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Does Anyone Here Speak Chinese?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
The reason I ask is because as you all know I'm a HUGE fan of "Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat"...I collect Sagwa stuff and even named my lookalike cat after her. I want to know what the following character's names mean...

1. Sagwa
2. Dongwa
3. Sheegwa
4. Jet Jet
5. Tai Tai
6. Ba Do
7. Luc Do
8. Huang Do

I also want to know how the name Foo Foo can mean "lucky bat" when it is actually the same word twice. I'm confused!
post #2 of 23
I could give it a try. But it has been at least six-seven years since my last chinese lesson.

"Foo Foo"
I do not think that is the correct "translation" based on 'hanyu pinying' but here goes. But then again my memory is rusty. They are different words but that they sound alike, homophones (than, then). Fu means lucky and Fu means bat. Hence together they mean lucky bat. Although I am almost certain that bat may symbolize lucky after all the chinese like homophones. For example, fish is yu and the word prosperous is a homophone yu too. So during celebrations fish is eaten to symbolize or bring prosperity. If one is Cantonese, the number 8 is a homophone for rich while number 4 means death. So it means some Chinese will avoid number 4 in their car plates, phone numbers, address while seek to get number 8 in it. Well, the list goes on.

"Tai Tai"
Alright, not too sure if this is going to be a correct translation since I have no idea that cats can get married but then again since it is a cartoon. Tai Tai means wife. But it has another connotation as it is sometimes used to refer to rich socialites who does a lot of shopping, hosting parties, etc.

Sagwa, Dongwa, Sheegwa:
Ok you need to split the words up. Is it Sa-Gwa or is it Sag-Wa. I guess it is the former because I have no idea what a "Sag" is. But then again it has been 6 years.

This does not sound right but "Sa-Gwa" means silly or stupid. But it can be used as a term of endearment I guess.

Shee-gwa?
I am guessing here. "Shee" could mean west although the proper hanyu pinying for the word west is 'xi'

Dong-Wa? or Don-Wa?
Not too sure what Don is but Dong could be translated to mean winter.

Ba/Luc/Huang
Alright, I am stumped with these as I have no idea what Luc is. It does not even remind me of any chinese word. Huang is yellow. Do??? is bean? Alright since all Ba Luc and Huang have a 'do' behind are they connected? If they are connected (sudden flash of inspiration) and that Ba and Luc also refer to a colour then I guess Ba = white, althought white is really bai. And Luc = Green???, that is my best guess is green is 'lu.' No English word can come to represent the way green is pronounced. Hehe, this is fun, like solving one of those puzzles.

Jet Jet
I really have no idea what this is. I know of a kung-fu star called Jet Li but Jet as a chinese word??? haha, Can't say I have heard.

All this is just a rough translation ATTEMPT. I have not really practiced chinese for a long time. By the way I assume this is Mandarin proper and not any of the dialects such as Cantonese.
post #3 of 23
Staci - ask Kate Ang, she will know - she lives in Singapore.
post #4 of 23
Cant help you there, but I'll ask my bro to see if he knows.
Funny thing is I watch that show to Yeah I have nothing better to do.

Later,
Brandon
post #5 of 23
Can't help you either.... I think there must be a member from China here. Although I doubt kateang will know, as the language in Singapore is different (I think), but there's a higher chance she will.

Ask me about Spanish! I may help more!
post #6 of 23
Just ask Google, they will put you on a website that will translate, except you will need to install a language pack.
post #7 of 23
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
I could give it a try. But it has been at least six-seven years since my last chinese lesson.

"Foo Foo"
I do not think that is the correct "translation" based on 'hanyu pinying' but here goes. But then again my memory is rusty. They are different words but that they sound alike, homophones (than, then). Fu means lucky and Fu means bat. Hence together they mean lucky bat. Although I am almost certain that bat may symbolize lucky after all the chinese like homophones. For example, fish is yu and the word prosperous is a homophone yu too. So during celebrations fish is eaten to symbolize or bring prosperity. If one is Cantonese, the number 8 is a homophone for rich while number 4 means death. So it means some Chinese will avoid number 4 in their car plates, phone numbers, address while seek to get number 8 in it. Well, the list goes on.

"Tai Tai"
Alright, not too sure if this is going to be a correct translation since I have no idea that cats can get married but then again since it is a cartoon. Tai Tai means wife. But it has another connotation as it is sometimes used to refer to rich socialites who does a lot of shopping, hosting parties, etc.

Sagwa, Dongwa, Sheegwa:
Ok you need to split the words up. Is it Sa-Gwa or is it Sag-Wa. I guess it is the former because I have no idea what a "Sag" is. But then again it has been 6 years.

This does not sound right but "Sa-Gwa" means silly or stupid. But it can be used as a term of endearment I guess.

Shee-gwa?
I am guessing here. "Shee" could mean west although the proper hanyu pinying for the word west is 'xi'

Dong-Wa? or Don-Wa?
Not too sure what Don is but Dong could be translated to mean winter.

Ba/Luc/Huang
Alright, I am stumped with these as I have no idea what Luc is. It does not even remind me of any chinese word. Huang is yellow. Do??? is bean? Alright since all Ba Luc and Huang have a 'do' behind are they connected? If they are connected (sudden flash of inspiration) and that Ba and Luc also refer to a colour then I guess Ba = white, althought white is really bai. And Luc = Green???, that is my best guess is green is 'lu.' No English word can come to represent the way green is pronounced. Hehe, this is fun, like solving one of those puzzles.

Jet Jet
I really have no idea what this is. I know of a kung-fu star called Jet Li but Jet as a chinese word??? haha, Can't say I have heard.

All this is just a rough translation ATTEMPT. I have not really practiced chinese for a long time. By the way I assume this is Mandarin proper and not any of the dialects such as Cantonese.
Actually, Tai Tai is a human character. She's The Foolish Magistrate's wife. And she does act kind of snobby, but is kind at heart.

Oooh...I just remembered that there is an episode where they kind of talk about how Sagwa, Dongwa, and Sheegwa got their names, it has something to do with when their parents met. Sagwa does mean "silly", but in a kind way. Dongwa means winter, but they said Sheegwa means water?

The three daughters of The Foolish Magistrate and Tai Tai-Ba Do, Luc Do, and Huang Do are identical triplets. Is this what you mean by connected?

Jet-Jet is one of the Alley Cats. Suppossedly, Jet-Jet is just a nickname. I do wonder what it means though!

OK...I'm a tad confused. Isn't Chinese just Chinese? I mean, when you take a Chinese class what exactly are you learning? I didn't actually realize there were dialects!
post #9 of 23
China is broken up into regions. Each has it's own version of the language.


Northern(Includes Mandarin)

Hakka

Jiangsu-Zhejiang

Hunan

Jiangsi

Northern Min

Southern Min

Cantonese

There are countless subdialects within each region.

Mandarin is the "Official" language of China used in Government.



Jeff
post #10 of 23
Allow me to make a reference on dialects and languages. A dialect is a variation within the same language. A language is that, a language.

For example, within English there are several dialects. The differences in language you will find between New York and London are distinct dialects. Also the differences in spoken language within the US (like in the south) are distinct dialects of English. Spanish has even more dialects.

If its that distinct (to the point there are about as many differences as between Spanish and Portuguese), and all the chinese dialects came from an older form of Chinese, then technically they are all different languages. At least that's what the Royal Spanish Academy (the official regulating institution of the Spanish language) defines it.
post #11 of 23
The difference in China is that someone that speaks Cantonese would probably not be able to understand or converse with someone that only spoke Mandarin. There are 7 main regions. They all speak Chinese of some variation. Within each region are subdialects of each regions variation of the Chinese language. Now if you want to really toss a wrench into the mix, toss in Nepalese and Mongol. Your analogy works with the spanish language. Chinese is unique and the exception to that.




Jeff
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by grampngram
The difference in China is that someone that speaks Cantonese would probably not be able to understand or converse with someone that only spoke Mandarin. There are 7 main regions. They all speak Chinese of some variation. Within each region are subdialects of each regions variation of the Chinese language. Now if you want to really toss a wrench into the mix, toss in Nepalese and Mongol. Your analogy works with the spanish language. Chinese is unique and the exception to that.

Jeff
I dont speak Chinese, but I really want to, and hope to learn some someday.
I just had to take part in this conversation, I find Chinese culture (including the languages) so interesting. I just have to add something funny from my experience with Chinese. I went to China with some fellow Antropology student (a sort of study trip, travelled quite a lot around China, but stayed most of the time in Yunnan, a real anthropological heaven), and of course we tried to learn some words and frazes (I tried specially hard, even bought a fraze book for tripple price, and did a lot of talking to people on Chinese, and got laught at by my friends )
One of the frazed we all had learned was "I dont understand", a fraze often used by us over there . Anyway, one we were buying something, and the sales persons were trying to get us to understand something and spoke a lot - in Chinese of course, and we kept telling him "I dont understand", using our language stills. In the end he wrote a whole page and gave to us. A whole page with Chinese signs! We thought, how does he expect a few pale European people to understand all those complicated signs, when we cant even understand what he is saying, we found that kindof funny, well, and silly. When I arrived at hotel again, and told our guide about this, we found out that having all thouse very different dialects, it was quite commom for people not to understand the each others spoken language, even though they have the same written language. So apparently, there are 2 different phrases, one saying "I dont understand what you say" and "I dont understand the written language"....and apparently, we only knew the phraze of not understanding the spoken language, so this must have been this salesperson´s thought when writing this whole page for us....

Sorry how long this post got.....I have so many stories of our language problems, they really still make me laugh Like going to the lobby and asking where the tea was, and at dinner, asking the waiter to please have more toilet....(I kept mixing the "toilet" and "tea" words) Oh my I think I´ll stop now before I keep on writing for the rest of the night
post #13 of 23
Hmm triplets, I guess they are connected then. The reason is that since I saw all three had a 'do' behind their names, I thought they might be connected/related. Since in some areas, the children will be named such that their names are similar. Something like those parents who perhaps name their childern "Amy, Arnold, Alicia, etc." Except instead of it being 'cutesy' it is tradition. A person might have 1) Surname, 2) Given name 3) Generation name. Usually the given name and the generation name are used together. Generation name could mean that everyone in that generation such as you and your cousins will have that name.
Thus: A(Surname)B(Generation)C(Given). So you may have ABC, ABD, ABE, etc. Although this is not true for everywhere, especially not in those areas where names are just Surname + Given.

Sheegwa as water? Water is 'sui.' Maybe there might be another word for water but I cannot think of any at the moment. Oh oh, it suddenly just arrive in my mind. Xi or Shee as one might pronounce it means wash in Mandarin. Oh, oh another one (its all coming back to me now, la la) Sheegwa means water melon in Mandarin. However, the Xi for water melon and the Xi for wash are different words. And finally although this may be a stretch, there is this place in China called Xi Hu, West Lake which is a very beautiful place immortalised in many poems.

As for the dialects, the only thing connecting them is the written language to a certain extent. You are quite right learning Mandarin (Putonghua as they call it) will provide you with no idea of any of the dialects. Although, learning the dialects would be easier once you know Mandarin. Hong Kong generally speaks Cantonese, Taiwan speaks mandarin but their main dialect it Hokkien.

There are two written languages. The simplified version which China uses and the traditional which Taiwan uses. Because many immigrants to the west may have come from Taiwan or came there many years ago, hence they use the traditional written language. But it is far more useful to pick up the simplified version. Besides once you know it, learning the traditional is often a matter of substitution of parts of the word.

Jet Jet. The problem is that often to translate the sounds to English wierd combination of words are used and that may present some difficulty. It would be best to see the word proper itself. Alternatively you could try to take a look at hanyu pinyin, it is uses letters in connection with 4 tones. It can provide a more accurate reflection of the way the word is to be pronounced.

Pollyanna, Toilet = Che suo / Tea = Cha. I can see a possible misunderstanding between che and cha. I always think that perhaps one day I should print a T-shirt with symbols on the front, such as those representing a restaurant, toilet, gas station, hotel, airport etc. Then learn the phrase "how do I go to..." then point pull open your jacket and point to the symbol.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
Pollyanna, Toilet = Che suo / Tea = Cha. I can see a possible misunderstanding between che and cha. I always think that perhaps one day I should print a T-shirt with symbols on the front, such as those representing a restaurant, toilet, gas station, hotel, airport etc. Then learn the phrase "how do I go to..." then point pull open your jacket and point to the symbol.
Yes, I was even tought to say Cha sui for tea, so "Che suo" and "Cha sui" can be really confusing.

You can imagine how proud I was of myself when we went to a shopping mall in Kunming and I went to someone who worked the and said "Ni hao...Che suo?.....zje zje!"...and found the toilet right away even though I didn´t understand a word of all the directions, but I understand when people point in a direction (and boy, was I disappointed, beeing on the third floor in a shopping mall, and still there were holes in the floor in open stalls and no washing facilities...I thought for sure I would find a "real" toilet" )

I was not quite a clever, when once in a movie theater, also in Kunming (we really wanted to see Pierce Brosnan speak Chinese, just for fun), I tried to ask the girls in the little candy shop for the toilet, tried all kind of pronunciations, all kind of voice difference, but they didnt understand, and offered me a piece of paper and a pen - and I draw a very nice western toilet! When they finally figured out what I ment, they had to hide behind the counter, they laughed so hard, and then pointed us to....stalls with holes in the ground
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
There are two written languages. The simplified version which China uses and the traditional which Taiwan uses. Because many immigrants to the west may have come from Taiwan or came there many years ago, hence they use the traditional written language. But it is far more useful to pick up the simplified version. Besides once you know it, learning the traditional is often a matter of substitution of parts of the word.
I thought there were many more written languages, even though most of them are now disapearing if not allready disapeared. I had a special interest on the Yi people in South-West Yunnan, we went to visit a Yi village and later I wrote a paper on their life and culture and the attemtp to rivive their culture, so it wouldnt be forgotten. They have a special written language (and spoken of course), I though more minirity groups did, maybe the Yi have a speciality there.
I even wanted to write my final paper on the Yi in more depth, but sources of informations are incredibly hard to find, so if anyone knows anything, or knows of a source of information on the Yi people, please let me know!
post #16 of 23
Its all Chinese to me!

LOL!

PS: Yes I am a dork
post #17 of 23
Well, logically if you think about it I guess there should be more than two written languages. However, I must confess I have no idea what they are. After all, if you studied your history, China's first emperor Qin who was the first to unify the country also created the unified the language and written word. If I recall correctly, he ordered the destruction of all other languages and books. Ever since then Mandarin is pretty much the main language. You could watch the show Hero or "Ying Xiong" which is about Qin and staring Jet Li. However, a check with Imdb shows that while Miramax obtained the US distribution rights after the show's huge success in Asia and around the world it has yet to release it. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0299977/
http://www.herothemovie.com/
Although you can purchase the DVD by importing it from Asia. I have not seen it but then again I am not a 'movie person.' Heck, I only just recently watch the Lord of the Rings and that was because I was on the plane and saw they were showing all three shows on video on demand.

However, as you have visited Yunnan, I am sure you realise that their culture is significantly different from the rest of China, even in terms of their traditional dressing.

By the way, you should not make fun of the toilet in the ground. It may seem primitive but is suppose to be more healthy. It is claimed that using the toilet in that manner is suppose to be better for your bowels because of the way you squat and the natural force exerted, ermmm, and lets just leave it at that. Well you just try to squat and you will get the point. By the way I recall someone here at the Catsite once mention she dropped her keys into the loo, using the hole in the ground is more dangerous, with your pocket and all. Just a friendly reminder if you ever encounter one of these toilets.
post #18 of 23
I am a Chinese!!!! And I do speak chinese as a mother tongue... Chinese does have their own different versions.. even in China where most people speak chinese, they have their own dialects and own native ways of talking...

1. Sagwa- sha gua (means silly fella in chinese)
2. Dongwa- dong gua( means winter melon in chinese)
3. Sheegwa- xi gua( means watermelon in chinese)
4. Jet Jet- I'm not able to find the chinese character for this name but I suppose it is prob meaning older sister ie jie jie
5. Tai Tai- (means wife or sometimes could mean Mrs)
6. Ba Do- bai dou ( means white bean)
7. Luc Do- lu dou( means green bean )
8. Huang Do- huang dou( means yellow bean, prob soy bean kind of thing)
9. Fu Fu-(means lucky bat according to the word in chinese, the two words may have the same spelling in english but it is a different character in chinese and they have different intonation too)

something to add: the word dou when used together like dou dou would mean a toddler.. like dou dou ban( tiny tots class) would mean classes for the toddlers...

hope this helps..
post #19 of 23
Hung Chow, Chow Mein
post #20 of 23
Kate - I had a feeling you would know!
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caspar
Hung Chow, Chow Mein
Everybody Wang Chung Tonight

LOL
post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kateang
I am a Chinese!!!! And I do speak chinese as a mother tongue... Chinese does have their own different versions.. even in China where most people speak chinese, they have their own dialects and own native ways of talking...

1. Sagwa- sha gua (means silly fella in chinese)
2. Dongwa- dong gua( means winter melon in chinese)
3. Sheegwa- xi gua( means watermelon in chinese)
4. Jet Jet- I'm not able to find the chinese character for this name but I suppose it is prob meaning older sister ie jie jie
5. Tai Tai- (means wife or sometimes could mean Mrs)
6. Ba Do- bai dou ( means white bean)
7. Luc Do- lu dou( means green bean )
8. Huang Do- huang dou( means yellow bean, prob soy bean kind of thing)
9. Fu Fu-(means lucky bat according to the word in chinese, the two words may have the same spelling in english but it is a different character in chinese and they have different intonation too)

something to add: the word dou when used together like dou dou would mean a toddler.. like dou dou ban( tiny tots class) would mean classes for the toddlers...

hope this helps..
Thanks Kate. :hug:

I just saw the episode the other day where Ni-Ni (Sagwa's grandma) tells the kittens the story of how their parents met, and how the kittens (Dongwa, Sagwa, and Sheegwa) got their names from that. For some people, calling someone silly isn't a term of endearment...but as it was explained on the show, in China it is! I wouldn't mind being called silly if it was a term of endearment.

I have actually learned a few Chinese words and phrases from watching that show. For example...

1. Baba (Father, the daddy cat is called Baba Miao)
2. Mama (Mother, as in Mama Miao)
3. Ni-Ni (Grandmother, as in Grandma Miao)
4. Yeh-Yeh (Grandfather, as in Grandpa Miao)
5. She-She (Spelling might be wrong. It means "thank you".)

Oooh Kate...I just had a thought! You said that Jie Jie means "older sister", but Jet-Jet is a boy...so maybe could that mean older brother? Just a thought!

Thanks again!
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cougar
Cant help you there, but I'll ask my bro to see if he knows.
Funny thing is I watch that show to Yeah I have nothing better to do.

Later,
Brandon
That show is awesome!
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