I came across an article, where a couple in China wants to name their son @. You read correctly, @, which prounounced in Mandarin is “ai ta” and translated in English means “love him”. It turns out that the deputy chief of the State Language Commission, turned down their request, saying
…the name was an extreme example of people’s increasingly adventurous approach to Chinese, as commercialization and the Internet break down conventions.
I shouldn’t be one to talk. I’ve had the name Genghis all my life. It’s served me well, and most people give me compliments for being named after a Mongolian barbarian. “That’s such a strong and powerful name” except of course when it’s butchered at your local Starbucks. The barrista calls my order, “Iced Grande Vanilla latte for Gingivitis”. I flee to a corner and wait a few minutes to pick up my latte as to not draw more embarrassment. I suppose @ would have a difficult time at Starbucks too.
“Hi, I’d like to order an Iced grande vanilla latte.”
“What’s your name?”, the cashier replies.
“How do you spell it?”
“@ like the symbol in your email address.”
A hush falls over Starbucks, the music stops. The cashier looks at @ in confusion.
“Nevermind, the name’s Ed.”