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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Naming Yourself

I teach English at a school for adults here in Shanghai. Most of the students have an English name that they have used since long before they became English students. It seems to be the custom in China for people to adopt an English name in addition to their Chinese name. Since many Chinese people deal with English speakers regularly, it just makes things easier for everyone. Most people choose "normal" names, like Amy or Barry, but some people get creative with names like Sugar or Eunice.

In Vietnam it was different. Only students of English had English names, & many of those were chosen by their foreign teachers. Some students mocked the system by naming themselves Superman or Cinderella. In business, however, Vietnamese people use their Vietnamese name, even when dealing with English speakers. They don't want English names. It's not their real name.

When I go to the post office or the bank, they sometimes ask me if I have a Chinese name. I've tried to think of a good name to use, but haven't come up with anything that I can remember long enough to tell anyone about it. I think I'll just stick with Nancy. It's easier for everyone.


Gantry York said...

For your vietnamese name: Ngan
For your chinese name: Yangtze

They sound similar.

Gantry York said...

Here is a tool to help.