Advanced search

Think you've decided on a name? Check out where it ranks on the official list of the most popular baby names first.

What do you think if a person uses an English name instead of his own name?

(33 Posts)
emjan Fri 03-Jul-15 04:42:02

For example, if someone's real name (not English) is hard to pronounce for English speaking people, he chooses an English name and introduced himself as a John (John is not his real name in ID).
Would you be bothered with it? Or would you be more happy as the name John is easier to pronounce?


karbonfootprint Fri 03-Jul-15 04:49:10

i don't "think" anything at all, it is that individuals personal choice.

SueGeneris Fri 03-Jul-15 04:56:11

I think it's sad that people can't make an effort to learn how to pronounce a foreign name properly.

It is common in DH's company's Korean office for people to adopt English names and use those. Quite a few Bruces.

SavoyCabbage Fri 03-Jul-15 04:58:03

I don't mind either way.

I know two sisters where one has changed her name to a western name and one hasn't.

My own dh changed his name as his name was daft and he felt it was holding him back in his career. I don't think this applies to ethnic names though.

My sister has a Chinese surname and so has often found herself in situations where people expect her to be ethnically Chinese.

I've read your other thread about changing your name. I don't think you should do it if it worries you or if you don't want to in any way. It's not necessary if what I mean.

emjan Fri 03-Jul-15 05:11:30

I am open to all comments. Just wanted to know how people feel. I only have a Chinese name in my ID which is hard to pronounce for people who only knows English, so I wanted to use a English name.

BathshebaDarkstone Fri 03-Jul-15 05:15:35

I noticed the Indians in Glasgow did this. The man who owned the corner shop called himself Joe. I have absolutely no idea what his real name was! grin I don't think anything about it really. confused

Athenaviolet Fri 03-Jul-15 05:15:52

I'd think they didn't understand the legalities of name changing in the UK.

It doesn't cost a penny to change your name.

Mehitabel6 Fri 03-Jul-15 05:21:13

I don't think that OP wants to legally change it, Athenaviolet, they just want an easier one in UK.
Lots of people do it, e.g I know an elderly lady called Elsie who has loathed it all her life and she is known by something completely different and very few people know she is Elsie, but she uses it for legal documents etc She has never wanted to change it legally.
I can't see why anyone would mind OP, change it to whatever you like.

DoctorDonnaNoble Fri 03-Jul-15 05:58:29

We have a lot of boarders from Hong Kong, most of them choose an English name.

Nolim Fri 03-Jul-15 06:13:19

Pretty standard i think. I have seen it a lot at work.

BadHenry Fri 03-Jul-15 06:21:01

I wouldn't really have an opinion tbh. I know a lot of people do it (especially Chinese people) but equally we have folk from all over the world in our office with some very "foreign" names and everyone seems to manage.

mugglingalong Fri 03-Jul-15 06:24:11

I would probably go for a name which is easier to pronounce but could be either Chinese or English. Something like Fai, Su, Lili or Lin. Corresponding to Faye, Sue, Lily or Lynne. I think it is a nice way of acknowledging your heritage but at the same time not needing to explain how to pronounce it.

BeaufortBelle Fri 03-Jul-15 06:34:05

I think it's refreshingly integrative. My grandfather arrived in the UK in 1917 with a foreign sounding surname. When he married my grandmother in 1934 they did what Mnet debates regularly - they adopted her English surname instead of his.

FWIW I have a very unusual first name and married a man with a very unusual and quirkily pronounced surname - neither could be more English but all my life I've fantasised about being called something like Jane Smith that everyone can spell and nobody comments on.

tumbletumble Fri 03-Jul-15 06:36:09

I was at uni with a couple of Indian guys. They both used shortened forms of their names that were easier for English people to remember / pronounce. I think that's a good compromise.

SweetAndFullOfGrace Fri 03-Jul-15 06:39:43

Up to you, I'll happily call people whatever they want me to call them. I work with a lot of Malaysian Chinese people who have chosen an English name, but equally lots who haven't. As you say, it seems to partly depend how easy their Chinese name is to pronounce by English speakers.

InQuiteAPickle Fri 03-Jul-15 06:58:32

It's up to you, OP. It depends if you would rather be called something else other than your actual name. If you're happier being called John, for example, then go for it! Many people have Nick names and people don't bat an eyelid.

Many people do this and I think it's fine, if that's what they want to do but I do think that people who don't bother to try and pronounce someone's name correctly are rude.

Most names aren't that hard to pronounce and I think that it's a shame that people end up changing to suit lazy idiots others who can't be bothered to learn their name.

When I was a teenager I met a lad who introduced himself as "AJ". I asked him later what AJ stood for. His reply was "oh, nothing - no one can pronounce my real name and I was wearing a hat with AJ (Armani Jeans) on it so people started calling me AJ". His real name was Zubair! What's so hard about that? confused He was delighted when I could pronounce it! I asked him which he preferred to be called and he said his actual name.

I have a friend called Lol and knew her for ages assuming that it was short for Laura or Louise or something. One day we had a conversation about her name:
Me: what's Lol short for, if you don't mind me asking?
Lol: <laughs> it's not short for anything, it's not even my name! It's a nick name because no one can pronounce my real name so everyone calls me Lol.
M: confused So what's your real name?
L: My real name's Aurelia but no one can pronounce it.
M: They can't? But it's such a beautiful name it's a shame that you feel that you can't use it.
L: I know! I love my name!

Both of them preferred their real names to their "easier to pronounce" names and it made me a bit sad that they felt they had to change as your name can be part of your identity. I hate my name but it's part of me. I can't imagine being called anything else!

InQuiteAPickle Fri 03-Jul-15 07:02:20

Wow, that was a bit of an essay blush.

emjan Fri 03-Jul-15 07:12:52

InQuiteAPickle, I guess their names have been mispronounced by many other people and that is why they chose a simpler name. By the way, there are many Chinese names that people who don't know Chinese will not be able to pronounce it correctly

SanityClause Fri 03-Jul-15 07:16:59

I do think it's a pity that people feel that this is desirable.

I think perhaps you need to speak to people who do this, and ask them if it has simplified things for them.

I do know, that as an immigrant from an English speaking country, I have "softened" my accent in the UK. So while people can hear that I am not British, they don't assume I'm "straight off the boat". My accent infers a credibility and permanence I would not otherwise have.

Maybe your name change would work in a similar way for you.

I know Chinese names usually have strong meanings. Perhaps you could google names with a similar meaning to your Chinese name, and get inspiration that way?

superzero Fri 03-Jul-15 21:08:29

A couple of Chinese school mums introduced themselves themselves to me as Helen.I know that is not their real name but everyone calls them that.I think they have found that an English name simplifies things.
The children have Chinese names but are known at school by an English one.

SunshineAndShadows Fri 03-Jul-15 21:15:39

I have lots of chinese friends and know this is common but I always find it a bit sad. Chinese names really aren't that difficult for English speakers to pronounce if they make a bit of effort to realise that letters don't always have the same sound. It's only as tricky as French IMO

There will likely be slight mangling of sound and tone. For example Xin will be Shin, Jie will be Jay, Zhang will be Jang, but the majority of sounds are pretty similar. So it depends how much this would bother you.

What's your name OP (or what sort of sounds?) it'll help us see how mangled it might get

MehsMum Fri 03-Jul-15 21:35:32

I'll use whatever name someone says they're called, but if they have a Chinese/African/Indian name they'd rather be known by, I'll make the effort to remember it and learn how to pronounce it.

DD has a Chinese friend who has an English given name, but the entire friend group always call her by her Chinese family name, so as not to confuse her with an English girl who was in the group first who has the same given name...

So on balance, to answer OP's question, I don't think it's usually a matter of judging the person who says, 'Oh, nobody can pronounce X, just call me Jane'. It's nice that people want to fit in, but less nice that native English speakers can be so bone idle about other languages... So I feel neutral about it, really.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Fri 03-Jul-15 21:46:56

I'll call people whatever they want. If it is hard to pronounce I'll ask them to repeat it until I get it correct and then (assuming they are someone I'll see regularly) I note it down phonetically somewhere until it is stuck in my head.

mathanxiety Sat 04-Jul-15 07:05:07

I have an Irish name and find it very embarrassing to have to repeat my name numerous times until someone else gets it right.

I never know if I should speak louder or slower, or both, each time I am asked to repeat it.

All I know is I would like the ground to open up and swallow me after about the third repetition.

I found a word in English that rhymes with me name, and I tell people "it's like 'ngoifdll' only with a P instead of an N". Then they repeat that a few times. All this before we ever get down to chatting.

When you are working with people, maybe in an Asian office where you communicate with people in the UK or Australia or Britain regularly, and especially if you are sent to trade shows and you are expected to speak about your product, it helps enormously to be able to establish rapport with your colleagues and especially with potential customers. Having a name that presents a hurdle (or more accurately dealing with cultures that are not shy about making a mouthful of names) makes establishing that rapport difficult. The bearer of the name that seems to cause such difficulty is tempted to make things easier for everyone so he or she can just cut to the chase.

lilacblossomtime Sat 04-Jul-15 08:15:27

As an English person I quite like this, it makes the person seem more like they want to be friendly with the English so it makes them more approachable. Just like taking the trouble to learn the language and local customs and seeming to like them. It's not that I wouldn't like someone with a foreign name or who preferred to follow their own customs (and I would be interested to learn about them) but I would feel like they might not want to socialise with me.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: