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PlumBlossomPrincess

Seeking Help For A Name and Translation

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PlumBlossomPrincess

Hello, I have decided to create an account on here to ask for some help. My grandmother's great grandmother came to America (Hawaii) from South China. She was told that she was not allowed to learn Cantonese.

My mother's great grandmother has told her about our family history prior to coming to Hawaii, and my mother passed it to me when I was 15 years old. I am 21 now and I want to seek a Chinese name of my own. I don't want to disrespect my family's reasoning for coming here, but I wish to change my name in hopes of finding comfort for myself.

I am sorry if I get some things wrong, I have kept away from learning Cantonese or anything about our culture because my family does not like to talk about the past.

 

I know my (great, great) grandmothers' surnames was Po ? and the other was Lo (?). (Pronounced Poh and Loh). I can not remember if it was my aunt or my grandmother who had received a Chinese name. I do not know how to pronounce it, and I do not know the character for it. My mother told me that the name for them was 'Peach'. My mother was not given a Chinese name, because her grandmother had passed away before she could receive one.

 

My given name is Jade, as my mother still wanted me to have some sort of connection to our culture. If I am correct, the character used for that is 玉 (yu). I would like to know some more female names with 玉 (yu) or 梅 (mei). 

 

I really like the sound of 小梅 (Xiaoyu) and 小玉 (Xiaomei). I do not know if these characters are okay to put together for a name. I have also tried my best to learn how to pronounce, but I have learned recently that Cantonese and Mandarin are pronounced differently. I would really appreciate the help learning how to say these names in Cantonese, too. 

 

Thank you very much for taking the time to read. Have a wonderful day!

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PlumBlossomPrincess

😥 I mixed up the names I had listed, I apologize! They were supposed to be listed as 小梅 (Xiaomei) and 小玉 (Xiaoyu).

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If_IwasaLinguist

Hi, welcome to this forum and you will find lots of friends who share similar interests with you. 

 

I notice that your given name is Jade, which is the corresponding translation of 玉. As for the name of 梅, I suppose you also know it is the translation of Plum, which is used as your nickname for this forum. For these two names of 小梅 and 小玉, they are both fine to be a girl's given name independently, such as 陆小玉 and 李小梅. And also if you like, I may suggest to change the first character 小 into 晓, which literally means 通晓 know well and usually is combined with other characters to be a girl's given name. 

 

As for your family name, Poh is the Hokkien surname for 傅 fu while Lo is similar to 罗 luo in Mandarin. But you also mentioned your family might come from a Cantonese region, thus I am not sure whether these two family names also exist in Cantonese with the same pronunciation. Hope these are helpful. 

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Demonic_Duck
11 hours ago, PlumBlossomPrincess said:

I don't wan to disrespect my family's reasoning for  coming here, but I wish to change my name in hopes of finding comfort for myself.

Not to discourage you from changing your name if that's what you want to do, but lots of English/Chinese bilingual folks have both Chinese and English names, so you don't necessarily have to give up one or the other.

 

Surname Lo is probably 羅. Not so sure about Po (my Cantonese isn't great anyway).

 

For names related to Jade, the character 玉 on its own is fine but perhaps a little plain. You can also consider characters like those in this list for something a bit more interesting:

 

https://zhidao.baidu.com/question/744108872632718052.html

 

You can copy/paste them into a dictionary or translator app for meanings and pronunciations.

 

Note that the "jade" component in these examples looks like 王 but is actually 玉 from an etymological point of view.

 

小 is more commonly seen in nicknames than in formal names, but as @If_IwasaLinguist mentions, lots of Mandarin speakers use 曉 as a sort of stand-in, because the sound is identical in Mandarin. Unfortunately it looks like the characters are pronounced differently in Cantonese, not that that's necessarily a problem.

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PlumBlossomPrincess
4 hours ago, Demonic_Duck said:

Not to discourage you from changing your name if that's what you want to do, but lots of English/Chinese bilingual folks have both Chinese and English names, so you don't necessarily have to give up one or the other.

That's alright! I was already planning on changing my name for other personal reasons that are unrelated to this. So, I thought I would poke around. I may have an English first name and a Chinese middle name, just to make things easier on primary English speakers as well! 😊

 

4 hours ago, Demonic_Duck said:

 

For names related to Jade, the character 玉 on its own is fine but perhaps a little plain. You can also consider characters like those in this list for something a bit more interesting:

 

https://zhidao.baidu.com/question/744108872632718052.html

 

 

Thank you very much! I will take a look at this website when I eat lunch today. 

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PlumBlossomPrincess
5 hours ago, If_IwasaLinguist said:

And also if you like, I may suggest to change the first character 小 into 晓, which literally means 通晓 know well and usually is combined with other characters to be a girl's given name. 

I like that suggestion! It sounds very cute to me when I speak it out loud in Mandarin. 

 

5 hours ago, If_IwasaLinguist said:

As for your family name, Poh is the Hokkien surname for 傅 fu while Lo is similar to 罗 luo in Mandarin. But you also mentioned your family might come from a Cantonese region, thus I am not sure whether these two family names also exist in Cantonese with the same pronunciation. Hope these are helpful. 

This is very interesting! And yes, my mother told me that my family had come from the Guangdong region before coming to the United States. I am more curious my family and the regional languages now. Thank you very much! I am going to talk with my mother about this and see what new things I can learn. 😊

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Flickserve
On 7/31/2020 at 5:57 AM, PlumBlossomPrincess said:

 

I am sorry if I get some things wrong, I have kept away from learning Cantonese or anything about our culture because my family does not like to talk about the past.

 

It's a personal choice to learn Cantonese. Many people learn Cantonese and heritage is definitely a common and natural reason. Although your family doesn't like to talk about it, you have your own personal journey. Any reason as for why your family doesn't talk about it? 

 

In Cantonese, loh po is 老婆 which means "wife" or “darling”. Is there any chance of finding out her original written surname in Chinese characters?

 

Good luck for your journey. One of my friends in HK is a fourth generation Hawaiian Chinese. He still has his Chinese surname.

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PlumBlossomPrincess
17 hours ago, Flickserve said:

Any reason as for why your family doesn't talk about it? 

My mother tells me that a long time ago (perhaps 3 or 4 generations), that our family had to flee from south China and come to the United States to be safe. 

They wanted to have the family live like Americans rather than Chinese people. It was a rule that was enforced very much by my grandmother's mother. Eventually, my grandmother moved to the mainland United States with my mother, and we have stayed in the Midwest ever since!

It is very confusing family history, if I may say so! My mother is the one who tells me about all of this. It is a struggle to understand! 😓

17 hours ago, Flickserve said:

 

In Cantonese, loh po is 老婆 which means "wife". Is there any chance of finding out the original written surname in Chinese characters?

That is a very interesting piece of information! I will have to ask my mother if she knows anything more about their name. As for finding the surname, I am not sure, since we were not given a lot of information about how the names were written in Chinese characters. I will ask my mother about that as well! ☺️

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PlumBlossomPrincess

Hi everyone! I have spent all day looking at new names, talking to my mother, and other things!  

I have found out that I really enjoy pairing things with  龍 (or should I write it as 龙?) I do not know if it is okay to use in names, but I still had some fun coming up with names. Please let me know what you think! 😊 I originally had more, but I think these names are very cute. I grew attached to them as the day went on. If they are not suitable for personal names, perhaps I will use one as an art name!

梁夏龍  (Liang Xialong)

梁心龍 / 梁欣龍 (Liang Xinlong) 

 

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Flickserve
15 hours ago, PlumBlossomPrincess said:

As for finding the surname, I am not sure, since we were not given a lot of information about how the names were written in Chinese characters. I will ask my mother about that as well! 


perhaps a family heirloom. A letter with some names. These are occasionally passed down the family, perhaps to others Like your mother’s aunts or uncles might have the information. 
 

That is a pretty interesting family history and myself also being an overseas Chinese also would be interested in knowing story. I think around 15 years ago, there was a series on HK Television about overseas Chinese who in earlier generations had settled across different countries and made their own small communities in places such as India. 
 

龍 is more usually a boys name. Probably the most famous one is 小龍 - the martial artist Bruce Lee. 

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PlumBlossomPrincess
1 hour ago, Flickserve said:

 

That is a pretty interesting family history and myself also being an overseas Chinese also would be interested in knowing story.

It turns out that grandma Po and grandma Loh are the same woman! When I had talked to my mother about it and asked her, she said that they called her 'Grandma Po'  rather than 'Grandma Loh'.  She also said that she had never told me before.. because I had never asked until last night! 😅  I am hoping to eventually speak with more extended family and see if I can get more information! I have had a lot of fun learning about my family history from my mother.

1 hour ago, Flickserve said:

I think around 15 years ago, there was a series on HK Television about overseas Chinese who in earlier generations had settled across different countries and made their own small communities in places such as India. 

Oh! That show sounds very interesting. ☺️ It sounds like it would be very fun to watch in free time.

 

1 hour ago, Flickserve said:

龍 is more usually a boys name. Probably the most famous one is 小龍 - the martial artist Bruce Lee. 

I see! I will keep that in mind. Thank you for informing me. 😊

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Flickserve

Great!

 

6 hours ago, PlumBlossomPrincess said:

It turns out that grandma Po and grandma Loh are the same woman! When I had talked to my mother about it and asked her, she said that they called her 'Grandma Po'  rather than 'Grandma Loh'.

 

In Cantonese, we call the maternal grandmother 婆婆。(different to Mandarin). 

 

Sounds likely that the 'Po' in Grandma 'Po' is 婆.

 

'Loh' could refer to the surname 盧 (Cantonese sounds like 'lo'), 羅 (sounds like 'law'), (劉 is a bit less likely as it sounds like 'lau') or simply 老婆 (as referred to earlier). 

 

 

Although the heritage is from guangdong in China, just be a little wary assuming all the language heritage is Cantonese. Guangdong has a lot of native Hakka speakers who also emigrated for work settling in places like Malaysia, Indonesia, Mauritius - not sure if many went to Hawaii.

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PlumBlossomPrincess

 

32 minutes ago, Flickserve said:

In Cantonese, we call the maternal grandmother 婆婆。(different to Mandarin). 

 

Sounds likely that the 'Po' in Grandma 'Po' is 婆.

 

'Loh' could refer to the surname 盧 (Cantonese sounds like 'lo')

I'm so happy to hear about this. It makes a lot of sense to me! I asked my mother about the Cantonese version of 盧 and if that is why she speaks with a lower tone when talking about that grandmother, and she said that is why.  I wonder if my mother knows that 婆婆 is what maternal grandmother is in Cantonese! I can not wait to share with her. 🤭 

34 minutes ago, Flickserve said:

 

Although the heritage is from guangdong in China, just be a little wary assuming all the language heritage is Cantonese. Guangdong has a lot of native Hakka speakers who also emigrated for work settling in places like Malaysia, Indonesia, Mauritius - not sure if many went to Hawaii.

My mother told me that it was Cantonese that our family spoke, but I will ask her about this. I am excited to talk with my mother more and share this with her!  

Thank you so much for this. It has been very, very helpful!  ☺️

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feihong
2 hours ago, PlumBlossomPrincess said:

My mother told me that it was Cantonese that our family spoke, but I will ask her about this. I am excited to talk with my mother more and share this with her!  

Thank you so much for this. It has been very, very helpful!  ☺️

There are many Chinese Americans who claim Cantonese as their family language, but often it’s actually Taishanese (台山话), a closely related topolect.

 

婆婆 can also mean maternal grandmother in Mandarin, mostly in the south of China, e.g. Shanghai and surrounding areas.

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Demonic_Duck
10 hours ago, Flickserve said:

盧 (Cantonese sounds like 'lo'), 羅 (sounds like 'law')

Probably easier to go by actual pronunciations rather than English approximations (which will be read differently by different English speakers):

https://forvo.com/word/羅/#yue

https://forvo.com/word/盧/#yue

 

9 hours ago, PlumBlossomPrincess said:

I asked my mother about the Cantonese version of 盧 and if that is why she speaks with a lower tone when talking about that grandmother, and she said that is why

Bear in mind both 盧 and 羅 are 4th (lowest) tone in Cantonese.

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PlumBlossomPrincess

Hi everyone! I'm sorry that I disappeared for a few days. I had a medical procedure done, but I'm home now! ☺️ I will try to see what other things I can figure out with my family history. I hope you are all having a great day!

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PlumBlossomPrincess

Hello everyone! I'm still recovering from my procedure. I am very fatigued, but I am doing well. 😊 I have taken it easy and tried to look for more names. I'd like to know if

春燕 or 夏燕 sounds better. I think 小燕 sounds very cute as well. I know that I can use 晓 for 小, but I think the meaning to 小 is much more cute! Please let me know what you all think, and have a wonderful day!

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