Chinese pick names to better fit in

Vivian Chen Liyi, Staff Writer

Walking down the halls in the Living and Learning Center, more international names show up on the doors.

Jiameng is one of those names.

Shan Jiameng (in Asia, family, or last, names go first), a Chinese sophomore, showed her collection of books about China in English and French.

On the cover, a young Chinese lady, is dressed in classical Asian style, holding a black, shiny tea jar, with the word “Modern” in English at the top.

Shan introduced herself with her English name, Rona. She said she needed it for English class and she thought it was cool to have an English name.

“My elementary English teacher gave me this name. It has a long history and means ‘angel,’” said Shan. “She said I was cute and looked like an angel. The name is not common.”

Like Shan, many international students said they have their English name because they want to fit more easily into local culture.

Han Niyun, a Chinese sophomore, said she has the English name Freda because its pronunciation is easier for foreigners.

“Two years ago, when I was studying aboard in Germany, I felt I needed an English name so that it would be easier for my teachers and friends to pronounce my name,” said Han.

“I love German culture and I found out the name Freda had a German origin. I made the decision (to use Freda as her English name).”

Deng Min, a Chinese freshman, said having an English name helps her to be friends with Americans because it is easier for them to remember. She chose the name April because it is pretty in Chinese poems.

As American culture became more globalized, many students chose their English name from American TV series and movies.

Wuguan Shaochen, a Chinese sophomore, said he got his English name, Stan, from the TV show South Park.

“In South Park, there is a cute guy called Stan,” said Wuguan. “I like the name also for its similar sound as my first name.”

Shi Fenghao, a Chinese freshman, said his English name, Andy, comes from his favorite movie, The Shawshank Redemption’s, main character.

Some students said they chose their English names for what the names mean.

Lv Yifeng, a Chinese senior, said he uses Dolphin as his English name because he likes dolphins.

Sun Ke, a Chinese sophomore, said she uses Silver as her English name because she has a silver bracelet that is meaningful.

Ding Wenhao, a Chinese freshman, said he chose Daniel as his English name after his English teacher helped him research the popular names.

“I chose Daniel because it starts with the same letter as with my family name.”

Like Ding, many Chinese students said they would consider names that are similar to their Chinese name.

Xu Yan, a Chinese freshman, said she thought Yuki is a good choice because it is easy for Americans to pronounce.

“Actually it is a Japanese name,” said Xu. “I figured it is not common and it shares the letter Y as my given name.”

Still, many Chinese students use their names in Chinese Pinyin form as their       English name.

Wang Yuanping, a Chinese freshman, said she decided to use Ping as her English name when one of her professors told her Ping was easy to remember.

Hao Wenbin and Liurui Xingchen, both from China, said they are more comfortable with their given name.

Shan said Chinese names are more meaningful to Chinese students.

“Indeed an English name is easy to remember, and I like to call my friends by their English names when we are in America,” said Shan. “However, I still use Chinese names a lot because they are more meaningful to us.”

“Not each letter has its own meaning, but each Chinese character has its own meaning. For example, in my name, Jia means good and pretty and Meng means partnership.

“Moreover, they (Chinese names) are the names we received when we are born.”

“My marketing professor, Dr. Skip (George Glenn), said he would not call me by my English name. He said, ‘I will just call you Jiameng because Jiameng has meaning to you, and Rona makes no sense,’” said Shan.