My English name is ……..
If I ask:’ Do you have a formal English name?
An English native speaker will say:’ Yes, I do’,’ What kinds of question is this?’
A Taiwanese may answer:’ I have no idea.’
If my sense focuses on Taiwan only, everything is so definitely. However, when I open my mind into the whole world, nothing is impossible. Like: many Teacher’s days, lots of Mother’s day, changeable English name.
I would like to tell you about this:
One day, in a classroom.....
Teacher Luis asked me:’ Hey, Wu, what’s your English name?’
I replied:’ Yes Sir, my English name is John. ‘
Two years after, in other English class…
Teacher Rice asked me:’ Hello Mr. Wu, what’s your English name?’
I said:’ Yes madam, my English name is George.’
Teacher Rice raised her one side eyebrows and inquired after me:’ but … my brother Luis told me that your English name is John Wu.’
I reply carefully:’ Oh,…I…well,..you know,…… many friends told me that John is too common, and without shape, and out of fashion….. So I have changed my English name this year,…..which means I grow up now …you know what I mean!!.....’
Maybe this is not my story, but, In Taiwan, people who name their English name mostly for the purpose of learning English. It’s hard to believe for an English native speaker that English name can be changed from time to time.
Don’t misunderstand me, I am not translating a joke from Chinese to English now. And, according to my experience, every time after I had translated a joke from Chinese to English to an English native speaker, the scenario would be, I became a joker. However, it’s ok for me to translate a joke from Chinese to English to a Chinese native speaker.
As English as a second language learner, how do you name your English name?
My English name is James which was named by an English teacher who is from New Zealand. Mr. Cliff traveled Taiwan in 1991, I stayed with him for 3 days. It was our chat with my English name:
Cliff said hello to me, I faltered out:’ Hi, my name is Mr. Wu’
He had a smile on me:’ Do you have an English name?’
I replied after my twenty times thinking:’ yes, but I forgot, because,……..you know what I mean!!’.
Then I asked him to name an English name for me.
‘well’ he said courteously,’ Could you speak out your first name in Chinese, Please.”
I spoke:” Zhih Cheng’
Cliff suggested at the first time:’ James, the name suit you, it speaks out just like your Chinese name zhih”, I said ‘ok’.
After a while, Cliff cheered up and applauded for 3 seconds:’ oh-ho, you are a prosecutor, James Pond, Double-O-Seven (007), yes, James suits you. You, James Wu, are like James Pond.’
Thereafter, I use ‘James’ as my English name.
A reader named Celio who is from Brazil asked” James is your real name? Why is your name James?‘
Yes, James is my real English name, it’s not an anonymity, I have been used it for 16 years, and I am a member of IAP (International Association of Prosecutors), James Wu is the registered name. Thus, James is my formal English name.
Teacher Alex asked: ‘Did you take the picture (Taipei 101) yourself?’
Yes, I shot it myself. I take my digital camera with me all the time.
Nothing is impossible.
James Zhih-Cheng Wu
Photos：Cliff’s name card (address & phone number were covered)
Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.