Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Wandering Misfit: Part 17 ... what's in a name?

     I know that I have been jumping around a bit lately and not really following any sort of order. I gets hard to write in any kind of sequence, every time I tell a little bit of the story I get caught up in memories it brings back and tend to get sidetracked.

     Because of that I am going to just try and stick to a single theme for each post from now on and avoid the issue of when things happened altogether.

     Today I wanted to talk about names. I said before that the T.A.s all had English names tomake it easier on us foreigners. For the same reason every time a new student came into the school they were also given an English name if they hadn't already chosen one.

     A lot of the time parents would choose English style names for their kids. Unfortunately this often ended up creating some pretty cringe worthy names. I remember one poor 6 year old boy I had whose mother decided his name should be Seven. Yep, she called her kid a number, should have seen the look on the poor kids face every time someone asked "What's your name and how old are you?".

     Some other strange names came into the mix. Because almost all characters in Chinese are made up of a consonant followed by one or more vowels names that end in a vowel sound are very popular. At one point I had 2 Cindys, 2 Lilys and a Candy all in the same class.

     Aside from names ending in y or a vowel certain other names are incredibly popular too. For a while I had 7 different students named Angel in only 11 classes (about 100 or so kids). Summer, Sunshine and other similar names are a perennial favourite for girls too.

     Boys tend to have a wider array of "acceptable" names but that doesn't stop names like Tom and Harry dominating. Boys are also not immune from the stranger names that evolve, with names like Tiger, Putin and Severus all amongst my former students.

     Even the T.A.s come up with the occasional weird moniker, you'd think their knowledge of English would help them know better. Names such as Purple ("because it's my favourite colour") and Coco spring to mind for the girls. Meanwhile the male staff seemed determined to be ridiculed by the foreign teachers picking such wonders as Chicken and Panda.

     Overall names and naming were a great past-time and source of amusement for us. That's not to say that some foreign teachers didn't give out some weird names of their own.

   Rory McDonald is an online marketer and digital entrepreneur, co-founder of the Online Business Expert and passionate blogger. 

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