Sunday, July 22, 2007

Great Chinglish Names (Vol 3)

I have written before about the proliferance of unusual English names in Shanghai, but it still never ceases to amuse me. It is pretty much the norm that most kids and young adults in Shanghai have an English name (just as I have a Chinese name). These English names are not official names but rather something chosen for the students by their parents, English teachers and sometimes by themselves.

As with names in all cultures, the English names here reflect popular culture. As such there are a lot of Kittys (of the 'Hello Kitty' fame), Mickeys and Minnies (Mouse, of course). Some names get even more inventive with creative spelling, or even miss-spellings that become the norm, for example Anmily and Samul (instead of Emily/Amelie and Samuel.

I have been here so long now that I usually barely batt an eyelid when marking new names into the student rolls. However last Wednesday I just couldnt help but laugh.

I had a new student join my English class, and his name is Peter. Now we already have one Peter in the class, and in order to be able to differentiate between them I asked him his family name.

"Pan," he replied, straight-faced.

Yep, that's right, his name is Peter Pan.

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