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Say I have a word in English "fooboo". What if I want it to be pronounced in Chinese as "fooboo" as well? My first attempt is to search in pinyin for "fu" and "bu". Fu gives results like 副 and 付. Bu gives results like 不 and 部. So could I just make it be 付不 or 副部? Or does sound get assigned to characters independent of any character building blocks? That is, how do I associate sounds with some characters? Maybe instead of searching for the pinyin sound, I find two characters, and then say this is "fooboo". Is that acceptable? For example, maybe 事变 is "fooboo", even though the components are shì and biàn.

  • You've just asked a sequence of questions which I think would be better directed towards Linguistics StackExchange, replacing "Chinese" with "another language". There are some misconceptions about how languages and writing systems work in your questions. – dROOOze Jan 3 at 7:10
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Quote:- "Maybe instead of searching for the pinyin sound, I find two characters, and then say this is "fooboo". Is that acceptable? For example, maybe 事变 is "fooboo", even though the components are shì and biàn"

Yes, if you are a, say, Martian, landed (randomly), in China and wish to use the Chinese characters to depict the sounds of the Martian language, and completely disregard the original Chinese meanings of the words chosen.

I am being serious here because this was what happened in Japan when the Japanese took the Chinese characters, pronounced them in Japanese sounds, and in some cases even the meanings changed.

So, perhaps in Martian, "fooboo" means "I come in Peace", and chose the Chinese characters 事变, and give it the pronunciation of fooboo.

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Yes, 付不 or 副部 would sound similar to fooboo.

No, 事变 would only be read shibian.

Also, 付不 or 副部 would carry their associated meanings from the characters themselves. "付不" would be something like "are you gonna pay for it or not?" While "副部" would be something like "vice-department." So you need to pay attention to what the characters might mean as well.

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  • So how do I get a specific sound to a desired meaning? Is it possible? – Lance Pollard Jan 3 at 7:39
  • You can do what you did before: searching characters for with a specific Pinyin sound. After you have your characters then you can just look at each characters meaning and see which fits your needs. Alternatively you could look at meaningless onomatopoetic characters which would provide a sound w/o any associated meaning. – Mo. Jan 3 at 7:43
  • @LancePollard in Chinese, one pronunciation may correspond to several characters, and every character has its own meanings, but these meanings are probably not the meaning you are searching for. – Huang Jan 3 at 9:17
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There are a lot of words which are transliterated from English to Chinese already, for example, 巧克力(Chocolate), 咖啡(coffee), 卡通(cartoon) etc. However, you, as a random person, is not powerful enough to create a word like that. Nowadays I think there're two main streams of transliterated words: 1) internet and 2) global companies' branding

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