English Names

Okay, so, here’s the deal. English and Chinese, not so similar.

This makes things like learning names of neighborhoods and streets a very laughable occasion for a Chinese speaker listening to any of my conversations. I butcher it all, foods, places, Chinese provinces, but by the grace of God not the names of my students. 

Here we do English names. These are simple names that are completely unrelated to their Chinese names. For example, I have five year old whose names is Zhou Yuan. I call her Jo. It just rolls off the tongue so much easier. 

The other side of this, however, is that these names are usually chosen by the child. This turns into a giggle fest of interesting introductions. 

I have encountered plenty of perfectly normal sounding names. Phoebe, Rachel, Michelle, Sophie, Elaine, Katherine, Jenny, etc. David, Jacky, Lee, Tim. You get it. 


Then come the cutesy names. Cici, BiBi, YoYo, Nini, Mimi, Kitty, LuLu, Angel, FayFay. A little nauseating, but I can still say ’em.  Oh yeah, Candy, Annie, Lily ,Sunny .

Next are the names that just do not make sense. Yummy, Powl, (I don’t know) Pudding, Bubble, Cat, Panda, Dodo, I have stop myself from laughing when these kids (and some adults) tell me their names. we do our best to explain that these are not good names in English, but sometimes they just really like Pandas. 

Thanks for reading,



4 thoughts on “English Names

  1. David and I had a tour guide in Beijing whose name was Chanel, yes after the designer! She told us the story of how they got to pick their names in Jr. Hi. I thought Jr Hi might be a dangerous place to pick a name! It was a funny story!!

  2. I consider myself somewhat of a name expert and I must say, I do like Pudding. Except in the case where you might have to go by Pudd for short, that would just be silly. Hope all is well Audrey Holt.

  3. Some of us get nick names that are given to us because of past experiences. Thus I was given the name BooBoo because every time I was the lead bike on a trip I went the wrong direction and had to say I made a BooBoo and turn 5-11 motorcycles around and try again to get us to our destination. Now I use it as a screen name and many other ways because it has grown on me. Enjoy those weird names because those will be the ones you will always remember.

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