Names Across Languages and Cultures: A Case Study of the British PM’s New Chinese Nickname

London Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Sciences
Volume | Issue | Compilation
Authored by Wang Feng , Zu Yun
Classification: FOR Code: 200399
Keywords: nickname; misunderstanding; linguistic; cultural; social; onomastics.
Language: English

Names across languages and cultures need more bi-linguistic, bi-cultural and bi-social insights, but they are not well studied yet. A case study on the British PM’s New Chinese Nickname “Auntie May” can shed special light on this under-explored but important topic. “Auntie May” was coined by the Chinese to show affection and enhance international relations However, this nickname caused great misunderstanding in the UK. Based on qualitative analyses of the comments on the website of Independent and that of Tianya in China, the different receptions of the same name are contrasted and analyzed. It is found that such misunderstanding may lie in the different perception of kinterms, different cultural connotations, different social dynamics, and different expectations of the PM. We encourage further research and discussion about other misunderstandings of names across languages and cultures to ensure that those differences are analyzed, respected and negotiated in ever-increasing intercultural communications.


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