March 9, 2011


Another Plinky.com question. “How did you get your name?”

Well, I don’t know if I can write 1000 words on this topic, but I will certainly try.

Let’s see. Since my family name is JACKLIN, I really had no choice in the matter, and neither did anyone else in recent times. I’m not exactly sure how the name came about, but I’m sure this some history on it.

As is fairly standard in North America, and possibly Europe, most people have one, two, or three other names. These form your complete name. As well, some people have what are called, nicknames. Shortened versions of one of your complete name, and in very rare cases, your family name, or a descriptor that has been given to you by friends or family at a young age, and you continue to use.

Okay, so I have two complete names: WILLIAM and JOSEPH. As is also a tradition in western cultures, the first-born son is usually given the same name as his father. In some cases, the first-born daughter is given the same name as her mother.

So, my father being WILLIAM, my name is also WILLIAM. As a child, dad was always called Bill (and perhaps Billy as a young boy), and therefore, I ‘inherited’ that nickname as well. I do remember quite well though, that my grandmother (dad’s mom) always called him Bill or Billy, and to avoid any confusion, she always called me Billy-Joe. She was however, the only person I didn’t mind calling me that. Whenever anyone else said it, I remember cringing.

As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve obviously dropped the ‘y’ on Billy and accept Bill as a nickname. The ‘y’ on a nickname, really is used more for a child, and not an adult. However, there are some people who will continue throughout their lives, using their ‘child’ nickname.

As for JOSEPH, from the story I was told by my parents, when I was born, I believe dad (or it could have been mom, that’s a little vague) worked with a person named Joe Belliveau. He was apparently my godfather, although truth be told, I have no recollection of ever having met this person. To my knowledge, I have no photo of him, I have no cards or presents or memento given to me by him, and the one time that I was curious about contacting him, my was a bit adamant about me contacting this, Joe Belliveau.

And that, in a nutshell, is what I know about how I got my name.

As for my Chinese name, 賈威廉, the first character, 賈, is the ‘sound’ of the first part of my family name – JACKLIN. It is translated as “JIA”.

The next two characters, 威廉, is the Chinese name for WILLIAM. This is translated as “WEI LIEN”.

When I first went to obtain a ‘chop’ or the stamp for my Chinese name, the person whom I ordered the chop from, made up this name.

It is tradition, in Chinese, that a person has three characters that form their name. The first, is the family name. The next two, are the complete name.

As there are six large family names (apparently) in Chinese, as well as countless ‘not so common family names’, LEE and CHEN are two that I can recognize.

Also, there are only so many characters in Chinese. It is very common to not only have 2 or 3 students with the same English name, but 2 or 3 who have the same Chinese name. Perhaps how the names are pronounced are different, but looking at them, to me, they look the same.

I guess it would be similar as us North Americans having two girls named Mary Smith in the class. MARY and SMITH both being rather common names, it is nothing to see that in a class.

So, that is how I got my name, or rather, names.

That’s it, that’s all… for now!

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  1. Pingback: The Four Elements

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