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September 22nd, 2013 06:55 PM #1
Asian-themed, fantasy short-story help.
Okay, so, I need some info on Asian culture (preferably Dark Ages and Eighteenth-Century-era Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Tibetan, Fillipino, and Myanmar culture. Yes, I know, very diverse and very different, but worldbuilding is just taking pieces of different cultures, altering them, and putting them together) and some Korean surnames that, while not too uncommon, aren't too common either. (Basically nothing overdone like Lee, Kim, Ling, Mai, Chu, etc.)
The protagonist is Jin Hye (surname unknown. Yes, I know generally in Korea, the surname comes first, but as I said, this is fantasy loosely based on Asian culture.) and my basic idea is that there's some mystical, druglike substance that turns people into superhumans, but at a cost. Basically, fantasy-ized steroids. I'm thinking it might possibly affect Jin differently than most people, but an alternative scenario is that she's just driven to use it to protect something she cares about or to get by, and thus ends up digging the hole deeper and deeper. I'm thinking it's a somewhat dystopian combination of fantasy and steampunk/sci-fi, and perhaps Diyos Droga -- which is Fillipino for 'The God Drug' (thanks, Google Translate) was outlawed and there's a high-crime rate in the main country. I'm also thinking there's a Dynasty, a Shogun, and a nobility, but I would have to study that more.
Anyway, help would be immensely appreciated.
September 22nd, 2013 09:28 PM #3Junior Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2013
In asian cultures, you can basicly name your kid whatever you want, provided you can write it in that cantries language. i've got a friend, who's name translates as 'happy safe plum (yuet on lee). So if yo translated "evil", you'd get "Waru" which is a name in japan, even if it's a werid one.
Japanese culture also has all these addidtives on the end of names, like "san"(mr/ms/miss/mrs), "chan"(something you put on the end of a girls name or sometimes a boy to show that you are there friend, "sama"( which means theyre a little higher up then you in society), and "dono" (which means theyre lik your master)
You'd only really use someones's first name if you knew them really well.
September 22nd, 2013 09:32 PM #5
Thank you. That's really helpful. I'll have to chew on that.
September 23rd, 2013 08:53 AM #7Member
- Join Date
- Apr 2011
- Pennsylvania, US
Oo, someone asking about Korea! I'm actually studying for a semester in Korea right now, and I love Korean language. Not a Korean myself, so I'm no expert, but I like to think I've picked up on some essential parts of the culture.
Korean names, like Japanese, are based on Chinese characters, though Korean names are a bit less flexible in pronunciations and all that. There are a few native Korean names out there, but the Chinese-based system is the norm. Jinhye (or Jin Hye, as you spelled it) is definitely a feminine name, even if it's a bit modern for your time period. Make sure you refer to her by both syllables, though; I noticed you just called her "Jin" and left out the "Hye," which isn't how it works. Common mistake, easy fix. Given names are usually two syllables (though I've seen one-syllable names), meaning two Chinese characters, and surnames usually one syllable (though there are a few uncommon two-syllable ones). So in all, full names are three syllables. Even people with two-syllable surnames often give their kids a one-syllable first name to balance it out. If you just google Korean surnames, Wikipedia has some lists. Lots of googling. Also, don't trust all you see on baby-name websites, since the two-syllable system doesn't work as well for these kinds of sites. Too much mixing and matching goes on in real life.
As for old Korean culture, it was very heavily based in Confucianism. Korea did invent its own alphabet in the 1500s (not sure if you're basing your story before of after that era), but a good part of Korean language stems from old Chinese, and Chinese characters were used commonly by scholars and the like. A good way to get a sense of culture is to watch a good historical drama or two, but that might take up quite a bit of time, and you're not focusing solely on Korea. But that would be a more entertaining way to go about researching, if you're okay with the dramatized version.
There's a hierarchy built into everyday life, and even the language (there are 8, count them, 8! levels of honorifics. Only four are still in common use today, but...8!) Collectivist society, rather than individualist. Lots of implied meaning rather than direct talk; the most obvious example is the lack of pronouns in common speech. Korean is a verb-oriented language, rather than noun-oriented like English.
Like the previous poster said, there are suffixes on names, and you don't just call people by their first name (though in Korea, you don't just call people by their surname either, since many are too widespread and generic). Often, instead of using the person's name, you just call them by your relation to them, the same way you'd call your mom "Mom." They just also do that with their teachers, bosses, other family members, etc. So if your book is in third person, you can just call them whatever you want your readers to think of them as, but think carefully about how your characters refer to each other. Even "you" is seldom used, and they prefer to just address the person by name or relationship.
I could go on for a while trying to explain Korean culture, but I'll leave it at that. I'd do some more research, especially for the cultures with which you are most unfamiliar. Since you're only taking pieces of them, make sure you don't just take some of the common surface-level stuff, and actually dig down for the true essence of the culture. If you ever need to know more about Korea or Korean names that your research can't find, I can try to help. I find Korean language (and culture) really interesting, so I'd love to babble about it. Sorry if this was a bit long. Good luck!Edmund Antonio - Lucas Alexander - Theodore August
Eleanor Georgia - Madeleine Lorraine - Verity Rose
September 23rd, 2013 05:49 PM #9
Thank you so much! That was really helpful. Seriously, I didn't mind the babbling -- that was just what I needed to know.
It's set in a fictional world, so it can be any time-period I want it to be, it's just most similar to the Dark Ages and Victorian era, but likely with a little bit of sci-fi. I haven't worked it out yet, but I'm thinking they're a very traditional culture and that's why some parts have adopted more of the advanced technology than others.