What’s in a name?

Shakespeare says that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and although he’s right about that, I think it would lose some of its appeal if it was called an ox, or a fork, or a seat.  It’s just not doing it for me.  Wake up and smell the forks.  See what I mean?  Names are important.

In our job, Nick and I have had the privilege of picking English names for some of our students.  This is a fun part of our job, but it also carries some pressure, I mean some of these kids will use these English names for the rest of their lives.  Other kids will change their names five times in the course of their school years alone.  Take Eagle for instance.  Last year his name was Summer, he comes back for school and says his name is now Eagle (even though he can’t spell it).  We think he got tired of hearing “Summer!” from the teachers.  Unfortunately, the name change did not help change his behavior, and next year he’ll be tired of hearing “Eagle!” and change his name yet again.

Picking English names is kinda fun.  We try not to just pick names willy-nilly, but instead try to find something that sounds like their Chinese name.  So we’ll listen to their Chinese name a few times and then pick something that has a similar sound in it.  This way it’s easier for them to remember and say (which is helpful for students who don’t know English very well).  Of course, every once in a while we’ll come across a name like Cake, Ocean, Pink, Boots, Wacy, or Doraemon, and those get us giggling each time.

It’s the same way with us.  For our banking and other important things, we need Chinese names.  Our co-workers picked names that sound like our English names.  It’s quite fun and I feel special having a Chinese name.  I’m sure you’re wondering what they are, so I’ll be kind and share them with you!  Olivia- 孫麗薇 (Sun Li wei) Nick- 孫尼克 (Sun Nicka)


We are currently teaching an evening class of adult postal workers.  We also had the privilege of giving some of them English names.  We suggested Vincent to one man, and he seemed to like it until another man brought up Vincent Van Gogh and the fact that he was crazy and cut off his ear.  Needless to say, Vincent is now Paul. 🙂

Categories: Education, Fun Stuff, FYI, Taiwan | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. Clay

    You never told us you had Chinese names. Now I’m dying to know and hear your Chinese names. No more holding out on us.

  2. Belva Bowers

    Your name would be Olivia Forks Johnson! That has a whole new meaning!!!

  3. Michael Johnson

    The first sentence–in the fact this whole post–is a whoot! You made me laugh. You could be really mean when you give kids names such as “stinker” or “lopsided” or “pain” or … ; ) I love you both. Thank you for making me laugh!!!! 🙂

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