Posted by Joel Martinsen on Thursday, December 7, 2006 at 11:43 AM
Surprisingly, the advice given in the article is fairly decent. Pregnancy consulted an English language instructor, who came up with five principles governing name selection. Two of the rules concern meaning - a name could describe your baby's personality, or represent some ideal quality that you hope your child will achieve later in life - and the magazine helpfully provides a glossary of common boys' and girls' names.
The waters are more treacherous when it comes to connecting an English name to a Chinese name, but the magazine navigates them with ease. It suggests choosing an English name whose first letter the same as that in the Chinese pinyin of baby's name, or whose pronunciation is similar to baby's Chinese name (as in= Tracy or = Peggy), or, if possible, translating directly ( = Jasmine). The language expert recommends not looking at the Chinese rendering of an English name; the surface meaning of the phonetic representation may be misleading, and the Chinese pronunciation may be quite a ways away from the English.
The fifth option is to select a cute, cartoon-inspired name like "Snoopy" or "Yoyo." Thankfully, the magazine advises against this practice, arguing that such names won't look so hot when inscribed on an office nameplate at some future date - why not take the time to choose something more orthodox in the first place, it suggests. Are we looking at a future where people's English names will no longer be a way for them to express their creativity?
Perhaps, though the article runs into trouble when it mentions a few strategies for generating a name by yourself:
· For a two-syllable name, use consonant + vowel + consonant;
For the curious, the "beautiful, self-confident pregnant mommy" on the cover is Yang Jiahua (English name "Emma"). She chose the quite sensible English name "Ashley" for her daughter.
The magazine notes that some of its articles are drawn from the Taiwan edition of Mom Baby. But comparing this image from the current issue to the cover model from three years ago might lead one to wonder how often the magazine recycles its own articles. The fact that the free gift this month is a remaindered translation of a wellness text from 2001 does not provide much comfort.
Links and Sources
Jobs in China
Henry on The Eurasian Face
Caroline W on Big in China
Michael on Julia Lovell on translating Lu Xun's complete fiction: "His is an angry, searing vision of China"
Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
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The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
Front Page of the Day
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From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.