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June & Judy

My friend, June, and her boyfriend, Judy, have English names. They selected the names themselves. Such is the plight of self selection of English names.

In Chinese, names can be nouns, adjectives or adverbs. It’s common to see names containing the characters for flower ??strong ??plum ?, red ?, great ?, ten-thousand ?, small ? and so on. When we were searching for our Chinese names, everyone told us to just look up different characters in a dictionary. No baby-name-book necessary.

Chinese students of English default to the same method when picking their English names…they use the dictionary. Thus, names such as Eraser, Echo, Smile, Rain, Cherry, Lucky, and Peach become the norm. We’ve also met 2 friends who were “Satan” and “Angel”. Interesting friendship.

Foreign teachers with 500+ students also sometimes run out of English names and have to use those less common names: Thorn, Camelot, Windsor, etc.

It is an honor to give someone a name. For Judy (the boy), I recommended:

  • Blake
  • Kaleb
  • Ethan (which would be mispronounced as “Esan”)
  • Peter
  • Nigel
  • Alex (which sounded “very strong”)

For June, I recommended:

  • Camille
  • Candace
  • Kia
  • Mandy
  • Nicole

Kaleb & Kia were the winners.

1 comment to June & Judy

  • When we taught in China, I remember having students with the following names – Eagle, Secretary, Hamlet, Little Pig, Apple.. and lots of ‘older’ sounding names, like Edna, Ina, Fanny etc. There were also plenty of boys named Jack and girls named Rose, which I figured was because of the movie Titanic, which was a big hit in China! I remember being so excited when asked by some students to name them – consequently I ended up with students with the names of all my best friends (Claire, Kelly, Liz, Karen, Emily). Glad I didn’t teach any little Satans though!

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