No more "Christian name, sir?" in Kent, UK

Judy Prince jbalizsprince at GOOGLEMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 27 23:50:20 UTC 2010

Indeed, Joel.

I'm familiar with some spoken (Beijing-hwa) and written Chinese.  Typically,
I've found that the Chinese know well that our "first name, last name" is
the reverse of their "family name, 'given name'".  Hence, they are not
confused about our names, but we are Very Confused with theirs since not
only do few USAmericans know the Chinese tradition of placing the family
name first, but few of us speak Chinese, (though many Chinese speak
English), so we gather no clues from the names as to their "family-ness" or
"given name-ness".  Often, a Chinese will introduce herself here using our

As some people would say:  "Another example of American exceptionalism."



On 27 March 2010 19:39, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: No more "Christian name, sir?" in Kent, UK
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 3/27/2010 07:59 AM, Judy Prince wrote:
> >"First name" works nicely.
> But, like "forename", not for the traditional Chinese and several
> other cultures (when they're giving their name in answer to being
> questioned in English).
> Joel
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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