Translation questions

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Translation questions

Unread postby Havie » Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:04 am

Hey guys,
One thing ive always wondered is whats with the all the different translations and almost nick names for some characters of the three kingdoms

like Zhao Yun is also Zhao Zhilong

Zhuge liang is Kongming?

especially curious about how

Lu Bu is Lv Bu or Feng Xian

Whats with the U vs V or the entirely different name Feng Xian??? It seems weird that there are no other "Bus" mentioned in anyone elses names? you see "Ba" and "Yu" whats with lu Bu being the only "bu" ?

*hope this threads in the right spot*

Thanks guys
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Re: Translation questions

Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:02 am

Hey Havie, that's a very interesting question. The short answer is that both Yun and Zhilong and Liang and Kongmind are correct. As well as Sun Ce and Sun Bofu etc. When one reaches adulthood in Ancient China they pick a 'style name' which is how close friends refer to them. In this thread our admin, Lady Wu, gives a very detailed explanation about it.

The V thing is about different Chinese characters. In Pingyuan (Chinese written in Western script) just within the Three Kingdom period we have Lu Bu, Lu Meng, Lu Xun and Lu Fan for example. In the original language lot's of those 'Lu's' have different symbols meaning they are all from different clans. Lu Bu should be written LÜ Bu. However as most Western computers can't type Ü some people write is as V instead to make it clear they're not all related.

I can't help with why some refer to him as Feng Xian though.

Hope that helps, if you want any clarifications let me know.
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Re: Translation questions

Unread postby capnnerefir » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:27 am

To clarify a few things (since I'm under the impression you're new to this):
Adults in han culture had secondary names generally called style names. Some people like to refer to their favorite Three Kingdoms figures by style names as a sign of respect or fondness; so they call Zhuge Liang by his style Kongming; Lu Bu by his style Fengxian; Zhao Yun is Zilong, etc. It's particularly common with figures who became famous through the Romance or other fictionalized works.

Sun Fin wrote:The V thing is about different Chinese characters. In Pingyuan (Chinese written in Western script) just within the Three Kingdom period we have Lu Bu, Lu Meng, Lu Xun and Lu Fan for example. In the original language lot's of those 'Lu's' have different symbols meaning they are all from different clans. Lu Bu should be written LÜ Bu. However as most Western computers can't type Ü some people write is as V instead to make it clear they're not all related.


Again, for the purpose of clarification:
Chinese can be written in two ways; characters (Hanzi) or Pinyin (we'll avoid other systems of Romanization for now). Pinyin is an attempt to put the phonetic sounds of the characters into a form Western readers can understand. It's the way you usually see names written. Without getting into the details of how it all works, let's just say that Pinyin is much less precise than Hanzi.

For example, the characters for Lu Su's name are 魯肅. The characters for Lu Xun's name are 陸遜. In Hanzi, it's clear that these are two totally different Lu-s. 魯 and 陸 are different characters with different meanings. This isn't always clear in Pinyin, especially when tonal marks are not included.

The characters for Lü Bu's name are 呂布. In Pinyin, there are basically two different U-s. The u in Lu Su and the ü in Lü Bu make distinctly different sounds when pronounced correctly. They're as different as, say u and o or a and e. 呂 makes the ü sound while 魯 and 陸 make the standard u noise.

To differentiate these sounds, formal Pinyin adds the diaeresis (those two dots). But this isn't standard on most keyboards. So in the interest of convenience, it is generally acceptable to substitute the letter v instead of ü. The letter v is not used anywhere in the Pinyin alphabet, and it has a similar shape to ü, so this makes the distinction clear.

As for the name Bu (布): it wasn't a very common name, but it wasn't unique to Lü Bu. It was also the name of Wu's Sun Bu (孫布) and Jin's Wang Bu (王布). It was also used in the style name (Zibu 子布) of Wu's great minister Zhang Zhao (張昭).
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Re: Translation questions

Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:31 am

Thanks Cap, much more in-depth and clear answer than mine. :)

Also slightly embarrassed by my total misspell of Pinyin :lol:
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Re: Translation questions

Unread postby capnnerefir » Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:19 pm

I wasn't going to call it out, but it did give me a chuckle. I'm sure we've all done stuff like that. I can't count how many times I've mixed up the Yuan-s Shao and Shu.
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Re: Translation questions

Unread postby Havie » Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:59 pm

ahhh okay, thanks guys, this helped alot!
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Re: Translation questions

Unread postby Emily9 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:17 am

Wow. I love this topic~ :lol:
Last edited by Emily9 on Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:31 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Translation questions

Unread postby DragonAtma » Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:57 am

I should add that many people (such as myself) are lazy, so instead of Lü Bu we'd write Lu Bu -- but then the Lu in Lu Bu looks the same as the Lu in Lu Su, even though they're pronounced differently.

For comparison, just think of the english words "lead" (a type of metal that should not be used for making pipes) and "lead" (to guide someone somewhere).
Unless I specifically say otherwise, assume I am talking about historical Three Kingdoms, and not the novel.

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