Friday, November 6, 2009

Translingual Name Convergence

Arlington National Cemetery, July 2009. Lt. Gen. Claire Lee Chennault (b. Commerce, TX) led the "Flying Tigers" division against the Japanese in WWII. He later adopted the Chinese name Chen Na-De (陳纳德), a phonetic approximation of "Chennault" which appears on the reverse of his tombstone (right-hand photo, above).

It just so happened Chennault married a Beijing-born woman named 陳香梅 (Chen Xiang-mei), who was later known as Anna Chen Chennault. In this case the wife took her husband's name (Chennault), but one could equally say that the husband took his wife's (陳 = Chen).

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