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lysw212

What English name should I adopt (based on my Chinese one)?

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irishbob

hey im not from the US, but here's what i think as a fellow english speaker, hope it helps!

Mikko - sounds a bit strange, like a girl's name

Ingo - again, never heard this before, very unusual

Lucien - this name has a bad connotation maybe because its so close to "Lucifer" (Devil)

Dylan - this is probably the most ordinary name, quite a nice name with no negative meanings, i think this one would be best.

hope this has helped!

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imron
Mikko - sounds a bit strange, like a girl's name

Quite a few Finnish men would probably strongly disagree with you - it's a common guy's name in Finland :mrgreen:

To the OP, if you want an English name that seems more exotic and less common, why not just go with an anglicised version of your Chinese name? (which you didn't mention BTW). It'll probably cause less confusion than choosing a non-English/non-Chinese name as your "English" name.

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necroflux

I agree with all of irish bob's points, especially on Lucien lol - that's the name of the werewolf character in Underworld - so yeah, not the best of connotations there. :)

Mikko strikes me as very female sounding, at least in the US - since that's where you are coming I suppose it's pertinent.

真果..真果.. The best I could come up with is Jonah - it's still a decently common name, sounds close, and almost rhymes. Jerry and Junior would work but are "old person" names as far as I'm concerned. . Jason/Jared/Jeremy are other options. :)

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smalldog

It's good that you're putting some thought into it! I know a girl who's been in the UK for 6 months and I've recently had to explain why men give her a funny look whenever she says her name is Swallow! Many Chinese come to the UK with an "English" name and then spend years trying to lose it in favour of their real Chinese name.

Why have an "English" name? It's cool in China, but when you're outside China it's just a source of confusion and embarassment.

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lysw212

Thanks for the comments so far. Actually, I didn't want an English name (maybe in China just for fun, but definitely not in the US) at all, but it'll be very difficult for people to call me by my Chinese name as you can imagine.

In short, I don't like the idea of assuming an "identity" (unlike in China, where an English name is merely a name--not really important) of which later might lead people to perceive me in a certain kind of way.

I want to be able to express my individuality in an ingenious way, but somehow I feel that the current state of the society as a whole is not that open-minded, especially in the case where there're foreigners involved. By adopting an English name seems to be an attempt for most outsiders to become more assimilated or "fit in", but in my opinion, it only adds irony to the matter at hand.

One way to compromise the situation would be to change the original pronounciation a little so it sounds and may be spoken more naturally by the native speakers. Of course, this can also be extended to include other pronounciations in Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese) that may not be as difficult for non-native speakers.

From a native English speaker's point of view, do you think there might be any troubles involved in either the pronounciations or connotations for the following list of names:

Zen (either pronounced as it is in Mandarin or English)

Jan (Cantonese version of "Zhen", or "jian" in Mandarin)

Shin (Japanese version of "Zhen", or "xin" in Mandarin)

Go (pronounced as in the word "GORgeous")

And what about some other pronounciations that exist in Chinese of which might not be as hard for most native English speakers? Here are some from my perspective:

Tao

Yan

Jia

I truly appreciate your comments or suggestions!

[email protected]

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BFC_Peter

While I understand why people do it, I'm with smalldog and wannabrafreak and prefer that people stick with their own names - my wife has used an English name from before I met her but I never use it (unless I'm speaking to people who know her by it, and don't think that it's not her real name).

When my step-daughter moved to the UK last year, she was adamant that she wouldn't use an English name which pleased me, but in the past week she has decided on one (but again I won't ever use it).

I think for most people it doesn't make much difference, other than you make it easier for them to say your name, and the first question that the people who want to know more about you will ask is 'what is your real name'!

I think the reason that people identify certain characteristics with certain names are largely due to when the name is/was popular, but as with everything else what was popular once ends up coming back into popularity after a couple of generations. Although, I guess some names can be linked to a particular class (???algernon=upper, sandra/tracy=lower???) but if you stick to popular names I think you should avoid most of these.

I find the practice (often used by celebs) of 'inventing' new names in an attempt to seem cool quite ridiculous and incredibly pretentious. I'm sure that most times these names do not catch on.

I would suggest looking for a web site that shows popular boys/girls names (I have seen 2 or 3 in the past, and they've covered different countries particularly the USA) and look in the eras that you were born and select a name from that list.

To get round the fact that your name might be difficult for the average American to pronounce then how about coming up with a memorable way for them to remember how to say it -

for example:

jacktoe - jack as in beanstalk and toe as in foot?

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atitarev

Dont' change your name

I also agree with other posters - stick to your original Chinese name, if someone can't pronounce or can't remember - it's their problem, not your. It's a havit with many Chinese people to acquire an English name but look at Indians or Sri Lankans - they normally don't adapt or change their names, no matter how long they. Educated people should have know problem remembering your name, although they won't use tones and pronounce it slightly different. My Russian first name is Anatoli and I live in Australia - I teach everyone how to pronounce my name and patiently spell it out on the phone. Your name is shorter, you should never be shy of your name.

Word order

Another thing - in Western countries people prefer to call and to be called by their first name in most cases, in China you prefer the full name (surname + first name). It's up to you, if you prefer to be called by full name, you just introduce yourself like this, you don't have to Westernise (change order, e.g.: Zhen Guo to Guo Zhen) but it could be a bit confusing for people who don't know the Chinese way and because some people do change the order putting the first name in front of the last name, like they do in English speaking countries. In Russia, we don't have a strict order surname+ first name or vice versa, it depends on style and situation. If I were you I would choose, which order and then stick to it.

Just change the first name, if you wish

By the way, in case you DO want to change to English, if your first name is Guo (which sounds like KAW to an English speaker but no aspiration), so why not Cory Zhen? You will keep your easy to-remember last name.

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DrinkDrankDrunk
Zen (either pronounced as it is in Mandarin or English)

Jan (Cantonese version of "Zhen", or "jian" in Mandarin)

Shin (Japanese version of "Zhen", or "xin" in Mandarin)

Go (pronounced as in the word "GORgeous")

And what about some other pronounciations that exist in Chinese of which might not be as hard for most native English speakers? Here are some from my perspective:

Tao

Yan

Jia

How about Rico, as in Rico Suave? :mrgreen:

What is your last name? We'll make sure that there will be no funny business. You know, such as Seymour Wang. There's a picture floating around the internet with a kid named Dat Ho as well, and I'm sure you'll want to avoid these pitfalls.

You should be looking for a name that is unique yet transparent in your preferred pronounciation to native speakers so that you do not need to correct them every time; something that, after 14 years, I still battle with. It is really difficult to get drunk chicks to pronounce my name right.

Zen elicits a sense of asian tranquility, probably due to its connotations in Buddhism and interior decorating.

Jan will be pronounced as in JANuary or JANet, probably not what you had in mind.

Shin reminds me of the corresponding body part or the band.

Go will never be pronounced as you intended, and the term Go-Go has raunchy undertones...

Dylan is a rare yet pronounceable name.

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mind_wander

lysw212,

Hi, I am an Asian-American from the US, well even if you do have an English name, it doesn't matter, if you look Asian, then most likely people will look at you. It isn't your name pronouncation, it is because people are not open-minded in the wide diversity of Asians around here.

I also, got a good English name Sam, which holds meaning in the bible, but people thinkings I came from China; in reality I am a US citizen.

Someone posted Jonah, as a nice name, it is unique & easy to pronounce.

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Xiao Kui

lysw212,

This is off the subject, but I'm a native speaker of English and your written English is better then mine, darn near perfect, especially for someone who hasn't studied abroad yet. If your spoken English is anywhere as good as your written English, you're going to make a great impression.

I agree with previous posters - Jonah sounds like the best suggestion so far. Jonah was a guy in the Bible who was eaten by a fish and lived to tell about it. But despite this little incident his name has survived as an excellent one.

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mind_wander

I do agree, my English writting, isn't great, but comprehendable to read. Some grammer problems, but the most important as long I got the point across.

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Lu

It's not really necessary to change your name, as atitarev says, but I can imagine that it gets tiresome at some point to always need to say your name twice and spell it out over the phone. I even get that in my own country, when I went abroad and met a lot of foreign people I took an English name just to be rid of that. So, even though it's not really necessary to take an English name, it can be very convenient, I think.

Another solution is what a friend of mine did: her given name was kind of hard for Americans to pronounce, but her surname was Lin, easy enough. So in the US she just went by her surname. This only works if you have a relatively easy surname though, for someone named Zhuang or Shi it's not really a solution.

And if you do decide to take an English name: I like Jonah too. Biaozhun English name, but not that common.

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Lu

I think it's a bad idea to take 'Zen' as your English name. Firstly, it's not English, and secondly, it's not a name. Better not do it.

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stephanhodges

While "Zen" by itself is a little stange feeling, it isn't too bad. However, if the name is extended with a second syllable, it would have an interesting and fairly simply sound.

For example, perhaps something like Zenji, Zenda (sounds a bit girlish, however), Zenter, etc.

Of course, these are made up names, but they all sound pleasant, and are easy to say.

Just an idea :wink:

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irishbob

hey i afraid i have to disagree with some of the earlier posts. i think taking an english name is a good idea for you.

i work with over 35 Chinese people and i've noticed that most of them with names that are easy for english speakers to pronounce (such as Tao, Jing, Chen etc..) keep their Chinese name here.

However those with names that are more difficult for english speakers to say (like Xiao, Jie, Zhe etc..) tend to adopt a common english name that's easier for us to pronounce. This name is like a sort of nickname that co-workers and people they know can call them easily, but close friends and family would still probably call them by their original Chinese names.

Now don't get me wrong, i believe that people have a right to keep their own names and they should be proud of them but in day to day life it's sometimes easier for both parties if they can call each other by simple and easy names.

So my advice to you is to adopt a popular and simple english name that others can call you easliy, this would avoid any problems with your name as it could be difficult for english speakers to say. :)

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rose~

I am being brutally honest here, I think, don't pick "Zen" as a name, it will give people the impression of you being a hippy or new-age vegetarian...:-? Unless you don't mind that...

Sorry to be so blunt.

You could opt for not 汉语拼音 pinyin but another system as they are designed for native English speakers to pronounce, my British Chinese friends have this for their names. Like, "Ho" or "Her" will be pronounced better than "He" for 贺.I think 刘 can be "Liew". 果 might be gwoh or kuo. Zhen is a toughie, maybe chen?

E.g. Liew Gwoh Chen, personally I feel it would come out closer from English speakers than the hanyu pinyin. It looks nice as well.

If you do decide to go for an English name, I like "Jonah" the best so far.

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houstonrocket1

well i think it's fair to have an english name going to an english speaking country, just like many chinese learners come to china and say hey 'wo shi da shang'. it brings you closer to the community and makes it easier for other local people to memerize how to call you or refer your name in their conversations when talking about you. nevertheless, it would be wise not to use the name 'swallow'.. god that kills me.. LOL

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ckc_ucl

I think it is patronising of you to assume that "most people cannot pronounce your name". If they do mispronounce it, all you have to do is politely correct them.

You've also picked such absurd 'Western names' that any Westener would see them as a desperate attempt to be cool rather than "reflecting your individuality and uniqueness". Your personality should do that for you.

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