Foreign Proper Names in Vietnamese

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Foreign Proper Names in Vietnamese

Postby Pauro » 2008-12-06, 20:01

Chao!

I'm confused about written proper names. Some are spelled just as in English (eg. Iceland) and some look more like Vietnamese (Ai-xơ-len). Which spelling is official? Or which is put on your maps? Could you explain this?

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Re: Tranlation requests

Postby ILuvEire » 2008-12-06, 23:15

Pauro wrote:Chao!

I'm confused about written proper names. Some are spelled just as in English (eg. Iceland) and some look more like Vietnamese (Ai-xơ-len). Which spelling is official? Or which is put on your maps? Could you explain this?


AFAIK, some don't change from the native's name for it, and then some (usually ones that Vietnam has something to do with) have a name change. I think that all have a Vietnamese name, but only some actually use it. For example, France is Pháp, but Andorra, is just Andorra.
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Re: Tranlation requests

Postby Tenebrarum » 2008-12-07, 5:01

Pauro wrote:Chao!

I'm confused about written proper names. Some are spelled just as in English (eg. Iceland) and some look more like Vietnamese (Ai-xơ-len). Which spelling is official? Or which is put on your maps? Could you explain this?

The barbaric syllables-with-hyphens-in-between method is preferred in the North. Government folks up there spent most of their lives as peasants with no proper education; they suck at English, French, Russian and everything else. So they phonetically interpret foreign names using sloppy pronunciation, break them into syllables and join syllables with hyphens. Ugh.

Proper names should be done either:

1./ The international (read: English) way.
Most proper names are imported from English. But, if a place has several internationally recognized names, remember to choose the French one. Example: Vietnamese know La Haye, but not The Hague or Den Haag.

2./ The traditional way. There are some names that have been traditionally filtered through Chinese:
USA - Hoa Kỳ / Mỹ
Australia - Úc
England / Great Britain - Anh
~ London - Luân Đôn
Ireland - Ái Nhĩ Lan
France - Pháp
Italy - Ý
Spain - Tây Ban Nha
Portugal - Bồ Đào Nha
Germany - Đức
Switzerland - Thụy Sĩ (frequently confused with Sweden)
Austria - Áo
Russia - Nga
Poland - Ba Lan
Finland - Phần Lan
Sweden - Thụy Điển (frequently confused with Switzerland :wink:)
Denmark - Đan Mạch
Norway - Na Uy
Greece - Hy Lạp
Turkey - Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ
Egypt - Ai Cập
Arab - Ả Rập / A Rập
etc.
(There are also obsolete ones, like Ca Nã Đại for Canada, Hoa Thịnh Đốn for Washington DC, Bá Linh for Berlin, Ba Lê for Paris or Hạ Uy Di for Hawaii. Those are completely dead now. Some are near-dead, like Mạc Tư Khoa for Moscow.)

East Asian countries (Mongolia included) all use their respective Chinese names. Elsewhere, which method to use depends on what country we're talking about. Civilizations documented in medieval Chinese literature keep their Chinese names: India is given a Chinese name - Ấn Độ, while Pakistan and Bangladesh are not.

City and province names are largely international. The exceptions are Chinese and North Korean geographical names, which are from Chinese characters. (Therefore, we Vietnamese call North Korea's capital Bình Nhưỡng but its counterpart in South Korea Seoul, despite the two names coming from one same Korean language.)

Two oddballs: Cambodia - Campuchia and Laos - Lào. My 2 cents is they come directly from the native names. They're right next to Vietnam, so that's no wonder.

3./ The French-ish way.
Some countries have their names altered under the influence of a French heritage, notably Morroco - Ma Rốc, from French Maroc.
The suffix -ia seen in English names is habitually replaced by its French cognate -ie, which is in turn usually Vietised into -i or -y. E.g:
Algérie - wholly French
Somali <---- Fr. Somalie, instead of En. Somalia
Rumany <---- Fr. Roumanie, instead of En. Romania
Lithuania has somehow become Litva, I don't know why the hell that is or whether it's because of French.
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Re: Tranlation requests

Postby Pauro » 2008-12-07, 10:46

Thanks for an exhaustive reply.

You mean then, it's actually my choice to write English or hyphenated names? I assume the hyphenated way is considered to be more official as your capital is in the north?
I've never seen the word Rumany but Lỗ Ma Ni and Ru-ma-ni. I guess the second one was invented by uneducated folks, but the first one would be also from Chinese??
Litva is exactly as we call it here :D But I think this word's come to you from Russian because originally it's called Lietuva.

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Re: Tranlation requests

Postby abcdefg » 2008-12-07, 13:36

Pauro wrote:You mean then, it's actually my choice to write English or hyphenated names?

Yes ;) There's still no statutory instrument guiding how to write foreign names in Vietnamese. In fact, in 2006, the Institute of Linguistics here made a draft about name transliteration in official writings which required all foreign names to be written in proper Vietnamese, with diacritics and hyphens, except for familiar & Chinese filtered names. However I've never heard of it again. Now State officers mostly use the English form, with transcribe note if they feel need it.

So except for names of continents, oceans, and some countries you're required to write in the traditional way, and human's names which should be left original, it's completely up to you to choose whether to use English or the hyphen way to represent the word. I suggest both though; since the majority of Vietnamese aren't very good at foreign languages; and they'll either don't understand what is being referred or don't know how to say it. The French filtered way, well I don't think it deserves much attention now since French's been sharply losing its influence here.

Pauro wrote:I've never seen the word Rumany but Lỗ Ma Ni and Ru-ma-ni. I guess the second one was invented by uneducated folks, but the first one would be also from Chinese??

Yes "Lỗ Ma Ni" is from Chinese but it's long dead here. You can write Rumany, Rumani, Ru-ma-ni, Rômani, Rô-ma-ni, Rô-ma-ni-a, Romania but not Lỗ Ma Ni.

1 more thing, I don't think uneducated folks invented the hyphen way. Uneducated folk don't know Roumanie is read as Rumany :nope: I think it exists exclusively because of the majority of people, subject of media, rather than the ignorance of government.
Last edited by abcdefg on 2008-12-08, 2:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tranlation requests

Postby Pauro » 2008-12-07, 14:04

Thanks for the 'northern' explanation. I'm actually more into the Hanoi language, for it should be the basis of the standard tieng Viet.

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Re: Tranlation requests

Postby Tenebrarum » 2008-12-07, 15:37

Pauro wrote:Thanks for an exhaustive reply.

You mean then, it's actually my choice to write English or hyphenated names? I assume the hyphenated way is considered to be more official as your capital is in the north?

Well of course it's your choice, but personally I would never give someone using the hyphenated way any credibility. It's just... barbaric.
Northern media has a decidedly anti-international tradition when it comes to foreign names, which I find repugnant. Due to the contrast you can instantly tell if a newspaper is Southern or Northern. And I don't want the newspaper I read to contain those f***ed-up hyphenated transliterations. (Not that any Northern newspaper successfully penetrates Southern market. Actually it's the other way around, thank heaven.)

Pauro wrote:I've never seen the word Rumany but Lỗ Ma Ni and Ru-ma-ni.

http://www.google.com.vn/search?hl=vi&q ... ogle&meta=

abcdefg wrote:The French filtered way, well I don't think it deserves much attention now since French's been sharply losing its influence here.

Up north, maybe. But French-originated pronunciations are alive and kicking here.
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Re: Tranlation requests

Postby Pauro » 2008-12-07, 16:14

I get an impression you live in a different country from the part where your capital is. :roll:
Try to look at it the other way round - hyphenated names look original and different from any other languages, so you can instantly tell it's 'pure' Vietnamese :)

There are languages that eagerly fight with internationalism, like French does.
No matter which alphabet is in use. Every language has its rights. Proper names sometimes look very different from the original even in next door languages.

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Re: Tranlation requests

Postby Tenebrarum » 2008-12-07, 16:21

Pauro wrote:hyphenated names look original and different from any other languages, so you can instantly tell it's 'pure' Vietnamese :)

You can't have 'pure' Vietnamese names if the names themselves are neither pure nor Vietnamese. :lol:

The hyphen method mangles foreign names so badly that if you use it to teach kids they won't be able to recognize international names later on in their life. I don't think that's any good. :nope: The advantage of using Roman script is that you can incorporate international proper names into your language without blinking. It's foolishness not to see that.

Sophistication and internationalism, those things are what this country frigging lacks.

Pauro wrote:There are languages that eagerly fight with internationalism, like French does.

Europe is home to influential written traditions that have gradually given birth to divergent proper names over millennia. The French and their language have a historical foundation and justified pride to do so.

That is sadly not the case of Vietnam. It's a third world country with a current writing system less than 300 year old. Importing names from English, no matter how lazy that is, is still light years better than a sloppily made-up, ugly-looking transliteration "system" which is utterly ignorant and erratic.

Look at Esperanto - it's just ridiculous. Vaŝingtono? Romo? Londono? Nov-Jorko???? Io knowo allo nounso endo witho o'o ino Esperanto, buto that'so justo stupido.
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Re: Tranlation requests

Postby Pauro » 2008-12-07, 17:09

Hm, I can't agree... Esperanto is artificial and is supposed to be easy to learn and so to have no exceptions - so all nouns end with 'o', adjectives with 'a' etc.

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Re: Tranlation requests

Postby ILuvEire » 2008-12-07, 17:31

Draven wrote:Look at Esperanto - it's just ridiculous. Vaŝingtono? Romo? Londono? Nov-Jorko???? Io knowo allo nounso endo witho o'o ino Esperanto, buto that'so justo stupido.


I agree it is ridiculous. Like "Usono" for USA. Why not just use America (Ameriko) like the rest of the world?!

The only problems arise when trying to use the accusative case. This can be done just like they do with proper names:
Nom: France
Acc: Al France / France:n

And the -o also can get somewhat annoying (although in poetry and music it's usually dropped. Mi loĝas en la Usono. -> Mi loĝa' en l' Uson'.)

Sorry for derailing the thread. Just ignore me. :)
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Re: Tranlation requests

Postby abcdefg » 2008-12-08, 3:45

draven wrote:The hyphen method mangles foreign names so badly that if you use it to teach kids they won't be able to recognize international names later on in their life.

Huh, are you expecting kids to remember names like Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, Ilya Nikolaevich Ulyanov without the Vietnamized sound-representing thing? Just pay attention to the complicated spellings. I remember seeing them in books for primary school children; at that age do you think they can remember such long 'weird' things, let alone writing and reading them properly?

Don't worry about if they could recognize the original written form. When they know how it's pronounced, they'll know that's the word.

draven wrote:The advantage of using Roman script is that you can incorporate international proper names into your language without blinking. It's foolishness not to see that.

But in Vietnamese, every syllable is represented as a separate word. This makes 'international proper names' look very strange, hard to remember and hard to use to the Average Joe. The purpose of language is to make people understand you; now if you can't even make them know what you're saying about, what's the point of employing foreign words?

I'm saying that everything exists for a reason. The reason for using hyphen method is that it helps a lot more people, who for many reasons don't have a proper education, not become completely dumb. When the knowledge mean standard of Vietnamese people increases to a certain point, that 'barbaric' method will silently disappear. Actually it's gradually fading now, as there are more and more things received as 'common knowledge'.

Draven wrote:The French and their language have a historical foundation and justified pride to do so.

Like you're saying a newborn baby less deserve to live than an adult, because he's newborn and weak.
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Re: Tranlation requests

Postby Tenebrarum » 2008-12-08, 11:22

abcdefg wrote:Huh, are you expecting kids to remember names like Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, Ilya Nikolaevich Ulyanov without the Vietnamized sound-representing thing? Just pay attention to the complicated spellings. I remember seeing them in books for primary school children; at that age do you think they can remember such long 'weird' things, let alone writing and reading them properly?

You're underestimating children. Their young minds are no excuse for you not to teach them properly. And please take a second look - those Romanized Russian names are not that hard. You know what's hard? Teaching them in original Cyrillic alphabet.

abcdefg wrote:Don't worry about if they could recognize the original written form. When they know how it's pronounced, they'll know that's the word.

Doesn't seem to be the actual situation now.

abcdefg wrote:But in Vietnamese, every syllable is represented as a separate word. This makes 'international proper names' look very strange, hard to remember and hard to use to the Average Joe. The purpose of language is to make people understand you; now if you can't even make them know what you're saying about, what's the point of employing foreign words?

Foreign names are NOT Vietnamese. If the urban "Average Joe" with highschool education can't at least remember them in their international forms then there's something seriously wrong with this country. And you know too well that it's the reality. You're suggesting that we should come up with a device like the hyphen method to ease their pain, but you don't consider the fact that the pain is beneficial. It reminds them, though perhaps in vain, that "the world" does not equal "Vietnam", and "we", as a stagnant conservative ignorant dumbass society, have to facking open up. Sorry, no pain, no gain.

abcdefg wrote:I'm saying that everything exists for a reason. The reason for using hyphen method is that it helps a lot more people, who for many reasons don't have a proper education, not become completely dumb. When the knowledge mean standard of Vietnamese people increases to a certain point, that 'barbaric' method will silently disappear. Actually it's gradually fading now, as there are more and more things received as 'common knowledge'.

Very altruistic there. But the thing is it was born out of nationalistic pride, not consideration for the people. Perhaps a small dose of elitism would be greater help :) .

abcdefg wrote:
Draven wrote:The French and their language have a historical foundation and justified pride to do so.

Like you're saying a newborn baby less deserve to live than an adult, because he's newborn and weak.

Irrelevant. I'm saying that a young child should take what adults, through their experience in life, have to offer, rather than stubbornly trying to come up with something completely new on its own that doesn't even work.
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Re: Foreign proper names

Postby abcdefg » 2008-12-09, 15:41

You're underestimating children. Their young minds are no excuse for you not to teach them properly. And please take a second look - those Romanized Russian names are not that hard. You know what's hard? Teaching them in original Cyrillic alphabet.

They are even too young to use Vietnamese properly. But suppose that they could perfectly remember a foreign word, how could they know its pronunciation BEFORE they learned the language? Well of course they couldn't. Then their teachers, because either they wanted to make it easier for the kids who had never faced such a thing before, or of their limited knowledge - you know the admission criteria for primary school teachers, would surely tell them the Vietnamese pronunciation for the foreign word. This leads to the result that kids could relate the two things, make it a habit to pronounce a word such a way. And this is even more harmful than to let them see the Vietnamized word accordant with the familiar pronounciation right away.

Foreign names are NOT Vietnamese.

That's why they are Vietnamized. You can't say Ai Len is an English word.

You're suggesting that we should come up with a device like the hyphen method to ease their pain, but you don't consider the fact that the pain is beneficial.

Oh but when you erase it, people will feel they're good because they can directly *read* English in their newspaper (like 'heo' stands for 'hell' etc.). You can only change the appearance of the word. This is pointless, as the rooted problem is unsolved.
(And sometimes, people who are trying to make themselves appear knowledgeable also use all kind of 'international' words regardless of whom they're talking to. Such gaudy rainbow fishes, why are they so intolerable?)

Draven wrote:I'm saying that a young child should take what adults, through their experience in life, have to offer

Why 'adult' here can't be French? And what if the offer is not suitable for the child?

It's just that each country has its own condition. And whatever it chooses to apply has to rely on that factual condition. If something is outdated, proven unsuitable, it will eventually die. So if it hasn't died yet, it's still needed in some way. That hyphen thing will live for a long long time after as its main food is people's ignorance, so I feel strongly that we're wasting our time here.
Last edited by abcdefg on 2008-12-09, 15:49, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Foreign proper names

Postby Tenebrarum » 2008-12-09, 17:44

abcdefg wrote:I feel strongly that we're wasting our time here.

To be honest I don't see the point of this debate either, and my viewpoint remains unswayed just as yours does. However since you started it, I felt obliged to defend mine. :ohwell:

Peace.
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Re: Foreign proper names

Postby Psi-Lord » 2008-12-09, 21:08

Brasil over Bra-xin (and the, I assume, exotic Chinese-based Ba Tây) then?

Wikipedia-biased as it may be, it’s nice to see Brasil, as in Portuguese, instead of English Brazil. :)

And there are some interesting bits way down http://cjvlang.com/Writing/fornames.html about how Harry Potter names have been handled in Vietnam.
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Re: Foreign proper names

Postby Tenebrarum » 2008-12-10, 8:06

Psi-Lord wrote:Brasil over Bra-xin (and the, I assume, exotic Chinese-based Ba Tây) then?

So there you see the problem with that transliteration - the phonemes are not even right! "Bra-xin" suggests that the S in the original word must be read as /s/, while it's in fact /z/. Whoever came up with Bra-xin wasn't even aware of the fact that intervocalic single S's in Romance languages stand for /z/.

Credibility: zero.
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Re: Foreign proper names

Postby abcdefg » 2008-12-10, 8:15

Draven wrote:
Psi-Lord wrote:Brasil over Bra-xin (and the, I assume, exotic Chinese-based Ba Tây) then?

So there you see the problem with that transliteration - the phonemes are not even right! "Bra-xin" suggests that the S in the original word must be read as /s/, while it's in fact /z/. Whoever came up with Bra-xin wasn't even aware of the fact that intervocalic single S's in Romance languages stand for /z/.

Then try the Northern Bra-din :ohwell:
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Re: Foreign proper names

Postby Tenebrarum » 2008-12-10, 8:19

abcdefg wrote:Then try the Northern Bra-din :ohwell:

You forgot that it could be written Bra-gin and all things would be clear.

Or better yet, Bra-zin. It's not like Vietnamese can't write or type Z.
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Re: Foreign proper names

Postby abcdefg » 2008-12-10, 8:22

Draven wrote:
abcdefg wrote:Then try the Northern Bra-din :ohwell:

You forgot that it could be written Bra-gin and all things would be clear.

Or better yet, Bra-zin. It's not like Vietnamese can't write or type Z.

What's the point??
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