mjj (flemmings) wrote,

What's in a name?

It's cheering to know that when I'm doing my head-desky 'OK, his name is' (pick someone at random) 'Guan Yu and his uhh courtesy name (takes a while to figure out what a courtesy name is) is Yunchang (雲長) only sometimes it's Changsheng (長生) until he dies when he becomes Marquis Zhuangmou (and let's skip the string of Buddhist names entirely) but for our purposes he's Lord Guan (關公), or Lord Guan the Second (關二爺-- but who's the first?) or else 'Snazzy Beard, Man' (美髯公, and now I see that qwerty really wasn't kidding about that one.) He's apparently even 'Emperor Guan' on occasion except I don't think he ever made it to Emperor...'

...at such times it's nice to know that people can have the same trouble in English. 'You mean Harry and Hal are the same person, and they're both Henry?' Yup. At times the English can be worse than the Russians. Cultures that can get, respectively, Sandy or Sasha out of Alexander mustn't carp at a courtesy name or two-- though by me, 避諱 (taboo hanzi) are another matter entirely. I mean, if you're hoping your son will become emperor, do not give him a name with two of the most common characters in it, guys, that no one can use thereafter.

OTOH I wish I'd known about taboo name hanzi when reading 12K, because the country naming fashion then becomes much more rational.

ETA: Oh! Oh! Just noticed again qwerty's smrterthanu. Yes, oh yes oh yes yes yessss.
Tags: 12kingdoms, 3k, china, chinese, fic, history

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