Saturday, March 3, 2012

What's in a name?

The answer really depends on what you're looking for. If you're like me, and just got assigned a Chinese name on your business card, you're looking for the characters that make up that name. A simple proposition, right? Yeah, there it is on Google, "most commonly used Cantonese characters"… oh, wait, there are 3,000 of them.

Google translate: also no help.

This is no knock on Google; Chinese is an enormously complex langauge with characters rooted in all kinds of things, from direct visual representation of their meanings to phono-semantic compounds, which I'll let you go ahead and look up on Wikipedia. There does not seem to be an easy way to translate a proper name, even though all the characters in my name allegedly mean something.

And since the Internet has failed me and I only have a printed version, I guess I'm left with simply describing it to you.

In Chinese, my name is (Cross With an Upward Carat Next to Upside-Down Capital T With Small Extra Crossbar Halfway Up) (Cross With No Top and Upward Carat and Apostrophe Next to Top Hat With Two Stripes) (Gently Curved Upward Slash Crossed by Upside-Down, Backwards Capital L).

Pleased to meet you.

No comments: