Sunday, December 14, 2008

What's in a name?

It has come to my attention that my family doesn't know exactly how to pronounce my friend 邱's name. Of course, I don't mean when I write it like that, in Chinese characters. I mean when I transliterate it as Qiu.

I've been writing it as Qiu because that's the correct pinyin spelling, and that corresponds to ㄑㄧㄡ, the bopomofo (Taiwanese alphabet) spelling. The foregoing pronunciation explanation, though, is only helpful to students of Chinese--like me. My family couldn't care less about the "correct" transliteration; they just want to be able to say his damn name!

Today, while talking with my family on Skype, I found out that everyone thought Qiu was pronounced as "Kwee." Referring to my friend as "Kwee" has kept them laughing, since this was the baby-talk name my daughters used to use for their, uh, private parts.

So, from now on, when I write my friend's name in Roman letters, it'll be Chyo.

I found out through the MDBG dictionary that 邱 is pronounced "kwu" in Korean, so my kids weren't too far off. I just hope Chyo isn't Korean for "weenie."

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