Wanko - wwyd?

(30 Posts)
MangosteenSoda Sat 10-Sep-16 07:20:23

Not actually a baby (thankfully)!

I work in higher education in Asia and it's typical for students to choose an 'English name' to go by. Sometimes their parents give them one when they are little, but it's more usual for them to choose their own name later on. Many keep the name to use in their professional lives.

I say 'English name' because the names are often not English and/or actual names, but are always referred to as English names eg. Cantona, Makino, Wire, Hamster, Yo, McWing.

I've heard so many that I don't really notice how strange they sound any more and I always take the position that it's just a bit of fun and the student can always change the name or just use their real name in the future.

I had previously thought that I'd only tactfully say something if the name was offensive and I have never come across that before, until I met Wanko. Now, tbf, there is a well known high street shop here called Wanko, so I know where she got it from and it's not as bizarre a pick as it may seem. I asked if she really loved the shop, but the answer was that it's just the most beautiful sounding word she had ever heard. I left it at that.

After mentioning this to DH, he thinks I have an obligation to discreetly let the girl know that it's not a good choice. I think it's none of my business and that it probably won't hold her back at all here so I'm not going to say anything that might embarrass her. If it wasn't the name of a famous shop, I'd probably say something.

I'm not having a big dilemma or anything, but thought I'd canvass for wwyd opinions because I've seen a lot of strong opinions (both ways) recently about names which really don't work in English. I'm interested to know what people think about this.

OSETmum Sat 10-Sep-16 07:24:13

Yes I'd tell her incase she ever wants to travel to the uk ( not sure if the word has the same meaning in the USA or Australia etc?)

seven201 Sat 10-Sep-16 07:28:32

I think I'd tell her to keep using it but if she ever went to England that she maybe she should change it and explain why.

Devon2000 Sat 10-Sep-16 07:37:29

I know your predicament. I taught in China and had a 'Pavement' and a girl called Isaac. It's awkward when they ask the meaning of the name. Luckily my students often wanted me to give them an English name so that helped. You could say to her that this name doesn't have a lucky meaning in English & find something to suggest to her instead? Then you might be able to avoid having to get into awkward details.

KoalaDownUnder Sat 10-Sep-16 07:38:59

I had a student in Indonesia introduce herself as 'Titty'. It was on her name badge and everything.

I feel your pain.

MrsHulk Sat 10-Sep-16 07:51:15

Yeah I'd tell her. Nicely obviously, but only fair to warn her that the name has a meaning in the U.K.

MangosteenSoda Sat 10-Sep-16 08:13:02

Fair enough. I'll say something at the end of the semester, probably that she should stick to her original name if she visits the UK because the meaning is, umm, delicate!

I kind of thought that if I'm saying something to one student, I should probably also give Napoleon, Tarzan et al a heads up that their names will raise eyebrows and I really don't want to go down that route. I guess Wanko is a bit of a special case though.

avocadosweet Sat 10-Sep-16 09:32:16

I'm with Devon - tell her it isn't lucky and suggest something else, maybe Anka if she likes the sound of the word? Or Wanda if she likes the letters? No need to say anything to Napoleon or Tarzan!

AnchorDownDeepBreath Sat 10-Sep-16 09:34:34

Napoleon and Tarzan are just preferences though - there's nothing intrinsically wrong with either of those names. Wanko is different.

I think your policy of only getting involved if the name is offensive is good.

VioletBam Sat 10-Sep-16 15:08:30

We had one that went by Tennis and another who was Motorcycle

There was an article in the paper the other day about a british teenager who has started an online service helping Chinese parents give their DC English names to avoid this sort of thing.

She's made about 40k so far. Very enterprising!

ChardonnayKnickertonSmythe Sat 10-Sep-16 15:16:00

We had a nanny once called Miss Titty.

CaoNiMa Sat 10-Sep-16 15:33:01

In my first office job in China we had an intern who went by "Kinky". The English managing director managed to persuade her to change it to "Katherine" blush

CaoNiMa Sat 10-Sep-16 15:34:23

And I just remembered a guy I met who called himself The Ice Man Zhang. I wonder if he still goes by that moniker!

ImperialBlether Sat 10-Sep-16 15:36:27

Here's the link about the teenager. Her mum is Lisa Maxwell off Loose Women and she looks just like her, I think. Very enterprising girl!

eddiemairswife Sat 10-Sep-16 15:44:03

It makes me laugh when I hear of Americans called Randy.

ManagersDilemma Sat 10-Sep-16 20:17:21

Yes, indeed - I used to work with a Randy [gap so the poor man can't be Googled] Marker. It was hard to keep a straight face.

Comingfoccacia Sat 10-Sep-16 20:21:22

There was the girl who chose Vagina as her English name as she thought it sounded feminine grin

minatiae Sat 10-Sep-16 20:22:00

Tell her definitely! I'd want to know if it was the referee and I picked an Asian name with a meaning like that.

If she likes the sound she could change it to Janko. It's a mans name but still a million times better than Wanko!

minatiae Sat 10-Sep-16 20:22:27

reverse not referree stupid phone!

Thenorr Sun 11-Sep-16 08:01:25

We had a student who's English was quite poor and had chosen Kim for himself from a soap opera. When his English improved enough for him to realise he'd chosen a girls' name he was totally devastated and we didn't see him for weeks so I'd suggest you tell her...

LoucheLady Sun 11-Sep-16 09:00:20

Kim can be a boy's name too though.

5moreminutes Sun 11-Sep-16 09:12:21

As Louche says Kim is a traditional male name (as in Kim by Rudyard Kipling)... Its no more "a girls name" than Jamie or any other unisex name/ boy's name now used more for girls. Letting the poor boy get so upset for no reason seems a bit unfortunate!

pepperpot99 Sun 11-Sep-16 20:41:28

Wacko is as bad as Wanker or twat. Just no.

ScarlettO89 Sun 11-Sep-16 20:46:01

When I worked at a university we had two Chinese students called Winky Ho and Wanting Wang....

Just had to put that in

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