July 31st, 2005

music, serious face

Cantonese / Mandarin names and translation

In one of my stories, I have a community that primarily speaks English and Cantonese, but has a large minority of Mandarin speakers. It's completely made-up, so I can't tell you where it is.

Scenario:

A girl who only speaks Mandarin leaves a note on her dresser and then goes missing. When the police are called in, a Cantonese-speaking officer finds the note.

Questions:

- Will the officer be able to do a quick, on-the-spot translation of her note? I'm assuming that he can, since she can write it in traditional characters. If he can't, I'll have to throw someone else into the scene.

- Are there any common girl's names that exist in Mandarin, but not Cantonese? Or are common in Mandarin but really unusual in Cantonese? I'd like her to have one, since someone else entirely finds just her name written down in blood somewhere, and I want them to guess that she speaks Mandarin.
music, serious face

MOD POST: RULE REMINDERS

I think I'm going to do this periodically (once a month or so), because either I'm getting grumpier or people are forgetting the rules more often.

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The two that are being broken? People are forgetting to include descriptive subject lines and posting questions that have nothing to do with writing.

ALL POSTS MUST HAVE A DESCRIPTIVE SUBJECT LINE.

This is a bad subject line: "medical question"
This is a good subject line: "healing after being shot in the knee"

If I make puppy eyes at callie_chan enough, she might let me start deleting posts without a subject, and that's no fun for anyone. Except me.
Byakuya

Wood finishing/varnishes/stains

I'm not sure how to google this so my google-fu is weak.

I have a maple branch, sanded smooth that I need to finish/varnish/whatever you call it with completely natural, non man-made materials. As in even something a 14yo could cook up in a regular kitchen. It can't be manufactured at all. She can buy it premade if it's possible, but there can't be any man made materials in it.

Does that make sense?

Plus it has to bring out the naturalness of the wood and not stain it a different colour from beyond the natural one of the wood.
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    confused
death tickles

Proper language for Jewish prayers?

Are prayers always in Hebrew, or is it acceptable to use the vernacular? More specifically, I'm writing a Russian Jew at Chanukah: when lighting the candles, would she say the blessing in Hebrew or in Russian? (Or, well, she's polylingual, so English is a possibility, too.)