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Subject: Re: Help me find the meaning of my Mum's Chinese mn
Author: Rene   (Authenticated as Rene)
Date: October 25, 2005 at 11:14:29 PM
Reply to: Help me find the meaning of my Mum's Chinese mn by BSchoer10
What you want can't be done.

Chinese is full of so-called "homophones": Words that sound exactly the same or more or less the same (different only in tone) but have completely different meanings.

Let us assume that behind the middle name of your mother are the two words "wen" and "na". Just some of the possibilities for "wen" from a Chinese dictionary:
- ask about
- literature, culture, writing
- lukewarm
- eye, hole
- stable, firm
- hear

Together with a similar list of different meanings for "na" you get at least dozens of combinations and thus possible meanings. You find a more detailed explanation of the problem of homophones in Chines e.g. here:

But wait, it does not stop there. What do we mean by "Chinese"? There is no Chinese language. There are several languages spoken in China, the two most frequent ones being Mandarin and Cantonese (my examples from above are Mandarin). What language is Wenna from? We don't know, I assume. And here it gets completely hopeless, as I see it.

If you really want to know the meaning of the middle name of your mother, in my opinion there is only one possible way: You have to track down records of her Chinese ancestors and find Wenna WRITTEN IN CHINESE, i.e. written with Chinese characters. As soon as you have the name in such writing, the problem is solved, because one just has to look up what the characters mean that were used to write Wenna.


This message was edited by the author on October 25, 2005 at 11:20:04 PM

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