Friday, August 17, 2007

Chinese Parents Try to Name Baby '@'

China is in the midst of a phenomenon whereby parents are giving their new-born children increasingly bizarre names. One couple intend to call their child '@', the English 'at' symbol which sounds like 'love him' in Chinese.

With just 127 surnames shared by 87% of the population, originality is tough. Traditionally, new or foreign concepts are notoriously difficult to introduce into the Chinese language because the written form appears as characters rather than letters.

This is further complicated by a national identity card system which does not usually allow for "unfamiliar characters", although it did permit 60 million names that included them last year.

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