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Strange Surnames (as in not too common)


muyongshi

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Just came across 边.

I've known someone with that name. Should have posted it way back when I met her :-)
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I met a woman surnamed 衣 the other day, never knew that was a surname. She said indeed, it's not even on the usual list of surnames. Although my Chinese friend thought for a bit and said yes, she knew that surname.

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Kobo-Daishi

 

That was kind of a joke.

 

I was watching a Taiwanese romance comedy/drama when I came across a scene in flashback where this girl tells about how her father read fairy tales to her. The father asks which 故仔 (it was dubbed into Cantonese and here he says 故仔 instead of 故事 even though 故事 is perfectly all right in Cantonese) she'd like to hear. The story of 白雪公主 (I guess this is Snow White) or 灰姑娘 (I guess this is Cinderella or as she's known in Britain, Cinders. I first heard this in an episode of the British comedy To The Manor Born. I never heard her called this before but then when I heard her Chinese name it makes even more sense.) She decides on 灰姑娘 and as her dad is reading she asks him what's 灰姑娘's surname. After a bit of hawing and hemming, he goes "er...ah...er...why, of course it's 灰"

 

So, I thought there probably wasn't a Chinese surname of 灰.

 

But, just to make sure, since it seems every other character dictionary entry includes surname as the last definition, to look in the 中国姓氏大辞典 (a massive 2022-page dictionary of Chinese surnames readily found on the Internet), and lo-and-behold there is a 灰 surname.

 

 

 

 

2ykxemq.png

 

Okay, it's not a Han Chinese surname, but, it's still a surname of China's Miao, 苗, ethnic minority.

 

Kobo.

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Kobo-Daishi
Cinderella (Cendrillon, Aschenputtel) might derive (at least in part) from a rather similar Chinese tale 葉限,although the matter seems to be much debated.

 

That's quite interesting.

 

 

Another version of the story, Ye Xian, appeared in Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang by Duan Chengshi around 860. Here, the hardworking and lovely girl befriends a fish, the reincarnation of her mother, who was killed by her stepmother and sister. Ye Xian saves the bones, which are magic, and they help her dress appropriately for a festival. When she loses her slipper after being recognized by her stepfamily, the king finds her slipper and made her his first wife (eventually rescuing her from her cruel stepmother).

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinderella

 

I wonder if the Chinese tale had an influence on the similar Vietnamese and Indonesian/Malaysian tales

 

 

The Indonesian and Malaysian story Bawang Merah Bawang Putih, are about two girls named Bawang Putih (literally "White Onion", meaning "garlic") and Bawang Merah ("Red Onion"). While the two country's respective versions differ in the exact relationship of the girls and the identity of the protagonist, they have highly similar plot elements. Both have a magical fish as the "fairy godmother" to her daughter, which the antagonist cooks. The heroine then finds the bones and buries them, and over the grave a magical swing appears. The protagonist sits on the swing and sings to make it sway, her song reaching the ears of a passing Prince. The swing is akin to the slipper test, which distinguishes the heroine from her evil sister, and the Prince weds her in the end.

 

In the Vietnamese version Tam Cam, Tam is mistreated by both her father's co-wife and half-sister, who stole her birthright by winning a wager of fishing unjustly proposed by the stepmother. The only fish that was left to her was killed and eaten by her step-family, but its bones served as her protector and guardian, eventually leading her to be the king's bride during a festival. The protagonist however, turns into the antagonist in part two of the story, by boiling her stepsister alive and then fooling her stepmother into cannibalism by feeding her her own daughter's flesh.

 

There is a Korean version named Kongji and Patzzi. It deals a story about a kind girl Kongji who was constantly abused by her stepmother and stepsister Patzzi. The step-family forces Kongjwi to stay at home while they attend the king's ball, but a fairy appears and gives her an attire more beautiful than everyone else. The motif is same as in Perrault, concerning a king falling in love with her. However, the story goes on with Patzzi drowning Kongji in a river and disguising herself as Kongji to live with the King. After the king finds out he puts Patzzi to death and feeds her to the unknowing stepmother.

 

The Vietnamese and Indonesian/Malaysian tales both have a fish playing a huge part in the story.

 

I've a copy of An Introduction to Vietnamese Literature and one of the stories they include, besides the Tam and Cam story, is The Five Twin Brothers.

 

In America, as a kid, I remember reading the Five Chinese Brothers.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Five_Chinese_Brothers

 

The Vietnamese tale is very like this one. The Wikipedia article says that it's a "retelling of a Chinese folk tale, Ten Brothers.".

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Brothers

 

 

The number of brothers varies among the various races of China. The Yi people have 9 brothers, the Zhuang people have 8 brothers, the Han people have 5 brothers, the Li people have 10 brothers.[2]

 

I've downloaded a few episodes of a Hong Kong television series of Ten Brothers, but, couldn't even get through the first episode. Might try again.   :)

 

This is kind of like the thread on Chinese culture. Where it has so become a part of Vietnamese literature and culture that they don't even know it's Chinese origin.

 

Same thing with many Japanese folk tales which were really takes on tales from Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_Stories_from_a_Chinese_Studio

 

Kobo.

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MPhillips

Kenny同志 recommended 酉陽雑俎 (Youyang Zazu) as a relatively easy work written in classical, now that I know it's where 葉限 comes from I'd really like to get a hold of a copy (I read a baihua version of 葉限 a long time ago).

Another example of literary borrowing from the Chinese is the plot of "The Tale of Kieu" (傳翹)which is considered Vietnam's greatest work of literature and which was derived from the Chinese novel entitled 金雲翹。

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Kobo-Daishi
Another example of literary borrowing from the Chinese is the plot of "The Tale of Kieu" (傳翹)which is considered Vietnam's greatest work of literature and which was derived from the Chinese novel entitled 金雲翹。

 

Yes, the Story of Kieu is also mentioned in An Introduction to Vietnamese Literature.

 

And this is the last I'll post on this subject since we've already deviated too much from the thread topic already.   :)

 

Kobo.

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  • 6 months later...

鲜于. I had some trouble parsing 鲜于庭诲墓, but it turns out Xianyu is a surname and it's simply the tomb of Xianyu Tinghui. Lovely statues they found there.

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skylee

I went to a meeting last Wednesday and exchanged name cards with the other party. The chairperson's surname is Yan (we do not use Chinese names on such occasions) and I assumed it was either 甄 or 殷. I have just had a look at his card and found that his name is 忻 (same pronunciation as 欣 in both Mandarin/Xin1 and Cantonese/Jan1). I think this is quite uncommon.

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Michaelyus

Met a 查 on holiday, totally mispronounced it (as I'm sure she expected). But it's on 百家姓... 

 

I also know someone named 䅵, which is properly off-piste.

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roddy
查...totally mispronounced

 

Roddy quickly goes back and checks a couple of recent translations, just in case...

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Demonic_Duck

“查” is a rather unfortunate one, what with sounding like “渣”... even worse, Xiandai Hanyu Guifan Cidian also lists that “渣” itself can be a surname.

 

I also know someone named 䅵, which is properly off-piste.

 

Yeah, I'd be piste-off too if my surname was so rare that many input methods are incapable of typing it!

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谌. The trouble here is not so much that it's rare (which it is for all I know) but that there seems to be some confusion on how to pronounce it. I only know this surname from the author 谌容, who I only know as Shen Rong (that's what it says on the translation I have!) but then I was in China and everyone called her Chen Rong. Even Wikipedia is confused. The dictionaries say it's just Chen, not Shen, but then how do so many sources come up with Shen?

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Leihuangdi

平。

never met anyone with the same surname...although it's one of the four hundred most common surnames and ~160thou people have this surname in China according to this 排名.

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