• It has come to our attention that some users may have been "banned" when they tried to change their passwords after the site was hacked due to a glitch in the old vBulletin software. This would have occurred around the end of February and does not apply after the site was converted to Xenforo. If you believe you were affected by this, please contact a staff member or use the Contact us link at the bottom of any forum page.

Curious characters: Mandarin and western political names


Shqiptar

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
6,309
Most of ye will know that the Chinese language doesn't have an alphabet. It uses characters (there are thousands of them) to represent concepts and you have to learn each one, how to write it and also how to pronounce it since the system is largely non-phonetic. Each character represents a syllable so in a three syllable "word", you can expect to see three characters.

For example, the word for China in Chinese is "Zhong-guo". In Mandarin, it's written as:
中国
.....the first character representing Zhong (literally "middle") and the second one representing guo (literally "land" or "kingdom").

So, how do they represent Western names? Well, they choose Chinese characters that are closest to the sound of each syllable and string them all together. Our dear Taoiseach is rendered as:
恩达肯尼 (four syllables, four characters, remember?)

This is the fun bit. What do the four characters mean? Well, for the Chinese, Enda Kenny means:
Grace
Attain
Be Prepared
Buddhist nun

(Who knew?)

This is a game everyone can play. Just type the name of the politico into Google Translate and run it through Chinese Simplified. Then take each character in turn and translate it from Chinese Simplified to English.

If you're doubtful about the English to Chinese translation, just copy the string of characters into Google Images. The ugly mug of the politician in question should pop up.
 

james5001

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 27, 2009
Messages
11,503

mr. jings

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Messages
8,095
The good thing is that when picking your Mandarin name, you've got loads of latitude to pick a cool one (or an insulting one) because Mandarin has loads and loads of homonyms since phonetically it's quite a limited language (even taking their tones into account). The richness of the language lies in the characters, which the Chinese are always thinking about when speaking. You need to have learned something in the order of two to three thousand to be able to pick up a newspaper and read it cover to cover without picking up a dictionary.
 

Shqiptar

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
6,309

BlackLion

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 21, 2010
Messages
4,856
Ai Culture Job Restrain that's my name in Chinese or Mr Ai Culture Job Restrain to you.
 

stopdoingstuff

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 26, 2011
Messages
22,897
The good thing is that when picking your Mandarin name, you've got loads of latitude to pick a cool one (or an insulting one) because Mandarin has loads and loads of homonyms since phonetically it's quite a limited language (even taking their tones into account). The richness of the language lies in the characters, which the Chinese are always thinking about when speaking. You need to have learned something in the order of two to three thousand to be able to pick up a newspaper and read it cover to cover without picking up a dictionary.
Mine is 龙动
 

mr. jings

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Messages
8,095
Incidentally 'Ireland' is 'Ai er lan' (爱尔兰 or 愛爾蘭) which means 'Love you orchid' or something.
 

iago1709

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 2, 2011
Messages
384
I remember reading that a few schools in Ireland are starting to offer Chinese on the curriculum. I wonder is there just a handful of them doing so, or are the numbers growing?
One of the Latin American countries, Panama I think, made the study of Chinese compulsory. I love learning languages but Chinese is a tough mountain to climb, at least for an adult learner.
 

Shqiptar

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
6,309
I remember reading that a few schools in Ireland are starting to offer Chinese on the curriculum. I wonder is there just a handful of them doing so, or are the numbers growing?
One of the Latin American countries, Panama I think, made the study of Chinese compulsory. I love learning languages but Chinese is a tough mountain to climb, at least for an adult learner.
There's SFA when it comes to grammar! I need grammar to sustain me during the long, tedious slog of vocabulary rote learning.
 

Shqiptar

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
6,309
George Bush
乔治·布什
Tall rule cloth assorted
 
Top