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Friday Five: My Name

This is taken from thefridayfive, but I would up stealing it from twirlandswirl. I haven't done a Friday Five in ages, not since the original Friday five at fridayfive.org. Wow. After running a search in my old blog, that was a long time ago. This week's looked really interesting, though, so here we go.

1. Are you named after anyone? If so, explain.
No, I'm not. However, my mother is Korean, so she gave me (the girl) a Korean name as well. However, my middle name is a quasi-traditional middle name that also begs to be butchered. If I go on for much longer, there won't be much purpose in answering the other questions.

2. Do you have your children's names picked out already? If so, is there any significance?
Again, I don't. I'm not even planning on kids at the moment, but occasionally I think about it. I've always thought it would be cool to name the kids after fictional characters (not characters who die, of course!), but naming a kid after Harry Potter or Bilbo Baggins would be a bit cruel, don't you think? I could never name a kid after my own characters, which is why I'm keeping track of all the names I use for characters. After so many works of fiction, this is especially important. That would be terrible if I named a kid and then realize, "Wait a minute. I killed off a character by the same name back in [year]." It would be even worse if that work of fiction became famous, and the kid had to live with that name. That's just begging for a name change right there. It makes me wonder what the real-life Harry Potters do.

3. If you were born a member of the opposite sex what would your name have been?
I don't know, but I can make a few deductions. Mum and Dad made a deal about naming kids--if they had a girl, Mum got to name her; and if they had a boy, Dad got to name him. This worked quite well: Mum named me, and Dad named Jeffrey. So if I were a boy, I would probably have a name that most people find easier to pronounce (although Sujin is a phonetically pronounced name) and that wouldn't be butchered as easily or as often. Jeffrey's name is butchered occasionally, but not as often as mine, and not as easily. All people do to it is spell it Jeffery instead of Jeffrey, something I have yet to figure out.

4. If you could re-name yourself what name would you pick and why?
I don't know. I really don't. Of course, if I wanted to assume a new identity, I wouldn't tell that many people what new identity I would assume because that would involve shutting down my past so nobody would find out. When I was little, I would play pretend, and I would go through phases of having certain favourite names, like Melanie or Meredith or Natalie. Come to think of it, if Nat's real name weren't so awful (no, it's not Natalie), I could assume her identity. I don't know if I'd want to do that, though. She's moody enough as it is. The world doesn't need two of us. Actually, the world can hardly stand one of me. I don't know what the world's going to do if another me-like person comes along.

5. Are there any mispronunciations/typos that people do with your name constantly?
YES YES YES. Ahem. Excuse the enthusiasm. That's just nineteen years of seeing and hearing the sad results of name-butchering. First, let's get two things straight. It's spelled Sujin and pronounced exactly the way it looks. With that in mind, let's continue. The one I see the most is Sujen. Even some teachers get this wrong after having me in class for months. I don't get that. Then some will throw in hyphens or throw in more vowels than necessary, so eventually you get something like Sue-jen. Bwah? Some will even replace the hyphen with a space split it into two words, like Su Jin. Now the other Sujin at Agnes (who spells her name differently, and yes, there is another one) spells her name in two parts, and I suppose we can blame the Hangul (Korean alphabet)-to-English translation.

Wow, I haven't even started on pronunciation yet. Some will pronounce it Su-jeen (this is typical of the older population, although the head of the French department at Agnes still tends to do this as well). Some will pronounce it Sow-jin. Yes, just about any interpretation of the "ow" sound will work for this pronunciation. Some will just give up and call me Susan or Suzanne, meaning I have to get used to answering one of those. In my world civ class senior year, the professor got my first name right but butchered my last name! Considering my last name is also phonetic and not exactly rare in American society, this was a first for me. After years of name-butchering, I have much empathy with people who possess hard-to-pronounce names.
***
Now for some tidbits on my name that just didn't fit in these questions.

I hated my name--my full name--for years. Nobody could pronounce it, everyone else had nice normal names, and I wanted a nice normal name too. I think this is why I always chose "nice normal" names when I played pretend: just so I could be "normal" for a few hours. While everyone else would give out their middle name on request, I wouldn't. I hated it. Even though it wasn't Korean like my first name, nobody could spell it or pronounce it, even though it's not exactly rare.

Then fifth grade came. In my elementary school, the fifth grade promotion was a graduation of sorts, which involved hearing your full name being called out to the audience as you walked across the stage. I didn't want the whole world knowing my middle name, so I hid it. My then-best friend tried to convince me to tell her since we'd find out anyway, but I wouldn't. After all, she had a nice normal name (I had fun pointing out the historical significance in it...yes, I was a nerd even back then). I finally caved in and told her, expecting laughter. I didn't get laughter. Instead I got a "Cool!"

It was around late middle school or early high school that I came to terms with my name and finally appreciated it. After all, I was always the only Sujin in a class, so I never needed to put my last name on papers, unlike those with more common names that sometimes appeared more than once in a classroom. Nobody ever had to ask "Which one?" when asking about me. Plus, I was different from everyone else, and my name came to reflect that.

Then college came, and as I mentioned earlier, I met someone with the same name. Since this had never happened before, I was rather shocked, especially after finding out she was in my year. Someone once asked Stephanie, a friend of mine, how people tell us apart. Ignoring the fact that the other Sujin is a pureblood Korean, and I'm a halfblood, and that we are pretty different in personality, she replied, "Well, one's last name is [Korean last name], and the other's is [uncommon American last name]."

Yet my name describes me. I'm a mishmash. A mishmash of interests, a mishmash of experiences, a mishmash of friends, all in one person.

[Afternote: I just spent almost an hour writing this. Wow.]

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
twirlandswirl
Jul. 29th, 2006 12:17 am (UTC)
Abnormal, linguistically mismatched name love!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )