So I decided to do something about it. I gave all of my students a homework assignment. They were required to tell me what their name is and why they chose it. Here are some of the names I thought interesting.
First off, I should mention that perhaps a bit more than 50% of my students did in fact pick a somewhat normal name. In fact... many of them picked the same name. For example, the names Edward and Jack seem to be extremely popular as guys names. I have a Jack in every single one of my classes and almost as many Edwards. It is as if every guy here realizes that all the girls are madly in love with Twilight and the Titanic. Maybe the guys just like Jackie Chan.
Many of the students pick normal names, they just don't get the spelling quite right. Kevien, Jasson, Jarry, Maic and Susun all seem to be pretty close. Marry seems close, but you wonder if she chose that spelling intentionally. Canance seems close to Candace, but it is not quite as fitting since it was a guy who chose that name. My favorite one is Zmy. Who needs a vowel when you have a Z?!
Other students like to name themselves after people or titles. We have Zoro, Duke and Emperor. My favorite though is "Jackiechan;" all one word.
Many of the names chosen are good names, just odd genders associated to the name. Artemis and Noah are girls. Kira is a guy. Sunny is a guy's name as well; as in not just one guy chose "Sunny" for his name. Three guys chose it.
By far, the most recurring theme for names was something related to nature:
First we have all the seasons, (Including one girl who actually chose the name "Season") Spring, Summer (two guys chose this), and Winters (a girl). Yes; somewhat ironic that the season "Autumn" which actually IS a name, was not chosen. Aside from time of year, we also get time of day; Morning. Many names related to the sun, such as Sunny (guys) (and Snowy - a girl), Sunshine, Shiney and Sun. Other names relating to things in the sky are, Sky and Cloud. And things found in the sea; Seasnow (whatever that is). We have very tranquil names like Water, Green, Field and Silence. Lastly, we have different objects found in nature such as Pearl, Fir, Denali, Cherry and Lemon.
Related to nature comes a lot of animal names. Fish, Bear, Dragonfly and Bunny. We have the cute ones as well like Kitty, Nemo and Pandi (like Panda... close enough). I didn't really know how to categorize Angus and Shell, so I put them with the animals as well.
There were a couple names that went hand in hand in the class like Rolls and Royce (yes; these were two boys who always sat together). Sitting behind Rolls and Royce we have Honda. Lastly, to pay for them all, we have Dollar. We also had an interesting coincidence of names on the roll call. First we had James, after him we got Taylor. Yay for James Taylor!
The following names are names I just don't know how to categorize. There are those that are actual words, but don't make sense as names, like Synge, Shiny, Hall, Dream, Shadow, YoYo, Vs, Smile, Cookie, Long, Echo, Family, Article, Soap, Wizard, and Miracle. We also have those names that either aren't names or don't make much sense in English, like, Sars, Kelunte, Goku, Clom, Alawn, Asa, Aln, Neva, Akrios, Pucca, Ezreal, and Luffy (a guy; kind of reminds me of a luffa) .
The whole point of this homework assignment was so that I could then reply to my student's emails and let them know a little bit about their name (or as you can see in many cases, let them know that their name really is not a standard English name). Something unique that happened as a result to this assignment though is that I was able to see some very unique spellings of MY name.
Before I give the list of spellings of my name, I should mention a few things. First, my name, McKay, is quite unique as a first name and I can understand an occasional misspelling. In elementary school, Valentines day led to many instances of my name being spelled incorrectly. That being said however, on the first day of class, I write my name on the board in all caps. MCKAY. For one of my lessons, we have the vocab word "misspell" as an example of how to use that word, I used my own name as an example. I told my students that many people misspell my name and the correct spelling is "MCKAY." I tell my students very often how to spell my name. Aside from that, when I gave the homework assignment, I did it using email where I signed my name "McKay." So why only 13 of my 300+ students were able to spell my name correctly is beyond me (actually, they all spelled it with a lower case K, but I count Mckay as close enough).
Here are the spellings:
- mr mckay - This one is not bad. Capital letters are a unique concept to many Chinese students and to be fair, my name really is more common as a last name.
- mackay - This one brought me back to the days in Elementary school when I would get valentines with this spelling.
- makky - What is a makky?
- mckayc - fair enough. This is what I use for email.
- mr mckayc - sure
- MaKay - This one is a bit confusing. So they get the capital letters right but still manage to misspell my name? How on earth did they know how to use the capital letters unless they were actually looking at the correct version of my name? Weird.
- Mckey - This is by far the most common spelling I got for my name. Sadly; this is how most of my students pronounce my name. I have corrected every class of this pronunciation. It is of no avail. I might as well just start telling people here that this is my name.
And the last one. Machy. I don't know what this is, but I like it!