January 19th, 2019, 2:00 pm
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May 23rd, 2019, 1:43 am
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January 23rd, 2019, 7:10 am
I felt some dissonance when hearing "ah-" and "-sensei" in sentences next to each other...

- Aren't "ah-" part being Chinese, while "-sensei" being Japanese?
- Which language granny was speaking in-story?
- Or she just switched language when she talked to Huang?
- In the city that Haku's apothecary resides in, which language(s) is(/are) commonly used in conversation?
January 24th, 2019, 12:20 am
@WindowMaker: Thank you for noticing that! Apologies for a long answer because this will probably make sense only if we share the same background...

I modeled their environment after Taiwan - or I should say part of, because it has a long, complicated history of colonization by the Dutch, Portuguese, Japanese and Han Chinese - with the political context taken out. At home my family speaks a mix of Mandarin, Hokkien ("A-") and Japanese ("sensei", "-san"), using whatever vocab that is most accurate. This is common in Taiwan, especially for families who have elders raised in the Japanese days. Nicknames with the structure "A-" + <Mandarin/Hokkien name> + <Japanese honourifics> are not uncommon.

The word I actually wanted to use, though, was 老師 (teacher), but I didn't want to transliterate it since it's not a familiar word for English speakers, nor translate it to "teacher" because it doesn't include the meaning of doctor/master in English like it does in Mandarin, which would make it a weird way to call a herb shop owner. "Master" is not really suitable for someone his age either imo. So sensei it is... I'll come back to edit it if I find a better word.

(I've been trying to stick to Mandarin and Hokkien otherwise; originally Haku was supposed to refer to Huang with -san.)

Since it's mostly a translation issue, in additional to that I want to take the real life politics out, I'm probably not going to explain it in the story/context of their world. Their world is not ours so I can't really say which language(s) they're speaking, and it won't matter if they're speaking 1 or 3 anyway (plot-wise), so please interpret it as you like.

p.s. The buildings in their city are also a mix of Minnan, Japanese and Dutch styles (although much hasn't been shown yet lol), just like how it is in Taiwan. The appearance of the street where Haku's shop is located is based on an old street in Penghu.