On names, changing them, and pronunciation

Jenwa Hsung jenwahsung at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 11 17:03:36 EST 2003

--- Jon Noble <jon_p_noble at yahoo.com> wrote:
> I always felt that people without middle names were
> short changed by life, and was very jealous of a
> friend who'd scored two middle names.

I don't know, I have no middle name and was always
kind of proud of that -- it just seemed totally
unnecessary.  I have two names, a given name made of
two Chinese characters and a family name made of one
Chinese character, and have always been quite
satisfied.  It was kind of fun saying firmly to
slightly bemused adults "Yes, I really have no middle

I also never changed my name, unless you count the
spelling change from Jen-Hwa to Jenwa because when I
was learning to write I decided I didn't need the
extra bits and so a few years later we got it changed
formally.  (At the same time, my brothers' names got
changed from Jen-Yu and Jen-Wan to Jason and Justin,
respectively.  They kept the Chinese alliterations as
their middle names, but it had become clear that
Jen-Yu and Jen-Wan were just a lot harder for the
average Minnesotan to say than Jenwa had been.)

I am as of yet single, and if I get married, I don't
know if I'd change my name.  I like my last name
(Hsung), even if it is basically impossible to
pronounce in English because the sounds involved just
don't translate very well.   It means bear in Chinese.
 I like bears.  And well, Jenwa sounds rather silly
paired with many other last names.  For example, my
last SO's surname was Brown, and Jenwa Brown just
seems somehow wrong.

Incidentally, my given name means "to make China
great."  Which goes with my brothers' names, which
mean "to make the universe great."  Strangely enough,
my parents are much more laid back than giving us
those names implies (thank goodness... no Asian Mother
Syndrome here).

A couple friends of mine, when they got married, went
with the pick a completely different last name option,
and so now they are the Leung family, which means
dragon in Chinese.  Pretty cool, I thought.


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