Obama in Chinese

Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 17 02:06:10 UTC 2009

In truespel it would be ~Oebbaamu  showing stress on second syllable.

from   http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iFfMPbr1PZ-oWMiDxNZd41o7m5XA

Spelling Obama in Chinese not an easy task

BEIJING — US President Barack Obama's first visit to China will undoubtedly be marked by difficult talks on trade and climate change, but another thorny issue has emerged: how to write "Obama" in Mandarin.
While the Chinese have written "Aobama" since the US leader first emerged on the political scene, US officials want "Oubama" to be the new standard transcription, as the characters more closely match the English pronunciation.
The Olympic Games held here last year may have influenced the Chinese on the spelling issue, as the character "ao" -- which means "mysterious" or "secret" -- is also used in the expression for the Games, "Aolinpike".
But in recent days, ahead of Obama's arrival in China on Sunday, the US embassy began using the phonetic transcription "Oubama" on its website -- which is already used in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
"Oubama is the official US government translation. We are trying to ensure consistency," embassy spokeswoman Susan Stevenson told AFP.
But on the Chinese foreign ministry website, the US president is still "Aobama", and Chinese media say enforcing a change of the transcription at this point may be a tough task for the White House.
A senior foreign ministry official who works on translation issues, quoted by the Legal Evening News, said "Oubama" is indeed correct.
Phonetic transcriptions are decided not by the foreign ministry, but by another governmental agency which issues an official manual on translating English names.
As for the president's first name, Chinese media have adopted several options including "Balake" and "Beilake".

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL7+
see truespel.com phonetic spelling

> Date: Mon, 16 Nov 2009 23:59:04 +0000
> From: robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM
> Subject: Re: Latin contribution?
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Robin Hamilton <robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM>
> Subject: Re: Latin contribution?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> So, of ordinary words, just "port"? OED does not agree on the
>> derivation of tor/torr (which to me is just a literary term) and does
>> not even list the other three.
>> John Baker
> Well, that's at least what Baugh says, John. And at that, I was taught from
> the second edition, and it has been revised since, I think.
> As well as "port", I'd recognise "tor", possibly marginally less literary in
> Scots rather than in English. But the others presumably were part of
> post-invasion English at one time, even if obsolete now.
> (About "torr", Baugh says, in full: "_torr_ (tower, rock) possibly from L.
> _turris_, possibly from Celtic." This would leave slightly open the
> question of whether it enters English directly from Latin, or via Celtic.)
> I'd guess running spelling variants through the OED full text search would
> turn them up, or the MED. But that's just a guess, and I'm not prepared to
> go to the trouble of confirming this at the moment. <g>
> Actually, checking the OED for 'wic' as "WICK n2 (an abode, dwelling,
> dwelling place)", the OED has this directly from Latin _vicus_ into Common
> Germanic. Looking at Baugh's wording again on page 93-94, he says, "A few
> other words are thought for one reason or another to belong to this /
> period," so the ones I gave him as listing may not all be via Celtic.
> Robin Hamilton
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