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Thread: Curious characters: Mandarin and western political names

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    Politics.ie Member Shqiptar's Avatar
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    Default Curious characters: Mandarin and western political names

    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.
    Eagla agus eaglais: an bhfuil an fhréamh teangeolaíochta céanna acu?

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    Politics.ie Member seabhcan's Avatar
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    路明那根 = Road Next That Root

    (Luke Ming Flanagan)

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    Politics.ie Member james5001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seabhcan View Post
    路明那根 = Road Next That Root

    (Luke Ming Flanagan)
    Are you serious?! What a coincidence.
    The world is a very puzzling place. If you're not willing to be puzzled, you just become a replica of someone else's mind.

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    I wouldn't read much into this; the Chinese certainly don't.

    The relevant Wikipedia background information is Transcription into Chinese characters (also this table).

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    Politics.ie Member mr. jings's Avatar
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    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.

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    Politics.ie Member Shqiptar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asterix View Post
    I wouldn't read much into this; the Chinese certainly don't.

    The relevant Wikipedia background information is Transcription into Chinese characters (also this table).
    I'm not reading palms here or pretending to divine people's inner personalities. It's just a little fun.

    Those tables look rather....daunting. I prefer my method.
    Eagla agus eaglais: an bhfuil an fhréamh teangeolaíochta céanna acu?

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    Politics.ie Member BlackLion's Avatar
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    Ai Culture Job Restrain that's my name in Chinese or Mr Ai Culture Job Restrain to you.
    All men dream: but not equally. -T. E. Lawrence

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    Politics.ie Member stopdoingstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. jings View Post
    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
    Faoi mhóid bheith saor

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    Politics.ie Member mr. jings's Avatar
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    Incidentally 'Ireland' is 'Ai er lan' (爱尔兰 or 愛爾蘭) which means 'Love you orchid' or something.

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