English names: practical or just pretentious?

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Re: English names: practical or just pretentious?

Postby ādikarmika » 03 Feb 2012, 10:25

Zla'od wrote:(Is there a TongYong Wylie I can blame?)

Well, apart from Wylie, there's:
(1) the ACIP system;
(2) the Extended Wylie system (Uni of Virginia);
(3) the Chinese system of converting Tibetan to Roman via Chinese characters; (Don't get me started!)
(4) the other system that was in use before Wylie, and which still seems to be favoured by the Japanese (dunno what it's called).

But AFAIK, the only time you'll see "k" at the end of syllable is in the "system" used by Indian government officials who write down Tibetan names as they hear them pronounced by Tibetans themselves (regardless of regional pronunciation differences).

Example:
INDIAN OFFICIAL: Aapka naam kya hai? (What's your name?)
TIBETAN REFUGEE: rdo rje phun tshog
(INDIAN OFFICIAL writes: "Dorjee Pinsok").
INDIAN OFFICIAL: OK, apane ID card le lo. (OK, take your ID card.)

Perhaps you can blame them.



Zla'od wrote:According to the time-honored customs of Indo-Tibetan debate, I must now convert to your religion.

That won't be necessary. It will sufficient to convert to Wylie.
Actually, that won't be necessary either. Like most things nowadays, you can get some software to do it for you.
the moon's too bright, the chain's too tight, the beast won't go to sleep
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Re: English names: practical or just pretentious?

Postby Zla'od » 06 Feb 2012, 09:19

Bap re bap!

NEPALI OFFICIAL: Tapaiko subhanam ke ko...? Ramro! (writes "Chin ko nagarik" and thinks "baksheesh")

3) the Chinese system of converting Tibetan to Roman via Chinese characters; (Don't get me started!)


This is actually interesting to me--I've seen it in use, but never seen a full list of standardized character equivalents. According to their system I should be 達奧 or 達歐, hence Da Ao or Da Ou. Hui people have a different system whereby they use both a Chinese name and an unrelated Muslim name, but which can also be rendered into characters following a standard system.
“If a bodhisattva resides as a householder and there appears a woman who is clearly unbound to anyone, habituated to sexual indulgence, attracted to the bodhisattva and seeking sexual activities, the bodhisattva having seen this thinks, 'Do not make her mind upset, producing much misfortune. If she pursues her desire, she will obtain freedom. As expedient means [upaya] I will take her in and have her plant the roots for virtue, also having her abandon unwholesome karma. I will engage in impure activities [abrahma-carya] with a compassionate mind.' Even practising such defiled activities like this, there is nothing that is violated [precepts], and much merit will be produced." -- from the Yogācārabhūmi Śāstra

For even more saucy Buddhist scripture, see http://sdhammika.blogspot.tw/2010/08/st ... m-all.html
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Re: English names: practical or just pretentious?

Postby SauLan » 06 Feb 2012, 22:30

Angry Tibetan Girl has a humorous post on meeting a little Tibetan girl who called herself "Sandy," and how unusual it was. I hadn't thought about it, but it's true, no Tibetans I know use an English name whereas almost all the Chinese do. Hmong kids use almost exclusively Hmong names.

In HK growing up it was just the norm to have two names, but it seemed to be totally individual preference as far as which one you were known by.
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Re: English names: practical or just pretentious?

Postby Blaquesmith » 24 Aug 2012, 12:15

I think that if your parents gave you a name, you should wear it with pride. That's why I always call my wife by her name, not the spanish name she chooses to use (even her taiwanese friends call her by that name).

Also, I don't know why should anyone call me by a name that is not mine. I don't give a sh*t if it's difficult to pronounce. It's MY name. And I agree that someone who will be talking with me only for 5 minutes can have problems with it, but people that usually have to speak to me could try at least to do the effort, instead of branding me with some name.

My name is Oriol. My wife's family decided at first that it was very similar to "Oreo", so they began to call me "餅乾" (cookie). Before I killed someone, I had to INSIST that they changed this way of calling me to "五六" (wu-liu, five-six), because it SOUNDED more similar to my name as is pronounced in catalan. I know the chinese have problems with the "R" and with the final "L", but it's a good compromise.

At least, I'm not asking them to pronounce my family names (Ferrerons Manich).

I think everyone should at least make the effort to call a person by his real name. Nicknames are fine for fighter jet pilots, school kids and entertainers. Otherwise I think they sound ridiculous.
"Roda el món i torna al Born!" - famous saying from Barcelona.
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Re: English names: practical or just pretentious?

Postby mei0319 » 24 Aug 2012, 13:12

Those who say one should stick to your real name to show respect to your heritage may not realize it is just easier for everyone involved. Not using my complete Chinese name in the US, which is quite hard to pronounce, doesn't say much about me being pretentious. Imagine you have to keep saying your name in various classes, and correcting it when it sounds off, it's a lot of work. Mei (pronounce May, like the month) is only the first character of my given name. It's not really me when I am back in Taiwan. I've never used it with my family or close friends. But it works so much better when I was a student and later an employee in the US. I highly recommend who has a difficult-to-pronouce Chinese name make an easy name up when you are in an English speaking country. I had such a great time in my undergrad college, I grew to love my English-sounding name, it is the other me, not less or more. It depends on what language you speak, I don't mind to accommodate. I also speak Japanese, and my Japanese name is Me-i. You need to say it like you mean it, stress a bit at the end.
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Re: English names: practical or just pretentious?

Postby hansioux » 24 Aug 2012, 14:40

Most English speaking people without learning other languages or IPA can't pronounce Mandarin sounds like ʈʂ, ʈʂʰ, ʂ, ts or tsʰ

Then English in general isn't pronounced how its spelt. So ang, and other vowels gets miss pronounced.

The spelling of my name includes Tz and Hs, which when handed to an average English speaker means they'd get stuck for a minute each, staring at those two syllables while holding the paper so tight they paper is about to be ripped into two. At my graduation, my school cme up with a way to deal with the problem, they asked every student to spell out how they think their name should be pronounced. So I replaced Tzu with Zee and Hs with S, and I thought no one can mess up my name now. Boy was I wrong...

Anyway, for a person born with Chinese names, I have a hard time considering the romanized spelling of my name as "my name". Because you get no meaning from the romanized versions, where as seeing Hanji version of my name you immediately can associate what the name is supposed to mean. On some level, East Asian names are more about the meaning rather than how it sounds.

Finally, historically, Chinese speaking people who bothered to learn an European language usually also converted to Christian religions, and given "Christian names". They do that because being a christian or whatever religion makes it even more acceptable for Europeans back then to do business with them. So regardless whether they really believe or not, they have Christian names. Example, the famous pirate and father of Koxinga (Zheng Cheng-Kong or the dude that kicked out the Dutch from Taiwan) is named Zheng Zhi-long (aka I-Guan) is known to the west as Nicholas Gaspard, or Iquan.

On top of that, historically, a Chinese speaking person back then usually has more than 3 names. Given-name, childhood names so that evil can't take the kid away by knowing his really name, a artistic name (Zi), and when one becomes famous they usually change their given name. Plus, usually their name in dialect sounds different from Mandarin.

So in the end, sometimes it's a little hard to care what you are called.... as long as all parties understand who the name refers to. Maybe that's why the tradition of assigning English names at school got started.

though I think if Taiwanese stayed the lingua franca of Taiwan, names will be easier to pronounce for English speaking people and maybe the English name tradition shouldn't have lasted so long.
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Re: AW: English names: practical or just pretentious?

Postby Hellstorm » 20 Jan 2013, 17:34

The weirdest thing is that I have never seen a Chinese student in Germany use an „English“ or „German“ name before. I guess they realize that we don't really accept a name like „Margarethe“ for something who doesn't look like Margarethe.
Therefore they go with Xiaolan or Jinyu or Peng or whatever, and everybody is fine with that.
I don't think its more difficult to remember Chinese names than e.g. Japanese ones. The problem is only that if you hear an English name of the same person, the brain inadvertently makes the English one so strong that it is hard to use the other one.

But after all, no one has problems to remember Mao Zedong. So no problem with other people as well.
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Re: AW: English names: practical or just pretentious?

Postby tomthorne » 20 Jan 2013, 17:52

Hellstorm wrote:The weirdest thing is that I have never seen a Chinese student in Germany use an „English“ or „German“ name before. I guess they realize that we don't really accept a name like „Margarethe“ for something who doesn't look like Margarethe.
Therefore they go with Xiaolan or Jinyu or Peng or whatever, and everybody is fine with that.
I don't think its more difficult to remember Chinese names than e.g. Japanese ones. The problem is only that if you hear an English name of the same person, the brain inadvertently makes the English one so strong that it is hard to use the other one.

But after all, no one has problems to remember Mao Zedong. So no problem with other people as well.


What do people who were born in Germany but have Chinese parents call themselves? Are they expected to keep Chinese names even though they are German?
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Re: AW: English names: practical or just pretentious?

Postby Hellstorm » 20 Jan 2013, 19:32

No. This is a little bit weird, actually.
For job reasons, I think it is highly advisable to give your child a German name. If you have a Turkish, Chinese etc. name, it will be harder to find a job. But this is for children who were born in Germany.

I should rather define the "does not look like" as a more complete package, with the accent, the mastering of the language etc. If someone speaks native level German, it is no problem to have a German name. It just sounds weird if you cannot speak good German but have a name like Thomas or Sabrina or something like that.

Concerning what parents actually name their children: thats up to the parents, I think. Some people still name their children not in a German way (especially Turkish people), but others do. Or they give them two first names, that's also acceptable.

But you can look Asian or black and have a German name without any problem. Our economics minister is actually a vietnamese boat child, who has a completely German name (Philipp Rösler), because he was adopted by a German family. This poses absolutely no problem and is not considered as weird. Only if a Chinese or Taiwanese student only attending university would replace his official name with a nickname, it would sound weird.
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