Chinese Name Advice

RoseRogan

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Feb 13, 2020
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Hello! I am a noob author to the transmigrator theme and, despite reading a handful of Chinese novels, I am extremely nervous to write my first transmigrator novel with a historic (but magical) Chinese setting. I don't want to butcher the culture with my superficial knowledge but I also don't want to rely heavily on books I've read in the past. Therefore, I am creating my own world with a Chinese influence and I need some of my senpai's help. Mainly, I wanted to know if the character names are acceptable? So far, I have three leads and would like to hear your opinions on their names and what I believe to be their meaning.
  • MC :Li Jiao Mei (Plum/Beautiful/Chinese Plum)
  • ML: Wang Tai Wei (Ruler/Extreme/Power)--Crown Prince
  • 2nd ML: Wang Tai Huang (Ruler/Extreme/bright)--4th Prince

Also, if these names are ok, what would be some natural nicknames for them or how should they commonly be referred by?

Thanks in advance for all your help :blob_happy:!!
 

Taxouck

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May 12, 2019
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I don’t know enough about Chinese to tell you if you’re doing good but I know at least enough to tell you you’re doing better than JK Rowling. Not a high bar, but a bar nonetheless.
 

RoseRogan

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I don’t know enough about Chinese to tell you if you’re doing good but I know at least enough to tell you you’re doing better than JK Rowling. Not a high bar, but a bar nonetheless.
Dear Taxouck, I thank you for the compliment (for I think being compared to JK Rowling on any front is a compliment in my book:blob_aww:). I assume you are referring to Cho Chang which is, admittedly, a little lacking in origionality :ROFLMAO:
 

GDLiZy

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First is surname and second is the real name. Usually, they will also have 'middle name' but it's just a number to specify their generation. IIRC, the 'middle name' is just simply the order of birth. The first child would have yi ( 1 in Chinese )as their middle name, like Yan YiShi ( meaning Yan Shi is the first child of his generation. )

Here's some reference regarding name in ancient china:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_name - Some facts about the given name
http://houston.china-consulate.org/eng/CT/whyp/t56066.htm - About the Chinese name as a whole
https://immortalmountain.wordpress.com/glossary/other-miscellaneous-terms/ - Here's some cultivation term
https://immortalmountain.wordpress.com/glossary/chinese-idioms-and-phrases/ - Here's the usual idioms in Chinese novels
https://immortalmountain.wordpress.com/glossary/terms-of-address/ - Here's how they address each other.
 

Nairo

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First is surname and second is the real name. Usually, they will also have 'middle name' but it's just a number to specify their generation. IIRC, the 'middle name' is just simply the order of birth. The first child would have yi ( 1 in Chinese )as their middle name, like Yan YiShi ( meaning Yan Shi is the first child of his generation. )

Here's some reference regarding name in ancient china:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_name - Some facts about the given name
http://houston.china-consulate.org/eng/CT/whyp/t56066.htm - About the Chinese name as a whole
https://immortalmountain.wordpress.com/glossary/other-miscellaneous-terms/ - Here's some cultivation term
https://immortalmountain.wordpress.com/glossary/chinese-idioms-and-phrases/ - Here's the usual idioms in Chinese novels
https://immortalmountain.wordpress.com/glossary/terms-of-address/ - Here's how they address each other.
Well now I think I dont need to help... leave it to the experts they say.
 

Nairo

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Feb 8, 2020
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3
All I can think of the name given is that its common

-easy to remember and powerful
-but its like the same as other Chinese novels

That's all.
Tho I'm sorry if this makes someone mad
(I really do)
 

Roseuwuowo

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You could add jiejie or gege as in elder sister or elder brother, but if ur obsessed with Chinese novels like I am then you probably know that already. You could try repeating sounds like meimei
 

RoseRogan

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Feb 13, 2020
Messages
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First is surname and second is the real name. Usually, they will also have 'middle name' but it's just a number to specify their generation. IIRC, the 'middle name' is just simply the order of birth. The first child would have yi ( 1 in Chinese )as their middle name, like Yan YiShi ( meaning Yan Shi is the first child of his generation. )

Here's some reference regarding name in ancient china:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_name - Some facts about the given name
http://houston.china-consulate.org/eng/CT/whyp/t56066.htm - About the Chinese name as a whole
https://immortalmountain.wordpress.com/glossary/other-miscellaneous-terms/ - Here's some cultivation term
https://immortalmountain.wordpress.com/glossary/chinese-idioms-and-phrases/ - Here's the usual idioms in Chinese novels
https://immortalmountain.wordpress.com/glossary/terms-of-address/ - Here's how they address each other.
Hello GDLiZy thank you for the explanation as well as the links! I will definitely be taking a look at what you have provided :)
 

RoseRogan

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Feb 13, 2020
Messages
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All I can think of the name given is that its common

-easy to remember and powerful
-but its like the same as other Chinese novels

That's all.
Tho I'm sorry if this makes someone mad
(I really do)
Hey Nairo , you didn't offend me at all if that is what you're worried about! I am glad the names sound ok :)
 

RoseRogan

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Feb 13, 2020
Messages
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You could add jiejie or gege as in elder sister or elder brother, but if ur obsessed with Chinese novels like I am then you probably know that already. You could try repeating sounds like meimei
I will definitely be doing that! I know dede is little brother but what is little sister again? Also, I will probs be doing a mix of Mei Mei and/or Jiao Jiao. I am more lost on how to refer to the males cuz I don't know if it's awkward to use things like 'Ah Wei' or "Haung'er". Why are guys so difficult to give nicknames/terms of endearment :blob_pout:.
 

Yiphen

Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2019
Messages
39
Points
18
<- Chinese
Seems good. Maybe the first name could use some more thought since it isn't that fluid when saying it though.
Sort of like how in a conversation you sometimes slur words together to make it easier and more pleasant to hear. Like, "You know" becomes, "y'know" or "come on" becomes "c'mon."
Another thing to consider is that the words are supposed to mean something when spoken together. Ruler extreme power does say something, but it's not too interesting. An extremely mighty and powerful ruler. Or maybe they are extremely powerful, or their family expects them to be extremely powerful, and they're destined to be the ruler? It's still focused on them being a ruler and being powerful. There isn't much interpretation.
But what about something like, forest rabbit wind? Are they like a rabbit, able to weave through trees as swiftly as the wind? Or are they literally as fast as the wind, and elusive as a rabbit to the point where chasing them down is pointless?

On a side note, I personally doubt there would ever be a chinese ruler who names themselves "ruler," much like how you won't find a king in history with the name of king. (All hail our majesty, King! The king, King? Kingking?)
 

RoseRogan

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Joined
Feb 13, 2020
Messages
16
Points
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<- Chinese
Seems good. Maybe the first name could use some more thought since it isn't that fluid when saying it though.
Sort of like how in a conversation you sometimes slur words together to make it easier and more pleasant to hear. Like, "You know" becomes, "y'know" or "come on" becomes "c'mon."
Another thing to consider is that the words are supposed to mean something when spoken together. Ruler extreme power does say something, but it's not too interesting. An extremely mighty and powerful ruler. Or maybe they are extremely powerful, or their family expects them to be extremely powerful, and they're destined to be the ruler? It's still focused on them being a ruler and being powerful. There isn't much interpretation.
But what about something like, forest rabbit wind? Are they like a rabbit, able to weave through trees as swiftly as the wind? Or are they literally as fast as the wind, and elusive as a rabbit to the point where chasing them down is pointless?

On a side note, I personally doubt there would ever be a chinese ruler who names themselves "ruler," much like how you won't find a king in history with the name of king. (All hail our majesty, King! The king, King? Kingking?)
Yiphen, thank you so much for the input! Not gonna lie, I couldn't stop laughing when you pointed out the "Kingking" dilemma lol. I was thinking more along the lines of his parents naming him that to suggest he was most likely the one to be king in the future but I now see it sounds a tad ridiculous :blob_joy:. I will be making some changes thanks to what you said, but I do admit that I will be a little lost on what sounds fluid when it comes to names. I studied Japanese and not Chinese so can recognize some Kanji and maybe have a vague sense of meaning but I'm clueless on pronunciation :sweating_profusely: . Thanks anyways!!
 

Emyliine

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Nov 18, 2019
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3
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3
<-- majored in Chinese history, studied Mandarin for 5 years.

Dede is not little brother, that's Didi.

Gege (pronounced like gerh gerh) = older brother
Didi (dee-dee) = younger brother
Jiejie (jee-air jee-air but said very fast so the r is almost unspoken) = older sister
Meimei (may-may) = younger sister

Some tips for chinese pronunciation:

The romanization of Chinese is called pinyin. So first and foremost, if you want help with pronouncing it, you can look up "how to pronounce pinyin". Here's a good pronunciation chart that covers every possible syllable and tone: https://chinese.yabla.com/chinese-pinyin-chart.php . It's my favorite one but there are plenty of others.

Some tips: consonants are usually pronounced how you would think (yan is yan, wang is wang, etc) but there are a few that western speakers tend not to know.

Zh is not "zh" like the sound in mirage. It's a hard j sound, like in jerk. So zhong sounds more like jong than zong.
C is not a k or s sound, it's like a ts sound. Like saying "its". So cang is tsah-ng.
Z is a hard z, like how we say the z in pizza. We put almost a d in it, do you hear it? pee-dza. That's the z in mandarin. So zou is more like dzou.
X is a very sharp "sh." Like in sheep. Say sheep and feel how the air almost whistled as you say sh. That's x in pinyin. So xin is shin, like on a leg.
Q is a very sharp "ch" like in cheap. Again, similar to x and sheep. When you say cheap the ch is very sharp and whistle-y. So qin is NOT like "chin", with a more rounded out ch sound. Say chin but with the ch sound in cheap. Hopefully that makes sense and you can hear the difference.

And again, you can refer to the pinyin chart above to hear these sounds.

The other problem with romanization is that without tones and especially without seeing the character, a single chinese word could mean several different things. Like you translated "huang" as bright but it could also mean yellow, emperor, wilderness, lie, panicked, locust.... you get the gist. So on one hand you could just throw up your hands and not care about meaning, or you can put the actual meanings in the footnotes if that's important to you.

Also as you may have noticed reading Chinese novels, in ancient china people often had several different names, and nicknames were not given like we give, where we simply shorten the sound or add an "ee" at the end. Like Jennifer becoming "Jen" or James becoming "Jamie." So if you name your characters with Chinese names, you cannot simply have them be called "Meimei" or "Taitai." You either have to also find their "nicknames" (usually a single word different from any in their common name, like how in MDZS Jiang *Wanyin* is called Jiang *Cheng*) or always refer to them as their full names.

People VERY close to someone will simply take the last word of their name and add "ah" to it. So Li Jiao Mei could be called "A-Mei" by family. Pretty much only family once you're an adult. It's kind of patronizing for even your closest friend to call you that beyond the age of like 8 or so, but older family members kind of get a pass cause they've known you since you were a baby of course.

Speaking of family, family names are EXTREMELY important in China, and of course they are passed down from the father's side (most of the time, there are a few exceptions because china is so big and diverse but like 99% of the time, it's patriarchal). So a ruler having "Wang" as their last name would be preeeetty unlikely unless their family has been the ruling family for generations going back to the time before people even had last names.

This also frees you up to not worry about the meaning of last names. The meaning doesn't matter as much as the connection and familial ties that come with the name and I don't know many people who would decide on their baby's name based on how it works with the meaning of the last name. So the last name does not have to have a meaning related to the other two words.

Okay sorry I wrote you an entire novel aha. I'm happy to answer any other questions you have.
 

tiaf

Trash in all fields (σ・з・)σ
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
213
Points
93
<-- majored in Chinese history, studied Mandarin for 5 years.

Dede is not little brother, that's Didi.

Gege (pronounced like gerh gerh) = older brother
Didi (dee-dee) = younger brother
Jiejie (jee-air jee-air but said very fast so the r is almost unspoken) = older sister
Meimei (may-may) = younger sister

Some tips for chinese pronunciation:

The romanization of Chinese is called pinyin. So first and foremost, if you want help with pronouncing it, you can look up "how to pronounce pinyin". Here's a good pronunciation chart that covers every possible syllable and tone: https://chinese.yabla.com/chinese-pinyin-chart.php . It's my favorite one but there are plenty of others.

Some tips: consonants are usually pronounced how you would think (yan is yan, wang is wang, etc) but there are a few that western speakers tend not to know.

Zh is not "zh" like the sound in mirage. It's a hard j sound, like in jerk. So zhong sounds more like jong than zong.
C is not a k or s sound, it's like a ts sound. Like saying "its". So cang is tsah-ng.
Z is a hard z, like how we say the z in pizza. We put almost a d in it, do you hear it? pee-dza. That's the z in mandarin. So zou is more like dzou.
X is a very sharp "sh." Like in sheep. Say sheep and feel how the air almost whistled as you say sh. That's x in pinyin. So xin is shin, like on a leg.
Q is a very sharp "ch" like in cheap. Again, similar to x and sheep. When you say cheap the ch is very sharp and whistle-y. So qin is NOT like "chin", with a more rounded out ch sound. Say chin but with the ch sound in cheap. Hopefully that makes sense and you can hear the difference.

And again, you can refer to the pinyin chart above to hear these sounds.

The other problem with romanization is that without tones and especially without seeing the character, a single chinese word could mean several different things. Like you translated "huang" as bright but it could also mean yellow, emperor, wilderness, lie, panicked, locust.... you get the gist. So on one hand you could just throw up your hands and not care about meaning, or you can put the actual meanings in the footnotes if that's important to you.

Also as you may have noticed reading Chinese novels, in ancient china people often had several different names, and nicknames were not given like we give, where we simply shorten the sound or add an "ee" at the end. Like Jennifer becoming "Jen" or James becoming "Jamie." So if you name your characters with Chinese names, you cannot simply have them be called "Meimei" or "Taitai." You either have to also find their "nicknames" (usually a single word different from any in their common name, like how in MDZS Jiang *Wanyin* is called Jiang *Cheng*) or always refer to them as their full names.

People VERY close to someone will simply take the last word of their name and add "ah" to it. So Li Jiao Mei could be called "A-Mei" by family. Pretty much only family once you're an adult. It's kind of patronizing for even your closest friend to call you that beyond the age of like 8 or so, but older family members kind of get a pass cause they've known you since you were a baby of course.

Speaking of family, family names are EXTREMELY important in China, and of course they are passed down from the father's side (most of the time, there are a few exceptions because china is so big and diverse but like 99% of the time, it's patriarchal). So a ruler having "Wang" as their last name would be preeeetty unlikely unless their family has been the ruling family for generations going back to the time before people even had last names.

This also frees you up to not worry about the meaning of last names. The meaning doesn't matter as much as the connection and familial ties that come with the name and I don't know many people who would decide on their baby's name based on how it works with the meaning of the last name. So the last name does not have to have a meaning related to the other two words.

Okay sorry I wrote you an entire novel aha. I'm happy to answer any other questions you have.
Shizun, let me worship you :blob_aww::blob_aww:
 

RoseRogan

New member
Joined
Feb 13, 2020
Messages
16
Points
3
<-- majored in Chinese history, studied Mandarin for 5 years.

Dede is not little brother, that's Didi.

Gege (pronounced like gerh gerh) = older brother
Didi (dee-dee) = younger brother
Jiejie (jee-air jee-air but said very fast so the r is almost unspoken) = older sister
Meimei (may-may) = younger sister

Some tips for chinese pronunciation:

The romanization of Chinese is called pinyin. So first and foremost, if you want help with pronouncing it, you can look up "how to pronounce pinyin". Here's a good pronunciation chart that covers every possible syllable and tone: https://chinese.yabla.com/chinese-pinyin-chart.php . It's my favorite one but there are plenty of others.

Some tips: consonants are usually pronounced how you would think (yan is yan, wang is wang, etc) but there are a few that western speakers tend not to know.

Zh is not "zh" like the sound in mirage. It's a hard j sound, like in jerk. So zhong sounds more like jong than zong.
C is not a k or s sound, it's like a ts sound. Like saying "its". So cang is tsah-ng.
Z is a hard z, like how we say the z in pizza. We put almost a d in it, do you hear it? pee-dza. That's the z in mandarin. So zou is more like dzou.
X is a very sharp "sh." Like in sheep. Say sheep and feel how the air almost whistled as you say sh. That's x in pinyin. So xin is shin, like on a leg.
Q is a very sharp "ch" like in cheap. Again, similar to x and sheep. When you say cheap the ch is very sharp and whistle-y. So qin is NOT like "chin", with a more rounded out ch sound. Say chin but with the ch sound in cheap. Hopefully that makes sense and you can hear the difference.

And again, you can refer to the pinyin chart above to hear these sounds.

The other problem with romanization is that without tones and especially without seeing the character, a single chinese word could mean several different things. Like you translated "huang" as bright but it could also mean yellow, emperor, wilderness, lie, panicked, locust.... you get the gist. So on one hand you could just throw up your hands and not care about meaning, or you can put the actual meanings in the footnotes if that's important to you.

Also as you may have noticed reading Chinese novels, in ancient china people often had several different names, and nicknames were not given like we give, where we simply shorten the sound or add an "ee" at the end. Like Jennifer becoming "Jen" or James becoming "Jamie." So if you name your characters with Chinese names, you cannot simply have them be called "Meimei" or "Taitai." You either have to also find their "nicknames" (usually a single word different from any in their common name, like how in MDZS Jiang *Wanyin* is called Jiang *Cheng*) or always refer to them as their full names.

People VERY close to someone will simply take the last word of their name and add "ah" to it. So Li Jiao Mei could be called "A-Mei" by family. Pretty much only family once you're an adult. It's kind of patronizing for even your closest friend to call you that beyond the age of like 8 or so, but older family members kind of get a pass cause they've known you since you were a baby of course.

Speaking of family, family names are EXTREMELY important in China, and of course they are passed down from the father's side (most of the time, there are a few exceptions because china is so big and diverse but like 99% of the time, it's patriarchal). So a ruler having "Wang" as their last name would be preeeetty unlikely unless their family has been the ruling family for generations going back to the time before people even had last names.

This also frees you up to not worry about the meaning of last names. The meaning doesn't matter as much as the connection and familial ties that come with the name and I don't know many people who would decide on their baby's name based on how it works with the meaning of the last name. So the last name does not have to have a meaning related to the other two words.

Okay sorry I wrote you an entire novel aha. I'm happy to answer any other questions you have.
Emyliine, I agree with tiaf you are absolutely a Shizun in my book lol. Don't apologize for the novel length reply because it is exactly what I wanted to know when I started this thread. As I've said previously, I studied Japanese and because of that I know a little about Asian culture through things like comparative studies or history courses but the intricacies of the culture are lost to me beyond the few Chinese novels I have read. I am happy to hear such a detailed explanation as it will help me research and develop this book in a way that respects Chinese culture (I hope and pray that it does anyways).

Thanks so much for your help!!!
 

DalangTala

ℳᴇʀᴇ ℋᴜᴍᴀɴ
Joined
Jun 13, 2019
Messages
91
Points
18
I think puns are really interesting for names of mob characters. For example, Hua Mei Xing sounds like Amazing. Or is it just me?
 
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