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
China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!