Hello, My Name Is… How These 11 Pengyous Chose Their English Names.

by Catharine Crandall on May 13th, 2015   2555 views

How do Chinese kids choose their names?

When learning a foreign language, we’re often given new names in the language we’re studying. Usually these names are some derivative or transliteration of our English names. For example , my Chinese name is 柯思琳, or Kē Sīlín, which is meant to sound like my full name, Catharine.

However, some English students in China are given a bit more liberty in choosing their new names. While some students go with a simple translation of their Chinese name, others look to video game heroes and athletic idols for inspiration. If you thought Kimye and Beyonce got a little creative with their kids’ names, see how these Pengyous landed on their quirky choices.


Justine
Justine
Age: 24

Justine might sound like your run-of-the-mill American girl next door, but she actually named herself after Justin Hamilton, her favorite basketball player. Go Heat!


 

Mr. Rabbit
Mister Rabbit
Age: 27

First name: Mister, last name: Rabbit. This name is actually a direct translation of his Chinese nickname “兔子先生.” He says people call him that because he’s a very lucky guy.


 

Sunny
Sunny
Age: 22

As a Starbucks employee, Sunny had to pick an English name to put on her name tag. She had trouble thinking of a good one, so she went with the translation of her Chinese given name.


 

Boris
Boris
Age: 15

This young man’s parents wanted him to stand out from the rest. When he was very young, his father gave him the English name Boris because to him, “it sounded powerful.”


 

Junior
Junior
Age: 14

His British classmates wanted to give him a fun nickname, and settled on Junior because of his smaller size and goofy personality.


 

Arnold
Arnold
Age: 15

When Arnold was little he wanted to pick a name that was easy to pronounce, like Jack or Bob, but when he came across the name Arnold he couldn’t resist: “it just sounded too cool!”


 

FakerMessiah

Faker and Messiah
Age: 16

These young gentlemen ditched the boring English names assigned to them in school and went with some snazzier picks. The names “Faker” and “Messiah” were inspired heroes from the boys’ favorite video games.


 

Stacy
Stacy
Age: 25

Lucky for Stacy, she didn’t have to do much work when picking out an English name: a close American friend gave her this old family name as a joke, but it stuck!


 

Tom and Jerry
Tom and Jerry
Age: 25 and 25

Yep, you read that right. When they’re apart, the names Tom and Jerry sound pretty normal, but when these two guys are together it all makes sense. Kind of like a more obvious version of a friendship bracelet, right?


How did get your English/Chinese name? Was it given to you, inspired by a favorite fictional character, or a name you randomly picked out of the dictionary?

Leave a comment below and tell us the story of your name!

All photos were taken by Cat Crandall with permission from the subjects.

 


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