Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What's in a Name?

I have 8 classes of Nursing English.  Of 200 students I have 6 male students...though a few female students have no qualms of taking male names.  Most were chosen by themselves, others have kept the name assigned to them by their high-school English teachers. As my Chinese is limited, I rely on these identities to know and call my students.  And also getting them accustomed to their new English-speaking personalities.

Fiona, Angel, Lishine (self invented), Kitty, Eleven, Reta, Hellon (to distinguish from the other Helen), Sophie, Yoni, Winter, Summer (sits next to Winter), Even, Cherry, S  (Just S, with a shade of gold to go with it), Yiko, Joyce, Coco, Remember, Winnie, Sky, Moon, Helen, Ben (m), Michelle, Vivian
Maggie, Yuki (I like Japanese things), Haze (not sure if she knows Cloudy), Nancy, CiCi, Mayday (inventive writer), Ray (I know),  Luby,  Crystal,  Cherry,  Grace,  Even,  Miki,  Tracy,  Flora,  Milly, Stephy, Candy, Alma, Cherry G., Sherry, Sandy, Andy (m), Cyndi, Angelina
Lena, Mandy, Jodie (low-profile standout), Edith, Cariol (anti-materialistic), Swallow, Summer, Mike (m, who in English Corner change his name to Stephane, but then never came back again), Jane, Jacky, Daisy, Cheryl, Cheery (Yes, I know), Cathy, Oliver (I like oliver Twist), DanNi, Tina, Tracy, Tammy, Over, Zoeta, Happy, Dycedra, Jocelyn (formerly Beata), Doris
Lina, Rebecca, lily, Nancy, Minnie, Emily, Rainbow, Forina, Shine, Sande, Angel, Tina, Kasy, Kasa, Prince, Lisy, Dream, Amy, Lucy, Suki, Emy (who wants to be called Cookie, and I just noticed in the books, so Cookie it will be from now on), Yuki, Mike (m), Sophie, Lina
Lucy, Kenny, Crystal, Ealine (who used to be called Chris, and was OK with the androgyny the first day, but then changed, possibly wanting Eileen, but here it is--she tells me she's happy everyday), Selena, Jenny, tracy, Page, Penny, Cloris, Jenifer, Jenny (who has the same facial architecture as my 4th uncle), Sara, Sinky, Anne, Shelly, Lily, Jane, Annie, Vicky, Adela, Yoki, Cloudy, Anna
This class always changes seats so it's hard for me to remember their names, though a distinct or bold choice of name is easy to recall.
Yodi, Sanny, Amy, Rain (always sits next to Sunny no matter what), Sunny, Toni, Kame, Cacao (yes I know it means chocolate), Eva, Lynn, Jenny, L (just L), Jan, Sky (used to sit next to Rain and Sunny), Satan (my friend gave it to me, yes I know, I keep it, though she uses an 'e' at the end of late (to feminize?) and is still pronounced the same), Vera, Yuki, Gisli (don't know nothing of J-lo), Cinderella, Ivon, Anna, Fantesy (m, sleeps lots), Fiylr (I made it), Jane
Stella, Yuki, Yvonne, Kiki, Sura, Sunddy (yes), Trista, July, Cathy, Ling, Julia, Strawberry (at Best Buy where I used to work, they called me Candy), Yellow, Cat, Tiffany, Camily, Vancy, Qute (o that's cute), Ivy, Millie, Yoyo, Tina, Wolf (m, changed from Jack), Vivian, Rebecca
Stephanie, Irene, Chris, Rechill (pronouced Rachel), May, Candy, Kiki, Angel, Sue, Kydin I made it), Joanna, Dora, Susan, Micky, Pinky, King (I know), Yoyo, Emily, Kelly, November (my birthday), Maple (it is sweet), Hellen, Jay (m, ultimate Shanghai Mullet, floppy, defying gravity), Sky

Even Winner, who works with me at the Lida Global Initiative, and was one of the first I met in Shanghai at the airport, asked me to give her a new name, a more formal name, that she could apply to programs with, that could be taken seriously.  I first suggested Faye, because it corresponded with her Chinese given name, but coupled with her family name, it sounded, in Chinese, like 'fat cow.'  So still wanting the 'f' sound and the 'n' sound, I thought of Ivana, which goes nicely with her last name.  What does it mean? she wonders.  It is the feminine form of Ivan, which was the name of many Kings in Russia and is popular in Eastern Europe. She is very gracious and formal at times, and she is hard working with self-determination.  Coming from the rural area of Shanxi and with a rounder personality due to the fact that she has siblings (more common outside of the city) she has global aspirations, wanting to succeed beyond the usual nurse's means. 

She is happy with her new name.  Others still call her Winner, cuz they are used to it.  I call her Ivana. It fits.

p.s.  'Obama' transliterated into Farsi means 'He is with us.'

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Blogger kristina wong said...

those names are adorable. i want a new name. i'll be "long island iced tea."

October 29, 2008 at 4:27 PM  
Blogger Soo-Jin said...

they all sound like plays. i resonate with "remember" "sky" all the nature names. "eleven" is cute too in a bladerunner way.

October 29, 2008 at 11:57 PM  
Blogger Leon said...

Hi Alice,

i ran into some interesting names in Taiwan.

Denver (he liked John Denver)
Francisco (for san fran)

i think you should start to promote cooler sounding names for our Chinese brethren:

Shaquille (can't believe i haven't seen that)

your cousin leon

October 31, 2008 at 7:20 PM  

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