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Let’s Learn IDNs — .中文网 (Chinese Website)

Kevin Murphy, December 2, 2013, 13:41:48 (UTC), Domain Registries

Today, the belated first in an irregular series of articles devoted to making new IDN gTLDs more recognizable to the majority of DI readers who use the Latin alphabet in their native tongue.
Let’s Learn IDNs, as I said in my introduction to the series, won’t teach you Greek, but it will hopefully make it easier to instinctively know what a Greek IDN means when you see it.
I’m hoping this will prove very useful for everyone with an interest in the new gTLD program, bringing meaning to what otherwise would be an incomprehensible string of gibberish.
For the first lesson, we’re looking at TLD Registry‘s .中文网, which I guarantee after today you’ll never forget.
Chinese (Simplified)
Chinese. According to the registry, this includes “Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka and over 250 other Chinese dialects.”
Zhōng Wén Wǎng
Jong (rhymes with long)
When (as in “when are you arriving”)
Wong (rhymes with long)
How to Learn this IDN
In Chinese, each character generally represents a syllable and will often also have meaning as a word in its own right, which is the case with the three characters of .中文网.
Helpfully, these characters are also pictograms that pretty much explain themselves.
(Zhōng) is a line going through the middle of a box. It means “middle”. It’s also the first character of the Chinese word for “China” — 中国, which literally means “Middle Kingdom”.
(Wén) looks like a little writing desk with a quill on top. It means “language”. Combine it with 中 to get 中文, which means “Chinese Language”.
(Wǎng) looks like a net (or maybe a cobweb). It’s the Simplified Chinese word for “net”, which the Chinese also use to refer to the internet or web.
“Altogether, 中文网 as a gTLD string, is two words that make one common Chinese language expression: Chinese-language (中文) website (网),” said TLD Registry’s head of comms Simon Cousins.
Dead easy, right?
Certainly, since Cousins first explained this to me a few months ago, I’ve never failed to recognize .中文网 whenever I’ve seen it.

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Comments (7)

  1. Steve says:

    Great subject. I was hoping you would start at the top.
    .com is going live idn.idn this year so maybe showing everyone what .com looks like in the different languages would be a good start.’s have been live for years but this year the .com is going idn as well. That’s what most investors in idn’s have been waiting for, pure idn.idn for .com in all major languages.
    The .whatever idn’s will have a huge mountain to climb as most people will still go to the .com version. imho. proved it with ascii’s so I would expect .whateveridn will follow the same fate.

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      I really like unbiased opinions with no undisclosed financial interests.

      • Steve says:

        I am certainly biased. They make sense, they get traffic and your phone has a .com button.
        I am also certain the CEO of Overstock publicly admitted a 61% TRAFFIC BLEED!! from to
        Patrick Byrne had the guts to admit
        “about eight out of 13 people who were trying to visit us through, eight were typing”
        That’s a huge loss and impossible to ignore. In my opinion you would be wasting money not purchasing your .whatever in it’s .com version. At $185k for each new gtld application you could certainly buy many, many exact match .com versions. You should always hedge your bets when experimenting with new extensions.
        There is also the bonus of all of the free traffic that flows to .com names in all languages.
        here’s the article link

  2. Steve says:

    You can see the transliterations for .com and .net here
    Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Hebrew, Arabic, Thai etc. all in .com is great.
    Verisign says
    “enables 87% of the world’s population that does not use Latin-based scripts to establish a web presence and navigate to domain names in their native language”

  3. Bill says:

    Interesting. I would love to know how .中文网 gets to the Latin character set .xn--fiq228c5hs, Could you address this in a future post?

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