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Thread: last name: Kwon

  1. #1
    karoshi Senior Member solypsist's Avatar
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    While I'm sure the surname (Americanized) Kwon is of Asian origin, is it Japanese? I realize this is a broad question, and what with marriages etc. is could be untraceable, but then certain names are definitely Japanese - you'll never find a man from China named Honda or Yamamoto. Some help on this would be appreciated.

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    Member Member Anssi Hakkinen's Avatar
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    I don't think so. There is no "kw" syllable in Japanese, although English transliterations sometimes use it. (In that case, it could be K˘n, but that doesn't sound like a word, either.) More probably Southeast Asian (Vietnamese?), or Chinese, or perhaps Korean.

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  3. #3

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    It's Korean and/or Chinese. Probably the best known example would be Michelle Kwan, the Chinese-American figure skater. (The anglicized versions vary on the spelling). The Chinese and Koreans share many last names (Lee/Li being another example).


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    Member Member Tenchimuyo's Avatar
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    Yep. We have a different dialect from the Japanese, you will never see a Chinese person with a name like Yamamoto. Vice versa for the Japanese, nobody's name will be Chu in Japan. All these names are based on our dialects, as to the language we speak.

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  5. #5
    Naughty Little Hippy Senior Member Tachikaze's Avatar
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    I hate to be picky -- no I don't; I love to be picky -- Japanese, Korean, and Chinese are completely different languages. Chinese is in a different language family from Japanese and Korean. They share a writing system (from Chinese), and some vocabulary ("shang", "shan", and "san" for mountain for instance). But they are otherwise more distinct than Persian and French.

    Japanese has two or more words for many common nouns. One is called kun. That is the traditional Japanese word for something. "Hito" is the kun word for person. On is the Chinese pronunciation. "Jin" is the on word for person. Japanese names are normally all kun.

    Korean also has Chinese vocabulary, but, like Japanese, is grammatically very different.

    Japanese is made up of syllables. Each syllable, except "n", ends with a vowel sound. My name is ta-chi-ka-ze. Four syllables, two kun words combined.

    Korean and Chinese are also divided by syllables, but the syllables can end in consonants. One Korean name is "Pak", for instance. "Chang" is a name in Chinese.

    There are no blends in any of these languages. A blend is two consonants that are run together, like the "tr" in "truck" or the "cl" in "clock". Blends are frequent in English and other European languages, and are difficult for Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese to pronounce.

    The w sound is a consonant in Japanese (and English), but a semi-vowel in Korean and Chinese. So, the kw combination is impossible in Japanese (it is a consonant blend), but possible in the other two languages. In the Korean hangul writing system, the "w" sound is spelled as a vowel.

    It is true that Kwon can be a Korean or Chinese name.

    None of these languages are dialects in themselves. A dialect is a variation of one language that is mutually understood. Australian, South African, and American English are dialects of English. Even the various Chinese languages are completely distinct, and are not dialects of one language. Mandarin and Cantonese are not mutually intelligable. They only share a writing system.

    Sorry for the linguistics lesson, but I had nothing else to do.

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    [This message has been edited by Tachikaze (edited 03-15-2001).]


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  6. #6
    karoshi Senior Member solypsist's Avatar
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    thx. the reason im asking is that my kendo sensei is named kwon, and he looks chinese, but he knows his japanese and is really into the japanese culture. not that his background excludes him from having a hobby, but i was just curious.

  7. #7

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    hes probably a nanjing baby...
    In my sword; the wind, in my heart; courage, in my eyes; death...I am Minagawa

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    Senior Member Senior Member FwSeal's Avatar
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    ouch...

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    Member Member Tenchimuyo's Avatar
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    What's a nanjing baby?

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    A great warrior never reveal his true skills....
    A great warrior rarely reveal his true skills....

  10. #10
    Southpaw Samurai Member Ii Naomasa's Avatar
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    A 'Nanjing baby' is the result of a most regrettable action taken by Japanese soldiers after occupying Nanjing, China in 1937. Unleashed, the Japanese victors were quite vicious to male prisoners of war and civilians...and even more cruel to the women. A 'Nanjing baby', would therefore be half-Japanese, half-Chinese, and not by the mother's choice.

    I agree with Seal-san's efficiently brief opinion on the original comment. Perhaps I'm over-sensitive, but it is the equivalent of calling a Jewish man who has always been slight of frame a 'holocaust baby'.
    Naomasa Ii
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    Verbal Diarrhea: This general can't ever say or write anything in less than three paragraphs. Can't even yell 'Charge' without a soliloquy. -3 to command.

  11. #11

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    sounds cruel, but what i said might be true hope theres no holocaust baby in this forum.
    In my sword; the wind, in my heart; courage, in my eyes; death...I am Minagawa

  12. #12

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    Ah, well said, Tachikaze.

    Here's an interesting example of Korean/Chinese names:

    Chow Yun Fat

    (of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) is

    Joo Yin Bal

    in Korean. Same characters, but slightly different pronunciation. In Korean, both the Chinese characters as well as the native 26 letters Korean alphabet is used.

    In addition to the lack of blends, the Korean language (and perhaps Chinese and Japanese as well, I don't know the latter two), lacks long vowels. I.e., "ee" is pronounced as if it was a short "i".

    So, when you hear an Asian saying, "I am going to the beach", the situation may not be what it may initially seem.


    [This message has been edited by agios_katastrof (edited 03-15-2001).]

  13. #13
    karoshi Senior Member solypsist's Avatar
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    re: 'Nanjing baby'

    Sure guys, I'll be sure to ask him when he's got his shinai pointed at my throat next practice.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Senior Member Kurando's Avatar
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    I happened to see the old man who was the Kung-fu teacher in my hometown once while he was changing and he had a shitload of scars. I asked his grand daughter what they were from and she said that they were wounds from WW2 (Japanese bayonette wounds from hand-to-hand fighting, and such). -It must have been a hard ticket to be in China during the war years.

    I think Shanghi was the first city attacked in the course of the war (they went at it long before things in Europe went south).

    Modern civilization is a vast conspiracy against silence

  15. #15
    Member Member Tenchimuyo's Avatar
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    My grandfather fought the Japanese when he was in the Chinese army. He still had a piece of artillery shell in his shoulder till the day he died.

    ------------------
    A great warrior never reveal his true skills....
    A great warrior rarely reveal his true skills....

  16. #16

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    hey soly, also ask ur sensei if he did found out who his father is, that way you'll learn more next time you spar with your sensei, after all angering him just makes him careless, you dont have to thank me for this advice i just wanna say good luck to you,hehe
    In my sword; the wind, in my heart; courage, in my eyes; death...I am Minagawa

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