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I hope you can help me choose a good English name

May 25, 2020 2:23 PM
Comments · 8
I disagree with this advice to a learner of English. When the current reality is that non-native speakers often give themselves “names” that are random English words like pillow, suggesting a shortened form of an actual name is a good way to guide them. “Kristy” is something that an actual English-speaking female person would be called (and so is the possible longer form “Christine”, as I note in my answer). Yes, we can then advise a learner that it is a short form or a nickname, but we’re on much better ground already if they just want to have that name and not “pillow”.

In addition, native speaking parents bring “old fashioned” girls’ names back into fashion. Especially if they want to honor a relative or an ancestor who had the name in the “old fashioned” time. My almost 14 year old niece is named Lillian, after her great-grandmother (who has now passed away). Why should I tell an English learner that “Lillian” is a bad name for them to consider because it is “old fashioned”?

Because of this idea about “old fashioned” names, I think you have misidentified several good names on the list Tong gave. “Eloise” is a name. “Thea” is a name. “Calista”, “Silvia”, “Dorothy” — all names. All things that actual female English speakers are called.
May 25, 2020
Hi Tong,
English speakers mostly do not choose names for their meanings, like Chinese speakers do. This is just a cultural difference. English speakers choose names for their associations with relatives or ancestors or other people we admire, or because we like the sound of the name.

So, for example, you have the name Christine on your list. I knew a Christine; she was one of my friends in high school. We went our separate ways after that, but I remember her as a great person: thoughtful, modest, kind, a great athlete and student, and a wonderful friend. If we were still close (and I was having kids), I’d definitely consider that name for a baby daughter.

My advice is to think about the English speaking women you admire, or characters you like from English language books or movies. Choose one of their names for yourself.
May 25, 2020
What's wrong with your own name?
May 25, 2020
May 25, 2020
What @Irene said! Also there's nothing wrong with your actual name (assuming Tong is your name) as Marcello pointed out - it's easy enough to pronounce for English speakers (unlike my name ;D), which I still insist on using.
May 25, 2020
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Language Skills
Aragonese, Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Other), English, Spanish
Learning Language
English, Spanish