Monday, December 6, 2010

Circle, Happy, and Moon 2

Imagine you are teaching your first English class in China, and someone has helpfully made you a list of all the students with their English names. You scan the list: "Vera, Vivian, Happy, Circle, Roony, Sunny, Snow White, Cinderella, Emily, Sarah, Echo, Adaline Undumbara."

"Is this normal?" you ask yourself. Yes. And then you find out Sunny is a boy.

Some Chinese students pick pretty normal English names, but there are many more who are drawn to old-fashioned names (Edna, Eunice, Beryl) or names that are -- how shall we say this? -- not names.

Moon 2 (a boy who had a brother with the English name Moon)
Black Sister
Shmily (short for "see how much I love you")
Remmer's Tears
Arble (Seven and Arble are both in my Christmas decorating post below)

The English name phenomenon is a never-ending source of amusement among ex-pat teachers. Everyone has their stories of the nutty names they've encountered. I usually try to gently advise a name change, but if the name isn't too outrageous, sometimes I allow it. So I still teach Clover, Roony, Cinty, and Lisara, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't love it.

*Note: All names in this post are students I have known or my teammates have taught.


  1. Any idea what the inspiration for Arble, Roice, and Remmer's Tears was? I'm intrigued...

  2. Sadly, I do not know the origin of any of these. I tried to convince "Roice" to go with "Reese," but she went in an entirely different direction and became one of my many "Cherry"s.

  3. Haha that's fantastic. Keeps life interesting! :)

  4. who's Adaline Undumbara?

    or am i missing something???

  5. I was just as confused as you. The girl had seen that name in print somewhere and took it as her own English name (if it's even a name at all -- I've never heard of it). We changed her name to Angela.