On names, changing them, and pronunciation

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 11 18:21:48 EST 2003

--- Jenwa Hsung <jenwahsung at yahoo.com> wrote:
> --- 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
> name."
> 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.)

This allows to at least pull this thread back to
science fiction, if not all the way to DWJ. Author
Cordwainer Smith also used another pseudonym which was
Forest C Bliss, this was based on what his real name
sounded like to Chinese speakers (which was something
like "forest of incandescent joy" - his real name
being something like Paul Linebarger iirc)

> 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.

I don't know - Jenwa Brown sounds great to me

> 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.

Not sure - Dracula also means dragon doesn't it?

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