Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Name Lists

Students choosing names don't interest me. Skip me to the next post, about freedom of speech: a much more interesting topic.

Brian linked a list of English names his colleague has been using to help students choose a name.

Brian rightfully points out that many names on the list are dumb.

Here's that list...with convenient Korean translations of the names. And a lot of dumb names.

Here are some lists I made, back when I taught Kindergarten, and got tired having every darn parent name their kid Sam or Sally, or having kids choose their own names, and having classes go like this:

Me: Red Ranger! Sit down. Sam one: how many bears were there?
Sam one: Three bears.
Me: Tiger! What was the girl's name?
Tiger: Goldilocks.
Me: Sam two! Leave Batman alone! Sarah three! What did she do first?
Sarah two: Teacher, Red Ranger took Cinderella's pencil.
Me: What's the answer, Sarah two?
Cinderella: Teacher I am the new name and my name now new name Goldilocks.
Pikachu: Goldilocks is a stupid name.
WisdomSong: I agree.


List one: overused boys names.
Try to avoid choosing these names for boys: they are either too common, so they will be easy to forget, or much, much less common in English than in ESL classrooms.
Alex
Andy
Brian
David
Eric
Harry
Jack
Jake
Jim/Jimmy
Joe/Joey
John
Kevin
Michael
Ryan
Sam
Tom
Tony



Try to avoid choosing these names for your girls: they are either too common, and will be easy forget, or much, much less common in English than in ESL classrooms.
Amy
Angie
Annie
Emily
Jane
Jennifer
Jenny
Jessie
Jina
Julia
Julie
Lisa
Mary
Meg
Sally
Sarah
Sunny

If your son's Korean name is Jae-kyun, go ahead and choose the name "Jake", and if your daughter's Korean name is Soo-jin, choose the name "Susan," because similar sounds make a name feel more natural to a student. Otherwise, avoid them.

Here are some names from the top 100 most common names lists, either in England or North America, which are not overused by ESL students, and are also pretty easy for Koreans to say and spell.

Names that are fine both for boys and girls:
Addison, Alexis, Ashton, Avery, Bailey, Cameron, Campbell, Carson, Casey, Dakota, Devon, Harley, Hayden, Jaden, Jamie, Jessie, Logan, Morgan, Parker, Payton, Phoenix, Quinn, Reese, Riley, Shea, Taylor, Teagan, Tyler

Names that are good for girls:
Alexa
Alexandra
Alexis
Allison
Alyssa
Amanda
Amber
Amelia
Andrea
Angelina
Anna
Ariana
Ashley
Audrey
Autumn
Ava
Avery
Bailey
Bethany
Brianna
Brooke
Caroline
Chelsea
Chloe
Claire
Daisy
Destiny
Diana
Eleanor
Elisabeth/Lisa/Beth
Ella
Emma
Erin
Evelyn
Faith
Gabriella
Gabrielle
Gemma
Grace
Haley
Hannah
Helen/Helena
Isabel
Jada
Jasmine
Jessica
Jocelyn
Jody
Jordan
Kaitlyn
Katelyn/Kate
Katherine
Kayla
Kaylee
Kimberly/Kim
Kylie
Lauren
Leah
Leslie
Lilian
Lily
Lydia
Mackenzie
Madeline
Madison
Makayla
Maria
Marissa
Maya
Megan
Melanie/Mel
Melissa
Mia
Michelle
Molly
Morgan
Natalie
Nicole
Paige
Phoebe
Rachel
Rebecca
Rosie
Ruby
Samantha
Savannah
Sierra
Sofia
Sophia
Sophie
Stephanie
Sydney
Taylor
Trinity
Vanessa
Victoria
Zoe


Names that are good for boys:
Aaron
Adam
Adrian
Aidan
Alexander (Alex)
Andrew/Drew
Archie
Ashton
Austin
Benjamin/Ben
Blake
Bradley/Brad
Brandon
Caleb
Callum
Cameron
Carter
Chad
Charles
Chase
Chris
Christian/Chris
Cody
Cole
Colin
Connor
Daniel
Devin
Dylan
Ethan
Evan
Ewan
Gavin
Harrison
Hayden
Hunter
Ian
Isaac
Isaiah
Jackson
Jacob
James
Jason
Jayden
Jeremiah
Jesse
Joel
Jonathan
Jordan
Joseph
Joshua/Josh
Justin
Kieran
Kyle
Landon
Liam
Logan
Lucas
Luke
Mason
Mitchell/Mitch
Nathan
Nathaniel
Nicholas
Noah
Owen
Patrick/Pat
Richard/Rich/Rick
Robert/Rob/Bert
Ross
Ryan
Samuel
Sean
Sebastian
Seth
Steven/Steve
Thomas
Timothy/Tim
Todd
Tyler
William/Will/Bill
Zachary/Zach

12 comments:

the Korean said...

I don't see no Jamal, Martin, Malcolm, DeSean, Rihanna ...

My friend taught English in China as a Peace Corps member, and he named his entire class based on famous players at Phillies. There was a woman named Dykstra.

holterbarbour said...

Might I also suggest that you push names with sounds that consistently trouble the Korean tongue (th, z, f, "see" [as opposed to "shee"], etc.). Get the kids used to practicing those sounds.

Roboseyo said...

@ TheKorean: while missing in the original list, they are now in the comments. Thanks for the additions.

@ Hotelbarbour: in theory, that sounds good, but 1. nothing is more humiliating than not being able to pronounce one's own name "Hello, I am Pred." - I had a friend who twisted his face around trying to pronounce "Charlie" correctly every time he introduced himself, and I always thought he ought to have saved pronunciation practice for tongue twisters, not introductions. Plus, ever since I had a student who really wanted to be called "Venus" but pronounced her own name, "Penis", I've decided difficult consonants are better avoided. My student Ree-ree-seuh (Lilith) disagrees.

This Is Me Posting said...

Some of the odd names my students have chosen for themselves:

• Cats [sic]
• Dragon
• Patriot
• Winning
• "Lela" (You know, as in Darth Vader's daughter)


One poor girl was given the name "Meredith" by her teacher, which falls into the category of 'Nice name that is cruel to give to a person who can't speak the language because they can't pronounce their own name.'

Chris in South Korea said...

Wow - some of you get to name your students? Lucky. When I taught kids they already had English names given / assigned them. More than a few of them mispronounced their own names... After a few days of writing their English name (and the Korean approximation) on the board, they figured it out... My favorite: a kid named Nero who insisted his name be pronounced Neh-ro...

Now, how to get this article in the Korean press so as to read by a number of Korean parents...

holterbarbour said...

True story-- once, I was doling out names to a new class ("Beavis", "Wilbur", etc.), and one kid told me his mother had given him an English name:

"Well, what's your name, then?"

"Teacher, Licky."

"Do you mean 'Ricky'?"

"No, Teacher. Licky."

"L-I-C-K-Y? 'Licky' with an 'L'?"

"Yes, Teacher."

(Pause)

"Licky it is! Nice to meet you, Licky!" said I.

Roboseyo said...

I had a student named Licky.

I also once had two brothers in two different classes, named Peter and Willy. If they had a younger brother named Dick, my head would have exploded.

The one that makes me sad is "Harmony" which is a pretty name, but sounds so much like the Korean word "Grandmother" that nobody will ever take it.

This Is Me Posting said...

My favorite: a kid named Nero who insisted his name be pronounced Neh-ro...

Technically speaking, he was in the right, and you were wrong if you tried to correct him.

IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet principles) dictate that people are allowed to pronounce their proper name however they see fit. Meaning, even if someone's name is spelt "Frank" and the person insists that it be pronounced "Tim," he is in his right and we are the ones who have to adapt.

Now, if he actually wanted his name to sound like "Nero" (rhymes with 'zero'), and he had trouble with the pronunciation, then you could have helped him correct his pronunciation. In this case, though, he knew the alternative and still wanted to be called "Neh-ro." Thus, it is incorrect for you to tell him how he should pronounce his own proper name.

Michael said...

I would like to formally disagree with the first name starting with a D on the list. Don't do it, people.

MKM said...

I ask my students if they have English names they would like to use - but I'm happy if they say no. If students *want* an English name though I agree that it should be accessible: my highschool French teacher gave me a French name that I couldn't say properly and it did NOT encourage me to speak or participate more in French, lemme tell ya ...

Good post!

PS: the word verification is "tardi". Hah!

Debbie said...

How about if the student's name is Jin Sook, you call them Jin Sook. Crazy, I know!

Roboseyo said...

Debbie:
1. some language learning theories assert that taking on a name on the target language helps one create an identity in that language, and helps one to learn it more quickly, and especially, to start thinking in the target language more easily

2. if students want me to call them jinsook, I do. However, I recommend that students named Yu-seok or Bum-ho take on an English nickname, and depending on why they're studying English, sometimes it WILL benefit them socially to take on an English nickname: it's easier for, say, international investors who don't deal with a lot of Koreans to remember a name like Les Kim than to remember how to pronounce Eung-ryang correctly.

3. Some parents insist on an English name for their kids, and parents are also most often the ones that choose the most boring names for their kids. That was why I made this list in the first place.

4. I never suggest a name to an adult unless I'm asked to. They're adults. However, some school policies, and some kids, really do want an English name. Because choosing English names IS a part of some of our lives, the question of whether it's a bit of neo-imperialism can be discussed later, after Tom's parents have been convinced that Jin-gyu should be called Jerry instead of Tom, even though it's harder to spell, because Jerry at least vaguely resembles the sounds of his actual name.

MKM: thanks.