Chinese Name

My birth name in Chinese is「晏雲杉」. The family name「晏」is believed to trace back to the third millennium BCE, where the name's first bearer is a great-grandson of the Yellow Emperor. The latter who is a legendary, deified Chinese sovereign. The given name「雲杉」refers to either the genus Picea or a spruce tree. The name is taken for the tree's straight and tall posture, despite the slow growth.

The Chinese name is legally written as「晏云杉」, as a result of two homophonous「雲/云」merged into「云」, to which I object.

The official standard Romanization of the Chinese name, Yunshan Yan, is in western naming order (given name, then family name), and is only used in legal contexts. I consider the Romanization a “code” rather than a name, since all meanings associated to the name are lost, and apparent ways to pronounce the Romanization barely resemble the actual pronunciation of the name.

English Name

My full name in English is Richard А. К. Ean. The meaning of each part is:

  • I took my first name after Richard Dawkins, a British evolutionary biologist identifying himself as a militant atheist.

  • My family name is Romanized in my own way as “Ean” with an emphasis on phonological accuracy. This differs from the Romanization by the official standard, which is more pragmaticality oriented.

  • The middles are rarely used, and when used, rarely spelt out and initials are instead used. They stand for my “ancestronyms”— patronym and matronym to be precise, as an honouring to my parents.

    I once learnt that patronyms and matronyms are common in slavic languages. And quite conviently for me, both the English names my parents have got (as getting one was fashionable during their youths) happen to have slavic variants and have patr-/matr-onymic forms.

    The initial А. stands for the patronym Андре́евич (Andreyevich), which is derived from my father's English name Andrew.

    The initial К. is supposed to stand for the matronymic form of Каролина or Кароліна (Caroline). However, I have insufficient knowledge of slavic languages to properly form a matronym for this name. If you know how, please kindly contact me.

  • Whenever possible, the middle initials are preferrably spelt with Cyrillic letters (i.e., as “А. К.”); otherwise, Latin letters (i.e., as “A. K.”) are also acceptable.

In cases where the name has to be spelt without a word separator or other obvious word divider (such as initial capitals), the name is also spelt as “richardyan”, such as in the domain name of this website.