Shampoo style names

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Shampoo style names

Postby Ezvir » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:22 pm

I noticed that fanfics often use phonetically impossible names for Chinese characters like Hairspray or Conditioner. I think one reason for that is that people don't quite understand how the names that double as English puns work. All of them are at least somewhat plausible Chinese names, and the trick is that the katakana spelling of those Chinese names just happens to be identical to the katakana spelling of an English word.

Code: Select all
Chinese pinyin  katakana (transc.) pun
珊璞     Shānpú  シャンプー (shanpuu) shampoo
沐絲     Mùsī    ムース   (muusu)    mousse
可崙/崘  Kělún   コロン    (koron)   cologne
来睦     Láimù   ライム   (raimu)   lime 
敏杜     Mǐndù   ミント    (minto)   mint
哈峬     Hābū    ハーブ   (haabu)   herb
落珠     Luòzhū  ルージュ (ruuju)   rouge
蒲 蘭慕  Pú Lánmù プラム  (puramu)  plum
紀瑪     Jìmǎ    キーマ   (kiima)           kheema (kind of curry)
馬颯拉   Mǎ Sàlā  マサラ  (masara)   masala (Indian spice mix)
柯爾瑪   Kē Érmǎ  コルマ  (koruma)  korma (curry dish)
薩夫郎  Sà Fūláng サフラン (safuran) saffron


The second character of Cologne's name looks different in Chinese (崙) and Japanese (崘) and the manga uses the Japanese variant. Plum, Saffron, Masala and Korma appear to be surname + given name (which would mean that the Guide is Mr Pu) the other names seem to be just the given name.

Here are a couple similar more or less plausible pun names:

Code: Select all
Chinese pinyin  katakana (transc.) pun
鎪璞     Sōupú  ソープ      (soopu)   soap
摟匈     Lǒuxiōng ローション (looshon) lotion 
耙畝     Pàmǔ    ボーム    (baamu)   balm
纖德     Xiāndé  セント    (sento)   scent 
臺目     Táimù   タイム    (taimu)   thyme
塏園     Kǎiyuán カイエン  (kaien)   cayenne
窟黽     Kūmǐn  クミン     (kumin)   cumin
赤璃     Chìlí  チリー     (chirii) chili
玭玡     Píyà   ペアー    (peaa)    pear
愜莉     Qièlì  チェリー    (Cherii) cherry


Several of the character combinations I chose are pretty silly (I doubt anyone is going to use the actual Chinese characters so I had some fun. Well, feel free to use them if you want...), but for each of those puns there are hundreds of possible character combinations so there should exist a couple of superficially dignified names for each of those.
The rules of thumb are that the English word should not include any consonant clusters (if absolutely necessary add a syllable, see Saffron and Korma), a syllable should not end with a consonant other than n or ng (otherwise add a syllable, see Mint, Herb, Plum) and the resulting name should have either two or three syllables, with the first syllable being a possible Chinese surname if it's three syllables.

Please feel free to repost this elsewhere.
Last edited by Ezvir on Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby SpaceKnight of Chaos » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:30 pm

Very interesting piece of info. Puts a nice hammer in the fanon cliche of all Joketsuzoku being named after beauty products too- Ling-Ling & Lung-Lung don't seem so impluasibly named now.
Water, water, everywhere, and all was cursed and black!
Drowned ones cast bad spell and out come pig, girl, duck, panda!
Swirl, swirl, slithery pond, and join with magic spring!
Swirl, swirl, dirty pond, and rid the cursed sting!
Here my prayer, I beg you please!
Now turn these curses BACK!

http://www.issendai.com/rpgs/japanese-boys-names.shtml
http://www.issendai.com/rpgs/japanese-girls-names.shtml
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Postby Vilkath » Sat Jul 26, 2008 12:14 pm

Well Soap and Lotion rather popular fan choices, usualy for Elders other then Cologne. Lotion or Soap are often also the village healers name in fanfiction.
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Postby Ezvir » Thu Jul 31, 2008 3:21 am

For completeness sake:
Code: Select all
Chinese pinyin  katakana (transc.) pun
玭珂     Píkē     ピンク   (pinku)    pink
琳珂     Línkē    リンク   (linku)    link
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Postby Lioconvoy » Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:30 am

Lately I've tended to rely on this topic for Amazon like names, but right now I have a story idea in which Shampoo and Mousse have had their genders reversed. What would be a good male name for Shampoo or a female name for Mousse?
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Postby Ezvir » Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:23 pm

Lioconvoy wrote:Lately I've tended to rely on this topic for Amazon like names, but right now I have a story idea in which Shampoo and Mousse have had their genders reversed. What would be a good male name for Shampoo or a female name for Mousse?


Chinese names, like Japanese names, often don't have an obvious gender, and even if they do it's usually not because they have a convenient gender-marking ending like -suke -rou -shi (male) -ka -mi -ko (female) for Japanese names [simplifying a lot, no, you usually can't just switch them for gender-bent names]. The meaning of the characters is often telling (e. g. girls are often named after flowers, gems and other pretty things, boys have names with a geographic or abstract meaning or no meaning that makes sense at all, but there is quite a bit of overlap), the sound plays some role, and many names are gender specific simply because everyone knows they are gender specific.
But neither Shanpu nor Musi are gender specific in the last sense (because they are made up names!) nor do they sound too gender specific to my ear (Musi sounds a bit male but not impossibly so for a girl name; actual Chinese people might of course disagree)
As for the meanings 珊璞 (coral + uncut jade) is probably a bit too girly for a boy name, but you could find a lot of possible character combinations with completely different meanings but the same sound, even very similar looking characters, though e. g. 跚瞨 is probably inappropriate :D ('limping and of bad eyesight'). But there is no reason e. g. 刪濮 wouldn't work (doesn't really mean anything).
So in short the gender-flipped versions of Shampoo and Mousse could easily still be Shampoo and Mousse. If they need different names as a disguise the question is whether it needs to be a pun name and if yes which pun. Essentially the same problem as a name for a new character. If it's supposed to be a different, obviously gender-flipped name based on their real names like Ranko the best I have to offer would be xiao-Mu 小沐 for Mousse, since it's not uncommon for Chinese girls to be called diminutives with xiao (lit. small) as pet names.
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Postby Lioconvoy » Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:22 am

Cool thank you for your quick reply. I was sorta hoping I could use their normal names despite the gender changes.
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Re: Shampoo style names

Postby Tovath » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:42 am

First off thank you for posting this it has been very every useful to me for "Curses Aren't The Only Change". Do you have anymore ideas for names?
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Re: Shampoo style names

Postby Lioconvoy » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:22 pm

Er, is there anyway this topic could become a sticky? It's a real good resource for fics.
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Re: Shampoo style names

Postby Sunshine Temple » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:57 am

Sorry for the delay. Stickied.

Indeed, most interesting, and really shows the fun of the pun naming.
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