Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What’s in a Name?

by Thao Nguyen

After researching books, the Internet, and interviewing my mother, I have discovered what my name, Nguyễn Thị Thu Thảo, means.  To start with, "Nguyễn” was chosen as my last name,  in Vietnam, the last name is given first because Vietnamese tradition states to take the surname of one's father. Nguyễn is the most common Vietnamese family name.

In addition, “Thị” is my middle name; Thị (Diospyros decandra,) is a tropical tree in the Ebony family. Its flowers are white. It is a popular tree in Vietnam. “Thị” usually used popularly in the middle name of Vietnam woman. Also, everyone always calls “Thị” if they don’t know the name of women. In addition, “Thu” is my second middle name and is known as “Mùa thu” which means fall in United States. The fall scene is beautiful and romantic, according to the culture of Vietnam conception; If the women was born in fall then they will have happiness and be lucky in life.

Lastly,"Thảo" which means "grass" or "obedient" in Vietnam. It came originally from Chinese-Vietnamese language. Three of my family’s generations had four persons with my first name. All of them have passed away. My family has used “Thảo” currently as the first name for five persons including me. More importantly, the name "Nguyễn Thị Thu Thảo" was chosen because my mother believed that in giving me the name I would be beautiful as leaves in fall. My beloved ones and my friends call me “Thu Thảo” known as “grass in fall”.


Source of Information

Chinese-Vietnamese Dictionary Commercial Press 2005 1st Edition

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