speak chinese like a native

By any other name... (cross-posted)

Posted by frank July 24, 2007 in the Group General Discussion .

Hey, all! This is cross-posted from my blog here at ChinesePod, but I wanted to get the input of the folks who aren't making the Newbie blog a part of their daily websurfing.

Comments are more than welcome, and my apologies if you've seen this more than once. :-)

* * * 

Looking around here, I can’t help but wonder how some of my Western brethren come by their Chinese names. With someone like Ken (Kai En), it just a sound translation. Easy peasy. But others… I’m curious. Lantian? Bazza?

For example, I have a friend named Xiao Yun. Now, literally translated, her name means “Little Cloud.” And it got me to thinking that the Chinese have more in common with this country’s (America's) original inhabitants than I ever guessed! Watching Jackie Chan’s Shanghai Noon takes on a whole new level of humor now. They called him “Man Who Fights in a Dress.” Brilliant.

But now I’m starting to worry. Maybe I need to take matters into my own hands! I had always thought that someday, years from now when I was living in Shanghai and working at ChinesePod, somebody would give me a Chinese name over a few beers and we’d laugh about it. Of course, the more I think about it, the more I fear I’ll end up with a name that translates to “Receding Hairline,” or “Can’t Hold His Liquor.” Oh, the humanity!

So, talk to me, folks. Why take a Chinese name at all? Is it just to make things easier for our Chinese friends? Is it a peer pressure thing? Are all the cool kids doing it? If you’ve got one (and you’re not Chinese), how did you come by it?

Chime in! Thanks!

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