2010年 2月 9日, 星期二 - 格林尼治标准时间16:28

Emmet's Student Diary 伦敦学生博客第十八周

Emmet Conlon O'Reilly

Wednesday 10th February 2010 – English Names

Hi all,

Let's talk about Western and British names this week. It can be difficult choosing a name to use when you are in the UK or the West in general and there are a couple of pitfalls to watch out for.

Firstly, pick a name that you like. Your name may sound similar to a Western name already. In this case the process could be pretty easy. A lot of Chinese girls seem to opt for the name Lucy and Lisa seems to be a pretty popular name too. I'd like to thank Lisa Liu who sent me a great poem called 赋得古原草送别 last week to mark the coming of Chinese new year.

I was named after an Irish nationalist called Robert Emmet. My grandad chose the name for me. It is a fairly uncommon name but I like it. The only famous people I've ever heard with the name is Emmet Brown, a character from the movie Back to the Future.

Growing up, if you've got a silly or funny name you've instantly got a giant target on your back in the playground. Kids love to make fun of other kids' names. I was pretty lucky really. There aren't really any cheeky nicknames or rude words that rhyme with Emmet.

Emmet Conlon O'Reilly

Emmet writing his student diary

The worst I got was occasionally someone would call me Emma. This was the height of wit when we were nine years old. That brings me to one of the most important points about choosing a Western name. Make sure you get the gender right. It's not as easy as it may seem. For example, I know a guy called Mary. Often similar names belong to different genders. Louis is for guys for example and Louise for girls.

If you're stuck these were the three most popular boy's names in Britain in 2009: Jack, Oliver and Thomas. For the girls it was: Olivia, Ruby and Emily. This is just to get you started.

Finally, watch out for silly names or names from TV shows or songs that parents give their children. There was a girl in my class called Penny Lane (her parents must have been big Beatles fans).

Emmet Conlon O'Reilly's family crest

Emmet's family crest

I came across this picture this week. It's my family crest. Conlon is my mam's family and O'Reilly is my father's side.

If you would like help choosing a Western or European name, email me giving me a brief description of your interests and I'll see if I can help.

Tips on choosing an English name

  • Choose one that sounds like your Chinese name.
  • Choose a name with the right gender (see below for some ideas).
  • If you can't find a name that sounds like your Chinese name, you could choose a name of a famous person that you like.
  • Don't take the name of a TV show or a song.
pitfalls 陷阱, watch out for 注意, pick 选择, process 过程, pretty 比较, opt 选择, nationalist 民族主义者, silly 可笑的, target (嘲笑的)对象, cheeky 好笑的,无礼的, rhyme 同押韵, the height of wit 才智的极点, gender 性别, family crest 家族徽章

Popular English names

Question of the week

Did you ever have a nickname in school? What was it? Email me and you might see your messages at the bottom of this page.

Email Emmet at 按键 chinaelt@bbc.co.uk


Your Replies

Note: We do not correct the English in comments posted.
注意:我们对大家的英语留言不做任何修改和更正

Hey Emmet I think your name is cool.

My name is Sylvia. Chinese name is Hsuan-ling Hung (from Taiwan). My English name is my frriend called.

I have no idea about how to pick English name so... I think Sylvia is nice.

Do you think so? Have a good day.

Sylvia

Hi Emmet,

I am one of your readers to your blog. I read your lately post on English names. I do need your advice. I am a girl and Chinese name is Yang Yang, which sounds similar with the english word 'young'. I used to choose Young as my first name, but I found that no one was called that name in western country. What about Samantha instead?

I wonder for example, if all students chose the names from the popular name list, all students with the same names would stand up when teachers asked them questions. That’s really chaos, isn't it?

Anyway, any suggestions for my name? But I do really like the name Ruby. : )

Thanks for you time reading my email and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yang Yang

Hey, Emmet, nice to meet you! My chinese name is TianTian Liu, I'd like a english name, thank you! In China 'tian' means sweet!

TianTian Liu 刘田甜

Hi Emmet,

My Chinese name Liuna is one of the most popular names for girls. It doesn't have any meaning. My parents chose the name for me just because it is easy to call and very common. My English name is Nina. I think it is similar to my Chinese name in pronunciation. But I don't know whether it is OK in your country. I am looking forward to your suggestions. If it is not suitable, I want you to give me an English name. I think I am a traditional Chinese girl. I work hard and like a quiet life. I hope my English name can reflect my personality. Thank you!

Liuna

Email Emmet at 按键 chinaelt@bbc.co.uk


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