Friday, January 11, 2008

About names... again

I think about names a lot (hence one of my other blogs, The Name Warehouse), so anything to do with names AND China is going to get my attention. On the Eastern Journey blogged about Chinese people using English names last year, and then when Nancy shared the link to the video below I thought it might be timely to write an entry too.

When we taught in China our students mostly had English names. They really did it to make life easier for the foreign teachers. Many of them were given their English name by their elementary school English teacher (often a Chinese national who has never conversed with a native English speaker) from the back of some book from the 1950s. Consequently a great number of our students had names reflective of that era. Other students chose their own name based on famous westerners or movie characters, or they used a dictionary and picked something with a useful meaning.

I had a student who named himself Little Pig. Others were self-named Apple, Secretary, Hamlet and Eagle. Marking the attendance roll was fun, especially when someone would forget their English name. I remember a guy in my class had a girlfriend in one of Aaron's classes, and when I asked him who, he had no idea of her English name - and we had no idea of hers or anyone else's Chinese name!

This clip about English names in China made me smile, hope you enjoy it too! Long live Samanfar!

(In other news, I could have done the interviewing in this video! I understand and can speak just about all the Chinese that's used! It's pretty basic, but I guess I'm progressing!)


OziMum said...

That is fantastic!! I love it!!

Kristen said...

Love it! Made me smile! I personally like Smacker!

Kristen said...

When I clicked here and looked up... I thought I had already commented!!!

I'd seen that before somewhere... but it cracked me up again!! Funny stuff!

Blondie said...

Brilliant! Well posted.