Why is Vladivostok translated as 海參崴, in Chinese?

Two theories about the meaning of 海参崴* Hǎishēnwǎi / Haeshenwae

1: Perhaps a translation of a Manchu name that means “seaside village”: ᡥᠠᡳ᠌ᡧᡝᠨᠸᡝᡳ

2: Perhaps 崴 is a local word used to form names of bays. 海参 hǎishēn / haeshen is a Mandarin word for “sea cucumber”, so 海参崴 could mean “Sea Cucumber Bay” or the more mellifluous “Bêche de Mer Bay /bɛʃdəmɛʁbeɩ/” (which alliterates and repeats vowels).

Sea cucumbers* are animals that can expel sticky internal organs through their cloaca as a defense mechanism.

Sea cucumber – Wikipedia
Sea cucumbers are echinoderms from the class Holothuroidea ( / ˌ h ɒ l ə ˌ θj ʊəˈr ɔɪ d i . ə , ˌ h oʊ -/ HOL -əth- EW – ROY -dee-ə, HOLE – ). They are marine animals with a leathery skin and an elongated body containing a single, branched gonad . They are found on the sea floor worldwide. The number of known holothurian ( / ˌ h ɒ l ə ˈ θj ʊər i . ə n , ˌ h oʊ -/ HOL -əth- URE -ee-ən, HOLE – ) [1] [2] species worldwide is about 1,786, [3] with the greatest number being in the Asia-Pacific region. [4] Many of these are gathered for human consumption and some species are cultivated in aquaculture systems. The harvested product is variously referred to as trepang , namako , bêche-de-mer , or balate . Sea cucumbers serve a useful role in the marine ecosystem as they help recycle nutrients, breaking down detritus and other organic matter , after which bacteria can continue the decomposition process. [4] Sea cucumber Temporal range: Middle Ordovician-present A sea cucumber ( Actinopyga echinites ), displaying its feeding tentacles and tube feet Scientific classification Domain: Eukaryota Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Echinodermata Subphylum: Echinozoa Class: Holothuroidea Blainville , 1834 Orders Apodida Brandt, 1835 † Arthrochirotida Seilacher, 1961 Dendrochirotida Grube, 1840 Elasipodida Théel, 1882 Holothuriida Miller, Kerr, Paulay, Reich, Wilson, Carvajal & Rouse, 2017 Molpadida Haeckel, 1896 Persiculida Miller, Kerr, Paulay, Reich, Wilson, Carvajal & Rouse, 2017 Synallactida Miller, Kerr, Paulay, Reich, Wilson, Carvajal & Rouse, 2017 Thelenota ananas , a giant sea cucumber from the Indo-Pacific tropics Like all echinoderms , sea cucumbers have an endoskeleton just below the skin, calcified structures that are usually reduced to isolated microscopic ossicles (or sclerietes) joined by connective tissue . In some species these can sometimes be enlarged to flattened plates, forming an armour. In pelagic species such as Pelagothuria natatrix (order Elasipodida , family Pelagothuriidae ), the skeleton is absent and there is no calcareous ring. [5] Sea cucumbers are named for their resemblance to the fruit of the cucumber plant. Overview Sea cucumber : a -Tentacles, b – Cloaca, c – Ambulacral feet on the ventral side, d -Papillae on the back Most sea cucumbers, as their name suggests, have a soft and cylindrical body, more or less lengthened, rounded off and occasionally fat in the extremities, and generally without solid appendages. Their shape ranges from almost spherical for “sea apples” (genus Pseudocolochirus ) to serpent-like for Apodida or the classic sausage-shape, while others resemble caterpillars. The mouth is surrounded by tentacles, which can be pulled back inside the animal. [6] Holothurians measure generally between 10 and 30 centimetres long, with extremes of some millimetres for Rhabdomolgus ruber and up to more than 3 metres for Synapta maculata . The largest American species, Holothuria floridana , which abounds just below low-water mark

I’ve had this “delicacy” before, but did not care for their taste or texture.

Note that on English menus, this dish is usually known under the French name bêche de mer /bɛʃdəmɛʁ/ instead.

*echinoderms, animals in the same group as sea stars and sea urchins: animals with spiny [GK: echino-] skin [GK: derm].


I have not been able to find any Manchu dictionary with an entry for meaning #1. #2 might be a folk etymology (undocumented guess).

The Chinese name has nothing to do with the Russian Vladivostok, rendered phonetically as 符拉迪沃斯托克 Fúlādíwòsītuōkè / Fwulhadyiwohsytuokeh Владивосток, a combination of владеть “to own, control” and восток “East”.

*In ROC Mandarin (國語), 海参崴 is pronounced Hǎishēnwēi / Haeshen’uei

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