Janiece!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On Sunday, The Mechanicky Gal and I were visiting the national cottages at Balboa Park.

One of the cottages was the Chinese cottage. They had a calligrapher there who would write your name in Chinese for a small donation to the non-profit who maintains and runs the cottage. I ponied up and had her do "Janiece."

Of course, for all I know, this could say "Kung Pow Chicken" instead of "Janiece," but it still looks cool.

14 comments:

Random Michelle K said...

Pretty!

Did you ask for a literal translation of the sounds of your name?

My friend Xiaorong told me my name sounds would translate at "rice wrist"

:)

Jerry Critter said...

It would be interesting to know how he came up with those symbols since (at least as far as I know) Chinese is not a phonetic language. I mean, they do not have an alphabet with sounds like we do. We can spell out their names in our alphabet. They do not have an alphabet to spell out our names.

You may be right. It might actually say "Kung Pow Chicken"... or maybe "Hot Chick".

Janiece Murphy said...

Michelle, I just said it and then spelled it. She used her brush and whipped this out.

Welcome, Jerry. I would be less surprised if it said "Stupid Girl Whose Money is Easily Taken" than if it said Kung Pow Chicken, but you never know.

I'm hoping John the Scientist shows up and gives me a literal translation...

MWT said...

Basically what they do is take words that sound like the syllables, and put them together, and usually get nonsense. ;)

Random Michelle K said...

Like "rice wrist"

:)

MWT said...

Interesting tangent about that though. Coke sells a lot better than Pepsi in Taiwan because "Coca-cola", translated, says something like "delicious thirst-quenching drink." Also it has a nice rhythm to it when said out loud. Pepsi, on the other hand, doesn't translate into anything notable.


(disclaimer: at least, this was the case back in the late 80s. I still have a Coke can from there somewhere...)

John the Scientist said...

Yeah, what MWT said. However, when the Brits first came to China, the Chinese scribes settled on some standard ways to transliterate (not "translate" - because the meaning is totally lost) common English names. From that, certain characters have come to be associated with certain syllables in English names.

The first character 洁 is a bit archaic and not used much anymore (they try to pick those to avoid negative associations - a lot of thought goes into a Chinese kid's name), is "jie", but has the meaning of "clean" or "pure".

The second character is 宁 or "ning", (ning4 for MWT) simplified version of 寧. It means "peace" or "repose.

The last character is the word for "silk" , transliterated as si, but pronounced "suh" to rhyme with "duh" in English.

The simplified form is 丝. As you might notice, your form is neither. The long stroke at the bottom of the simplified character is common in the simplified character set, but calligraphers think it looks ugly, so they get jiggy with it when they write for art. In this case, the dude threw in a completely different radical (radicals are repeating elements within Chinese characters) that threw me off. Took me 15 minutes to figure out what the HELL he was trying to do. Fucking Communist simplified fucking characters. :D

So I'd say that the best translation of jie ning suh is "pure reclining silk".

That being said, and this demonstrates why my wife HATES the simplified characters, the simplified form of 寧, which is 宁, is now identical to the character "Zhu" meaning "stand" or "stop". Reading "jie zhu suh" gave me a WTF moment thinking the dude misheard your name. Many, even educated Chinese will think that the characters have a similar origin, when in fact, the "ning" simplification is made that way just because Mao didn't like all those strokes in a common character.

My wife has a 5th grade education in Taiwan, but because she learned the proper characters, she used to win etymological arguments in grad school with Chinese who had Masters degrees from the Mainland.

John the Scientist said...

Sorry, must have miscoded "silk" .

Janiece Murphy said...

Thanks, John. But it was a woman. :-)

Steve Buchheit said...

Funny, looks more like "Easily Amused White Woman" to me. :)

Jim Wright said...

"Kung Pow Chicken"

See, I always wonder what those Chinese character tattoos people have actually say. It's one thing to get "Pure Retching Silk" on a piece of paper, it another entirely to have "Kick Me" inked on your forearm for all eternity.


And I love Balboa Park.

Janiece Murphy said...

Jim, that's "Pure Reclining Silk," you misanthrope.

And yes, Balboa Park is the BOMB!

Regis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Janiece Murphy said...

*TONG!*