Monday, June 23, 2008

My Chinese name

I've decided on a Chinese name: Kong Shu-wen. This wasn't a decision that I took lightly; it came about after doing research and discussing it with Taiwanese friends. I'm pleased with all aspects of the name: The sounds correspond to the English counterparts in my name (as best they can in the Chinese sound system); the shapes of the characters are aesthetically pleasing; and I feel their meanings accurately reflect, well, me.

First, it was important to me to have a familiar, one-syllable Chinese surname, not a foreign sounding multi-character surname. The first character you see to the right, 孔, is pronounced kong (3rd tone). It is a common family name, and is a reasonably close approximation to the first syllable of Coleman. Additionally, one of the meanings associated with Kong is "hole," which is quite apropos since a coal man (Coleman) extracts rocks from holes in the earth. To top it off, I learned that 孔 is the real Chinese surname for the great philosopher we call Confucius.

The next two characters, 書文, are pronounced shu (1st tone) wen (2nd tone), and represent my name Stephen. Shu has the basic meaning of "book" or "letter", while Wen embodies "language", "literature", and "gentle." I think people who really know me will agree that these characters are a good choice.

The image on the left shows the same characters written in "seal script." This style of writing is largely decorative and is widely used in official seals, hence the name. I got my own name seal today, but chose a readable font like the one in the first image.

I also got my haircut today, and then took a spin on my new bicycle (new to me). After 8 weeks in Taiwan without wheels, this bike is opening up new worlds for me. I can't wait to take a long ride on Sunday!

1 comment:

Emmanuel said...

i think you pick a good chinese name, you are well on your way to officially becoming Taiwanese lol .....