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Kila
04-06-2009, 03:37 PM
The star Venture is my SF novel is made up of various big players, including European, Indian and Chinese. Online translation tools aren't always ideal for finding the right names.

Currently I have Xian Dao, which may or may not mean 'Pioneer'/'Leader' and Yin Qui which I was hoping means 'Heroic Spirit' with female undertones.

Then there is the Tianlong, a personal cruiser. Does that mean something like 'Dragon Song' or am I completely off? Also, does 'Tian' work as solo name? The ship AIs generally call themselves by an abbreviated version of the ship's name. By and large the AIs don't take themselves too seriously (or know what serious is ;) )

Any advise much appreciated!

GordonK
04-07-2009, 12:49 AM
Where did you get these names? I think "tian" means sky (even though it may also imply god.) Tian-long can refer to dragon from the sky, flying dragon, and also has a source from some Buddhist scriptures. The word 'tian', like any Chinese characters, can be used alone in a name but sounds weird as name of a ship.

AFAIK, currently the PLAN uses several systems for naming their ships, like, names of provinces for their carriers/battleships/cruisers; big cities for destroyers/escorts, prominent historical figures for their supporting vessels, etc. I think this is a good starting point for 'inventing' the names (and the system) of your Chinese star-fleet.

Regarding abbreviation, remember Chinese words are pronounced pretty much all mono-syllable (unlike English where you can have a single syllable word "Big" and multi-multi-syllable word "enthusiastic".) In this sense, abbreviation is not as effective as it is in English. Leaving out one word risks referring to the wrong person/computer/ship as there may be a Tian-long (dragon from sky) and a Tian-shu (mouse from sky.) However, since you're writing your novel in English, maybe the computers would like to use the same abbreviation system as in English, so Tian-long would become TL?

If you want to play around with Chinese names and words, try the Chinese-English Dictionary project page at http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.php?page=cedict.

Kila
04-07-2009, 05:45 PM
Thanks for your detailed response.

Wow, Tian-shu means 'mouse from sky'? That's even better :)

In my case the cruiser belongs to a famous metaverse/datanet star, something like Madonna from our age, but Chinese. Both China and India are major influences in world culture, but the whole had become a melting pot (a bit like we're adopting Japanese words into our language and they adopt English into theirs). I wonder what our world language will be like in 300 years' time.

Each Star Venture ship is named after a main cultural influence, so I have ships with Chinese, Hindi, American (US, possibly Brazil) and Greek (EU) names, but in this context it makes no sense to name them after provinces or towns unless they are of great historical significance. Each (former) superpower will at most be able to launch two ships.

I've used http://www.chinese-tools.com/tools/dictionary.html

GordonK
04-07-2009, 11:33 PM
Since the various superpower actually contribute to the (earth) federation's fleet, maybe the naming system should be unique across them as a whole? An example will be mythological characters or heroes/heroines from these cultures? Tian-long is a mythological creature, so maybe you'll have to have Sphinx from the EU, and Nemo (that may have attained the mythological status 300 years from now.) Of course, EFS Artemis, EFS Chang'e, and EFS Lara Croft may also work ;)

Kila
06-17-2009, 04:01 PM
Thanks Gordon (sorry for the late reply!). This is a really good suggestion.

FOTSGreg
06-28-2009, 02:30 AM
Go here,

http://lowchensaustralia.com/names/boats.htm

Scroll down a bit. You'll find a lot of useful information. Also, Google PRN ship names for modern Chinese ship names.

BardSkye
06-28-2009, 05:33 AM
May I ask a related question here rather than starting a new thread?

Is there a Chinese name that would sound something like "Gaspar" to Western ears?

I'm writing about the Three Magi of Christian fame, so can't change the name, but somebody said it didn't sound Chinese and I have him coming from central China. If there's no name that works, I'll give him a non-Chinese mother. (His father's a trader and he's a low-ranked astrologer.)

Kila
06-28-2009, 05:01 PM
Go here,

http://lowchensaustralia.com/names/boats.htm

Scroll down a bit. You'll find a lot of useful information. Also, Google PRN ship names for modern Chinese ship names.

That is a fantastically useful site, especially this link:
http://www.jiawen.net/Chinesenames.html
(Mandarin names for gamers, including starships!)

Many thanks :)

Izunya
06-30-2009, 08:30 AM
Is there a Chinese name that would sound something like "Gaspar" to Western ears?

According to a quick websearch, Gaspar or Kaspar mean "treasure-bringer" and are sort of related to the name Jasper. What if he had a name that meant "precious thing" or "precious stone" and picked Gaspar as a translation?

Izunya

BardSkye
07-01-2009, 09:46 AM
That might work. I'll just have to figure out how to present it. The first part of the story takes place in central China, so he wouldn't need to translate it there, but I'm sure I can come up with a plausible reason.

Thanks very much for the suggestion.

Snitchcat
09-25-2009, 06:54 AM
Late to this thread.

But, from Central China? One caveat: which *part* of Central China? You're looking at dialects here, which vary from one village to the next hamlet, as well as from one town / city to the next and throughout the region.

The Chinese referred to right now is the official Putonghua. I understand that this story is futuristic, but Chinese regional differences and dialects haven't melted into one 'seamless' catch-all thingy (English fails me, today :p), even though its *recorded* history is 5/6000 years.

For a name to sound like 'Gaspar' and you're considering only Pinyin, then you might have something like, 'Ka-Xi-Pa' (tonal accents would dictate what each word meant), but again, naming conventions would play a part.

If you're after something that means 'treasure hunter' and want it to sound like 'Gaspar', you might try, 'Jiabao', which essentially means, 'national treasure'. Anyhow, other posts contain some good links. Just one note: the majority of Chinese words have at least 2 meanings.

BardSkye
09-25-2009, 09:28 AM
The story's set in 6BC during Emperor Ai's reign and starts in Chang-An (Xian). But it's mentioned that Gaspar's father was captain of a sea-going junk before moving to Central China, so he could be from any coastal area.

I'm actually after a name that, to Western ears, would sound like "Gaspar" rather than the meaning of the name. The objection I got from a few readers was that Gaspar doesn't sound Chinese.

Namatu
09-25-2009, 05:29 PM
I'm actually after a name that, to Western ears, would sound like "Gaspar" rather than the meaning of the name. The objection I got from a few readers was that Gaspar doesn't sound Chinese.My Chinese is rusty, but "Gaspar" is decidedly not Mandarin Chinese-sounding. You probably won't find a Chinese name that's anywhere near to "Gaspar" the way you want it.

GordonK
09-25-2009, 06:08 PM
May I ask a related question here rather than starting a new thread?

Is there a Chinese name that would sound something like "Gaspar" to Western ears?

I'm writing about the Three Magi of Christian fame, so can't change the name, but somebody said it didn't sound Chinese and I have him coming from central China. If there's no name that works, I'll give him a non-Chinese mother. (His father's a trader and he's a low-ranked astrologer.)

Apart from what Namatu said:

During the time around 6 BC, Chinese people generally had a single-character (word) first name, ie quite often a single-syllable first name.

A prominent Chinese novelist Louis Cha has a novel set in the 14th century. In the book, a female character was born to a Chinese father and a Persian mother. She has a Persian name because she's among a few "chosen ones" to take on the leadership role of a powerful Persian organization. However when she's in China, she has a Chinese alias that Chinese would call her. Maybe you can use the same trick?

BardSkye
09-26-2009, 08:08 AM
Thank you to all responders. I think I'd better make his mother an outlander and take one of the suggested Chinese names for his dealings with his superiors in that country.

If, that is, I can ever get my elusive muse back working on the dratted story.