See also: Shanxi


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Alternative forms




From a modified form of the Hanyu Pinyin romanization of Chinese 陝西陕西 (Shǎnxī, West of the Shan [Pass]).

The double-a spelling, used certainly to avoid homography with Shanxi (山西, of shān rather than shǎn), is not a feature of Hanyu Pinyin and cannot be observed outside reference to Shaanxi (see also: Shaanbei, Ningshaan). It is likely inherited from the pre-Pinyin Latinxua Sin Wenz system devised and employed by Communist linguists, which was toneless and employed "irregular spellings" for undesirable homographs. The pairs Shaansi (陝西陕西) and Shansi (山西) appear (for the first time?) in the influential Sin Wenz primer 中國話寫法拉丁化——理論·原則·方案 (1935).

An alternative theory is that the double-a spelling is from the Gwoyeu Romatzyh romanization system, where the third tone is spelled by doubling a vowel (Shaanshi 陝西陕西 vs. Shanshi 山西), but this is less likely considering the history of Gwoyeu Romatzyh and Sin Wenz, including the political and ideological rivalry between the two systems.


  • IPA(key): /ʃɑːnˈʃiː/, /ˈʃænˈʃiː/

Proper noun



  1. A province in China, including the Wei River valley and the fertile southern half of the Ordos Loop, comprising much of the Loess Plateau. Capital: Xi'an.
    • [1856, Thomas Taylor Meadows, The Chinese and their Rebellions[1], London: Smith, Elder & Co., →OCLC, page 176:
      The fact, therefore, that the Tae pings, when they raised the siege of Hwae king on the 1st September marched westwards by it into Shan se, shows that the Imperial forces were strong enough to prevent their descent by the Wei river.]
    • 1979 March 5, Jay Mathews, “China Is China, But Hangchow Is Hangzhou”, in The Washington Post[2], →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 29 December 2023[3]:
      Under the Pinyin system, two neighboring provinces of northern China are both spelled "Shanxi". In this special case, one of the provinces is now spelled "Shaanxi", to indicate a different tone in the first syllable.
    • 1979 July, “2,000-year-old Paper”, in Eastern Horizon[4], volume XVIII, number 7, Hong Kong: Eastern Horizon Press, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 51:
      Three pieces of paper which may date back to between 73 and 49 BC were recently found in Fufeng county, Shaanxi province.
    • 1979 August, Lan Cao, “Tomb of the Yellow Emperor”, in China Reconstructs[5], volume XXVIII, number 8, China Welfare Institute, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 64, column 1:
      HUANG DI, the legendary Yellow Emperor to whom is attributed the founding of the Chinese nation about 2000 B.C., is said to have been buried on the loess plateau. There is a tomb in Shaanxi province’s Huangling county which has long been honored as his.
    • 1984, Pan Jiang (P'an Kiang), “The Phylogenetic Position of the Eugaleaspida in China”, in Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales[6], volume 107, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 311:
      Relevant new discoveries in China, not yet described, include polybranchiaspids and hanyangaspids which were recently (1981-82) recovered from an Early Silurian formation in western Hunan Province of south China, and in southern Shaanxi Province, west China.
    • 1986 June 16, “CHINESE TOMB FOUND TO BE VICTIM OF GRAVE ROBBERS”, in The New York Times[7], →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 24 May 2015, B, page 10[8]:
      "Archeologists drew almost a complete blank in their search of the inner tomb," the official New China News Agency said Saturday in a report of excavations at the tomb site, thought to be between 2,200 and 2,800 years old. The site is in Fengxiang County of Shaanxi Province, about 90 miles west of the ancient Yellow River capital of Xian.
    • 2019 January 13, “21 die in China coal mine collapse”, in EFE[9], archived from the original on 13 January 2019:
      Twenty one people were killed in China after the roof of a coal mine collapsed in Lijiagou, in the central province Shaanxi, state media reported on Sunday.
    • 2022 January 19, “Chinese couple trapped on lockdown date get engaged”, in France 24[10], archived from the original on 19 January 2022, Live news:
      Zhao Xiaoqing, a 28-year-old woman from northern China's Shaanxi province, thought her date in mid-December with a young man living in a different city would be a one-day affair where she would also get to know his family.
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:Shaanxi.





See also

  • Not to be confused with Shanxi.
Province-level divisions of the People's Republic of China in English (layout · text)
Provinces: Anhui · Fujian · Guangdong · Gansu · Guizhou · Henan · Hubei · Hebei · Hainan · Heilongjiang · Hunan · Jilin · Jiangsu · Jiangxi · Liaoning · Qinghai · Sichuan · Shandong · Shaanxi · Shanxi · Taiwan (claimed) · Yunnan · Zhejiang
Autonomous regions: Guangxi · Inner Mongolia · Ningxia · Tibet Autonomous Region · Xinjiang
Municipalities: Beijing · Tianjin · Shanghai · Chongqing
Special administrative regions: Hong Kong · Macau

Further reading