese and Xīgòng in Mandarin), which is a mere phonetic transliteration of the name "Saigon".


Messages in this thread:
  • Saygon - akiyamanomiya  Nov 9 2006, 7:02 PM
    • Re: Saygon - itabukinomiya (aka, akiyamanomiya-- my bad)  Nov 13 2006, 2:03 PM
    • Re: Saygon - Sean Foglai  Nov 9 2006, 7:53 PM
      • Re: Saygon - itabukinomiya  Nov 13 2006, 1:07 PM
        • Re: Saygon - itabukinomiya  Nov 13 2006, 1:09 PM
          • Re: Saygon - Sean Foglai  Nov 13 2006, 7:28 PM
            • Re: Saygon - akiyamanomiya  Nov 14 2006, 3:02 AM