Chinese Trumpistas

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Their legions grow with each passing day.  This post is about what they are called in Chinese (see below).

The Chinese people were fascinated with Trump even before he was sworn in as POTUS:

"Year of the cock" (1/4/17)

See also the references in the second half of the third post cited below.

Now that Trump has been President for more than four months, he is all the more popular among certain segments of the Chinese population.  Even top politicians who are jockeying for power at the 19th Party Congress to be held this fall are modeling themselves after Trump:

"China’s Leadership Reshuffle 2017: Rising Stars; How China’s regional chiefs use Trump tactic in race for top" (Choi Chi-yuk, SCMP, 6/3/17)

One mentioned Communist Party chief Xi Jinping’s name 26 times in a speech, another mentioned poverty 90 times

Language Log regulars are by now quite familiar with how to say Donald Trump's name in Chinese:

"Chinese transcriptions of Donald Trump’s surname " (11/23/16)

Transcription of “Barack Obama”, “Hillary Clinton”, and “Donald Trump” in the Sinosphere” (10/2/16)

"Trump translated " (8/31/16)

How Trump's name is rendered in Chinese varies depending on whether the person you ask is from mainland China (ZH-CN), Hong Kong (ZH-HK), Macau (ZH-MO), Malaysia/Singapore (ZH-SG), or Taiwan (ZH-TW).

ZH-CN Tángnàdé Tèlǎngpǔ  唐纳德·特朗普
ZH-HK Dāngláo Chuānpǔ 當勞·川普
ZH-MO Dāngláo Tèlǎngpǔ 當勞·特朗普
ZH-SG Tángnàdé Chuānpǔ 唐纳德·川普
ZH-TW Tángnà Chuānpǔ 唐納·川普

This is not an exhaustive list of all the different Sinographic transcriptions of Donald Trump's name and surname.

Here are the two prevailing transcriptions of “Trump” in Chinese characters:

Tèlǎngpǔ 特朗普 (mainland China, Macau, Malaysia/Singapore) — 9,420,000 ghits

Chuānpǔ 川普 (Taiwan, Hong Kong, but also on the mainland, especially on the internet) — 867,000 ghits

As for the Donald's given name, all the transcriptions of it I know (and there are many) begin with Táng 唐 (cf. Táng lǎo yā  唐老鸭 ["Donald Duck"]).

Incidentally, in doing the research for this post, I was intrigued when I came upon these etymological notes on the name "Donald" in Wikpedia:

Donald is a masculine given name derived from the Gaelic name Domhnall. This comes from the Proto-Celtic *Dumno-ualos ("world-ruler" or "world-wielder"). The final –d in Donald is partly derived from a misinterpretation of the Gaelic pronunciation by English speakers, and partly associated with the spelling of similar-sounding Germanic names, such as Ronald. A short form of Donald is Don. Pet forms of Donald include Donnie and Donny. The feminine given name Donella is derived from Donald.

Donald has cognates in other Celtic languages: Modern Irish Dónal (anglicised as Donal and Donall); Scottish Gaelic Dòmhnall, Domhnull and Dòmhnull; Welsh Dyfnwal and Cumbric Dumnagual. Although the feminine given name Donna is sometimes used as a feminine form of Donald, the names are not etymologically related.

In Chinese, Trumpistas are called “Chuānfěn 川粉”.  If you're not in the know, you might think that means "Sichuan powder".  The first syllable, however, is short for "Chuānpǔ 川普" ("Trump"), and the second syllable is short for "fěnsī 粉絲", which is the transcription of "fans", though it can also mean cellophane noodles, aka Chinese vermicelli, bean threads, bean thread noodles, crystal noodles, or glass noodles (other Chinese names for this type of noodles are dōngfěn 冬粉 (lit., "winter noodles"), xìfěn 細粉 (lit., "fine / slender noodles"), and xiànfěn 線粉 (lit., "line noodles").

Lately, since his inauguration, in their affection for the POTUS, the “Chuānfěn 川粉 ("Trump fans") have taken to calling him Táng zǒng 唐總 ("Don Prez").  They know nothing of "covfefe" yet, but I predict that when they hear about it, they will want to order one right away at the nearest Star*ucks.

"Star what?" (7/24/11)

Oh, no, that's "Coffe"!

[h.t. Mandy Chan]


  1. Jason said,

    June 3, 2017 @ 6:17 pm

    I prefer to call the precious snowflakes "trumpettes," stress on the ult, instead of trumpistas.

  2. B.Ma said,

    June 4, 2017 @ 2:27 am

    Given the ubiquity of 麦当劳, I don't see why 当劳 wasn't deemed adequate for all Chinese-speaking areas.

    As a user of British English, when Americans say Donald they sound to me like they are saying "Daanal", which 当劳 approximates even better.

    The adoption of 唐纳德·特朗普 (Tonnadick Tarrampoe) sounds like a deliberate f-you to Cantonese speakers. It isn't difficult to choose a transcription that works acceptably in both Mandarin and Cantonese, though at the risk of making it awkward to Min speakers. How do you say the TW transcription (唐納·川普) in Hokkien and Hakka?

  3. Jason said,

    June 4, 2017 @ 8:28 am

    Americans don't drop final stop consonants, save in the same environments that British do.
    is pronounced as DAHN-əld, with a glottalised .

  4. Jason said,

    June 4, 2017 @ 8:30 am

    Glottalised D. Thanks to the no laptops on flights out of the Gulf, I'm typing on an iPad here…

  5. Victor Mair said,

    June 4, 2017 @ 6:14 pm

    "China is loving the Trump presidency"

    Harry J. Kazianis The Week 5/22/17

    VHM: This is poorly written and overblown, but some people think this way, so we should be aware of what they're saying.

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