What is Your Name in Greek? How to Hellenize Your Name

July 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Today we romanize everything. We romanize Russian, we romanize Arabic, we romanize Japanese into Romaji, we romanize Chinese into Pinyin, we romanize Vietnamese into Vietnamese alphabet. How about we do a reverse? Or we better call it Renaissance, because what we are going to discuss is how to hellenize.

It is always interesting to think, about 2,300 years ago, after Alexander the Great (Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μέγας) had conquered the massive land from Aegean Sea to Indus Valley, everything was hellenized or hellenistic-ized. Greek became the lingua franca of many regions for hundreds or even thousands of years and many vocabularies of different languages are hellenized. However with the lose of power of the Byzantine Empire, Greek and all the Hellenization faded in a surprisingly fast speed.

OK, let’s stop the blah blah blah, I know many don’t like history stuff. What we are really talking about today is how to hellenize your name, or to be specific, your English name.

First, I have to say Greek alphabet is not as powerful as say the Cyrillic alphabet. There are some sounds which can be missing from English.

Second, there are several pronunciation systems in Greek, old and new, archaic and modern. So which one we use? Here I’m going to use the classic alphabet, because it covers more sounds that we have in English, and the diphthongs are more understandable. However, actually it doesn’t matter much which alphabet to use, because no matter which we pick, there are always ambiguity.

Now let’s take a look!

The following are the alphabet charts from Omniglot.

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PinLa Alphabet 拼拉字母

June 4, 2011 § Leave a comment


PinLa alphabet (Chinese: 拼拉字母) is the common name for Sinolatinographic ligature alphabet, in which Pin derives from Pin in Pinyin (拼音, the Chinese phonetic system) and La stands for Latin (拉丁) alphabet.

The idea comes from typographic ligature. I don’t want to make formal explanation of typographic ligature here, in which case you can get the answer from Wikipedia. I’ll just give you some examples.

in French: o + e = œ. Œuvre.

in Scandinavian languages: a + e = æ. Æsir.

in German: f + s = ß. Fußball.

in Dutch: i + j = ij (it’s one letter); IJsselmeer.

and in Chinese, they have: 草 + 泥 + 马 =

Then I started to think, if Latin letters can be composed with another letter to become a new one, and Chinese characters can be decomposed and recomposed into a hybrid, why can’t we make a combination of Chinese character + Latin letter. Then consider 艹 + C = ?

So…. here’s the outcome.



= A + 可.

可 appears in many words whose pronunciation is /a/ 阿 阿 呵 锕

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陆台词汇比对表 (Updating) How Much Does Vocabulary in Taiwan and Mainland China Differ?

May 19, 2011 § 2 Comments

陆台词汇比对表 (Updating…)
How Much Does Vocabulary in Taiwan and Mainland China Differ?

abbr. ML = Mainland TW = Taiwan

After hanging out with Taiwanese friends for a while, I started to pick up some words and phrases of Mandarin used in Taiwan. Having been living in mainland China for more than 20 years, I am quite a Mainlander. Even though both people in Taiwan and China speak Mandarin Chinese, misunderstanding between each other often happen in daily conversations. Many times I said a thing, and they couldn’t understand, then we switched to English; many times they said something and I hadn’t heard of it, then they took out the really thing, everything became clear. We call it this in mainland and you call it that in Taiwan. This isn’t a rare phenomena among the languages, similar things also happen, I guess, among the speakers of Hindi and Urdu, Malaysian and Indonesian, Serbian and Croatian, or more or less of British and American English, to name just a few.

Here below, I come out with a list of the different vocabulary used in these two regions, together with an English translation.

English                      ML                              TW
plastic                          塑料                             塑膠
weekends                    双休日                         六日
bus                                公交车                         公車
taxi/cab                      出租车/的士               計程車
single lens reflex      单反相机                     單眼相機
webcam                       摄像头                          鏡頭
primary school          小学                              國小
middle school            中学                              國中
sliced bread/toast     切片面包                     吐司
shrimp                          虾                                  蝦子
pineapple                     菠萝                              鳳梨
kiwi fruit                      猕猴桃                          奇異果
Koala                            考拉                              無尾熊
desk                               写字台                         書桌
one piece dress           连衣裙                          洋裝
sanitary pad               卫生巾                           衛生棉
prostate                       前列腺                           攝護腺
cyber café                    网吧                               網咖
laptop                           笔记本                           筆電
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The First Series of Icecubic Vowels – Five Base Vowel Letters

April 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

The First Series of Icecubic Vowels

Five Base Vowel Letters

Hey, mis amigos! Sorry for letting you waiting for so long. And I’m honored to announce the naissance of the first five base vowels, which are a-base, i-base, u-base, o-base, and e-base.

First, let’s take a look at how we defined the base vowels. Here goes the IPA chart for vowels.

IPA Chart Vowels

As shown in the chart.

i y ɨ ɪ ʏ belong to i-base;

u ɯ ʉ ʊ belong to u-base;

e ø ɘ ɛ œ ɜ ə belong to e-base;

o ɤ ɵ ɔ ʌ ɞ belong to o-base;

a ɶ æ ɒ ɑ ɐ belong to a-base.

Now I’m going to introduce the scripts of each of these five base vowels.


Default pronunciation[1]: /a/

Marine biological letter name[2]: Nautilae

English letter name: Nautilus

Icecubic letter: TBD

Evolvable pronunciations: /ɶ æ ɒ ɑ ɐ/

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简明纳美语语法 (Na’vi Grammar Chinese Version)

February 24, 2011 § Leave a comment



纳美语缺少像 [b] [d] [g] 那样的塞音,却有着像 [p’] [t’] [k’] 那样的挤气辅音,它们分别被写成 px、tx 和 kx。同时它也拥有像 ll he rr 这样的音节辅音。在纳美语中有7个元音:a ä e i ì o u。尽管在设计的时候都希望这些音能被作为人类的演员发出来,但是仍然存在一些不常见的辅音簇,如:fngap [fŋap] (金属)。

纳美语的音节最简单的可以是一个但音节元音,也可以是一个音节组如 skxawng(低能儿)或上面提到的 fngap(金属)。

我们的故事中的潘多拉星球的纳美语是没有文字的,但是《阿凡达》的创作团队为演员们创造了用拉丁字母记录纳美语的方式。让我们看一些例子:zìsìt(年), fpeio(仪式性挑战), nì’awve(第一)(’aw(一)), muiä(市), tiréa-ióang(灵物), tskxe(石), kllpxìltu(领土), unil-tìran-tokx(阿凡达,即梦行者)。



以及4个二合元音:aw [aw], ew [εw], ay [aj], ey [εj],两个音节辅音:ll [l̩] 和 rr [r̩],它们经常被当作元音。

注意:e 是开放中元音,而 o 是闭合中元音,并且不存在二合元音 oy。卷舌音 rr 比较浓烈,ll 是青软腭音而不是重软腭音,[ɫ̩]。

纳美语的元音可以连续地组成一个序列,就像在日语和波利尼西亚的众多语言中那样。其中的每个元音都被看作一个音节。所以单词 tsaleioae 有6个音节,[tsa.le.i.o.a.e];meoauniaea 有8个音节,[me.o.a.u.ni.a.e.a]。

纳美语的元音不分长短,也没有声调,但是却是存在重音的,如:túte(人), tuté(女人)。在此例当中,重音是可以根据词源派生出的不同形式而转移的(人派生女人),但重音不会随着词形的变化(名词的变格、动词的变位等)而变化。所以,举例来说,动词 lu(是,原型。相当于英语to be),不管它变位如何变化,重音还是跟着 u 音的:lolú(是,过去式。相当于英语was。lolu = l‹ol›u,其中 ol 表过去,插在 l 和 u 之间),lolängú(是(呃!),带负面情感的过去式。 lolängu = l‹ol›‹äng›u,其中 ol 表过去, äng 表负面情感)。如此等等。

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Bodgul (藏谚文/བོད་གུལ་)

February 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Bodgul (藏谚文/བོད་གུལ་)

Bodgul (Chinese: 藏谚文) was devised by Jasper Cai from iceCube Creative Studio as an alternative script for Mandarin Chinese, and can be developed to transcribe some other dialects of Chinese, for example, Wu, Min Nan and Cantonese, and also the languages using latin alphabets. It uses Tibetan alphabets as parts of the characters and combines them into syllabic signs.

The name of ‘Bodgul’ is combines of Bod and the the suffix -gul. Bod is the phonetical latin transcription of Tibet (Tibetan: བོད་; Chinese: 吐蕃/西藏). Gul derives from the Korean Hangul (Korean: 한글; Chinese: 諺文), which is also a phonetical system to transcribe speaking Korean by using special symbols derived from parts of Chinese characters. Gul (글) individually means script in Korean.

So the idea of Bodgul is to use Tibetan letters as special symbols, as those in Hangul, to transcribe Chinese words so that one can read by simply looking at the characters. It can be used to write the word in Chinese which one can not find a corresponding character. This happens more in dialects like Wu and Min Nan.

Notable features of Bodgul

  • Type of writing system: Alphabet
  • Direction of writing: From left to right in horizontal lines.
  • Words, not syllables unlike Tibetan, can be separated by a dot, but not necessarily.

The Tibetan alphabet



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Welcome to iceCube!

February 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

Welcome to iceCube!

iceCube Creative Studio is a web-based studio focused on icon/symbol design and constructed language. We discuss and design icons, symbols, patterns, logos and language scripts. We construct artificial languages for both artistic and linguistic or even commercial purposes. We would love to install our ideas into various creative industries e.g. artifacts, user interfaces, and hopefully into movies. We welcome new ideas!

Bienvenue à iceCube!

iceCube Creative Studio est un studio basé sur le Web, qui se concentre sur le design d’icône/symbole et la langue construite. Nous discutons et concevons des icônes, symboles, modèles, logos et écritures de langue. Nous construisons les langues artificielles pour l’intention artistique, linguistique ou même commerciale. Il nous plaise d’installer nos idées dans les industries diverses de la création, par exemple, les artefacts, interfaces, et nous espérons que dans les films. Nous adorons de nouvelles idées!

Willkommen bei iceCube!

iceCube Creative Studio ist ein web-basiertes Studio, des auf das Icon-/Symboldesign und konstruierte Sprache konzentriert. Wir diskutieren und entwerfen Ikone, Symbole, Muster, Logos und Sprache Skripte. Wir konstruieren künstliche Sprachen für künstlerische und sprachliche sowohl auch kommerzielle Zwecke. Wir würden uns freuen, unsere Ideen in verschiedenen Kulturwirtschaften z.B. Artefakte, Benutzerschnittstellen, und hoffentlich auch in Filmen einzubauen. Es freut uns über neue Ideen!






Know more about iceCube Creative!