Help Needed for a special case!

I am Chinese male whose name is Lu Wang. Lu (路) is the first name , it means "path". Wang (王) is the last name, it means "king".  I lived in America for many years since my early 20. I am 5’8, looking fine (7 out of 10 rated by myself and a few others), have light accent speaking English. I am going to be naturalized, changing name is an option in the process, and I am not sure if I should change my name or if yes what to change to. I am not sure if name is foreign/strange for Americans and makes it harder to be assimilated, if changing it will make it easier, I would like to change my name. One thing about Chinese name is they are written in charactors, not by any spelling. The spelling of my original name is merely romanization of the Chinese charactors by an artificial rules called "PinYin". A bit more background: My name sounds more like Lu Wong instead of Lu Wang for americans.

So my first question is if I need to change my name based on the above considerations.

The second question is if yes for the first question, what name suggestion do you have?

Options I can think of is,

A. Lucas, B Louis, C Luke, D Lu

Last name option:

A King, B Wang

 

Sorry for the long question but really do not know what to do! Thanks a million!

Replies

1
April 8, 2019 12:19 AM

Sorry I see a couple typos, corrected below: Help Needed for a special case!

I am Chinese male whose name is Lu Wang. Lu (路) is the first name , it means "path". Wang (王) is the last name, it means "king".  I lived in America for many years since my early 20. I am 5’8, looking fine (7 out of 10 rated by myself and a few others), have light accent speaking English. I am going to be naturalized, changing name is an option in the process, and I am not sure if I should change my name or if yes what to change to. I am not sure if my name is foreign/strange for Americans and makes it harder to be assimilated, if changing it will make it easier, I would like to change my name. One thing about Chinese name is they are written in charactors, not by any spelling. The spelling of my original name is merely romanization of the Chinese charactors by an artificial rules called "PinYin". A bit more background: My name sounds more like Lu Vong instead of Lu Wang.

So my first question is if I need to change my name based on the above considerations.

The second question is if yes for the first question, what name suggestion do you have?

Options I can think of is,

A. Lucas, B Louis, C Luke, D Lu

Last name option:

A King, B Wang

 

Sorry for the long question but really do not know what to do! Thanks a million!

2
April 8, 2019 5:20 AM

I think Lu Wang is ok.  If you want to change it I'd pick Lucas  or lewis, Wang or king

3
April 8, 2019 11:29 PM

Hi All, Thank you everyone so much! I will reply all here. 

To be naturlized means so much to me, I will swear my allegance to the US, and from that point on, I would like to be accepted as a member of this country, fully. This is a huge mental switch, I used to consider myself as a permanant resident with a forein nationality. That was my identity to interact with everyone here in USA. Now I am, by my choice, going to be an American! I would like to be accepted fully, not only legally but also socially. So the reason why I asked the question is whether changing to a more English name would help with this. 

Can I have your affirmation, my name as a nice cross culture name are just fine given the above concerns? Please do let me know if I get it wrong.

Thanks so much!

 

4
April 7, 2019 11:59 PM

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5
April 8, 2019 4:22 AM

Hello, I am an American who has spent much of my life in Asia so this is this is my kind of naming post!  :)  That said, I think Lu Wang is exceptionally easy for Americans and you do NOT need an 'English' name at all to fit in.  It is easy to say and pronounce in English.  In fact, Lu sounds exactly like the English nickname Lou, which is short for Louis (which is also spelled Lewis).  There is also a large Chinese-diaspora population in USA, so Wang is quite a familiar name in America.  I am from rural countryside, and I still had classmates named Wang!  Another idea is that because Lu means path, you can pick the name Miles which also has that "journey" kind of feel.  However, the meaning of a name is not so important in English compared to China.  Most people choose names because of the sound only, not what it means.

I know that it's very popular in China to have a parallel English name.  In your case, I would simply suggest Louis as your "English" name.  I put English in quotes because it's French, but quite common in English-speaking countries.  There were a lot of French kings named Louis, so that's a nice connection to your family name also. 

6
April 8, 2019 4:49 AM

I agree with all of this, especially that you don't NEED to change your name, even if it were a name that is more difficult for English speakers. As it is, it couldn't be much easier.

I think you'll have to be relaxed about the pronunciation of your surname, however. Most people will not pronounce it like Vong on sight.

7
April 8, 2019 12:46 PM

A couple more add-on points... I also like Lucas as a way to get to Lu.  I also encourage spelling your surname in English the way it's pronounced.  There are a lot of people named Wong in USA, Vong is fine too although more unusual. But by all means, absolutely write it in English the way that is closer to the sounds.

If you as a Chinese man go to USA and introduce yourself with English name like "Lucas King" most people will immediately ask you what your REAL name is, and in fact you will embarrass many Americans if they think that your name is too hard or foreign for them.  They will immediately want to make you more comfortable by calling you by your Chinese name, and also show that they are internationally sensitive by pronouncing it correctly.  The rest will probably assume you were adopted by an American family and therefore not 'really' Chinese.  Awkward!  Seriously, since Lu sounds identical to the English nickname Lou, there is simply nothign to change.  The only reason to do it would be if it sounded like a bad word in English or difficult to pronounce. But Lu is perfect!  In fact it is perfect Chinese-English crossover name.

8
April 11, 2019 11:55 PM

So much agreement with what you had to say here! 

I definitely wouldn't change the family name: as a naturalized immigrant, I feel stronglty that becoming an American does not mean giving up your ancestry, and that I wouldn't change a surname unless you are estranged from your family and you particularly want to sever connections with them.

And I want to upvote what cm2530 has to say about how Lu is really already a dream crossover name. I teach at a university where a substantial fraction of my students are Asian-American, and Lewis/Louis is a name I've encountered not infrequently in that setting. So I would leave it as Lu, confident in the fact that it is an excellent name choice that many American parents are giving, and be prepared that people might spell it Lou sometimes especially if they hear your name without a surname or without other context. Most English names get misspelled, though, so that's hardly a vote against it.

9
By EVie
April 12, 2019 6:41 PM

I agree with this, though I would also say that if you think it would make your life easier, you could just change the spelling to Lou—as you've said, the English transliteration of Chinese names is completely arbitrary, and it doesn't affect the pronunciation or meaning one bit. For the same reason, I might also go ahead and change the surname spelling to whatever comes closest to your correct pronunciation. But if you think the headache of making the changes is more than the benefit you get from a slightly easier name, then you're perfectly fine sticking with it as is. I've known countless Americans, many of them native born, with names that are similar to yours and I wouldn't blink an eye at it. 

10
April 8, 2019 4:28 PM

A suggestion: use the terms "given name" and "surname" (or "family name") instead of "first name" and "last name". Lu is your given name, Wang is your surname. This makes things a bit less confusing or ambiguous, because it identifies names by their role (which is consistent between Chinese and English) instead of their position (which changes according to language).

I went to elementary through high school with a Mark Wang (pronounced with the same /a/ sound in both names), and I don't think anyone ever had any trouble with his name. I suppose there were probably people who wanted to spell it Wong upon hearing it spoken, but it looks wrong to me that way, despite my school days being decades behind me.

I agree with other commenters that Lu is a perfect Chinese-English crossover name, and it doesn't need to change. The only place I can foresee any trouble is dumb search engines or other computer interfaces that sometimes require at least three characters in their inputs, but hopefully those are few and far between, and getting rarer over time. If you *want* a different name to use in English, just for variety, then by all means, take advantage of this opportunity, but don't feel constrained to do so.

11
April 8, 2019 4:58 PM

I agree with everything that's been said. If you want to add a name, then using Lucas or Lewis/Louis as a way to get to the "nickname" Lu would make sense, but no one will have a problem if you stick with Lu. I'm not sure people would even guess that it was Asian if they just see or hear it, without your family name.

If hearing your name mispronounced bothers you, then by all means change the spelling to Vong. The only drawbacks I can think of to this is that you might meet the occasional individual who mistakenly assumes that you're part of the Chinese diaspora via Southeast Asia, and the overall hassle of a name change.

Actually, that hassle is probably worth considering--although the legal aspect will be easy for you since it's built into the naturalization process, you still will need to individually change all of your records (like credit cards, utilities, any relevant places like schools, etc.), which can be kind of a headache. Millions of people go through this every year, so it's definitely doable, but it's worth weighing in your decision.

The main reasons I can think of to change to King are if you want the meaning to be more obvious, and if you're concerned about your "on paper" presentation. As an Asian American with a very identifiably Asian surname, I can tell you that some people do make assumptions based on seeing the last name (and there have been a number of studies backing up this impression). I don't know whether there have been studies of what happens if a non-white person with a stereotypically "white" name shows up to an interview they wouldn't have gotten with an Asian name--is there just as much discrimination, only at a later stage, or is that first foot in the door actually beneficial? Whatever issues and lost opportunities my name might have caused are worth it to me to have my own name, but that's an individual decision that you should make on your own.

12
April 8, 2019 5:06 PM

You say you've lived in the US for a number of years.  None of us could say how difficult your name is for Americans better than you could!  Do people stumble over it?  Do they misspell or mispronounce it after being corrected / encountering it a few times?  Have you found it hard to live with over here?  If you've been here for an extended period of time and don't know whether you "need" to change it for ease of use, then it must not be a big problem.

13
April 20, 2019 10:56 PM

Lu Wang is a great name! If it would not bother you to have Wang pronounced incorrectly I would keep it. I think it is important to stay connected to your heritage.

Changing it might make it a little easier, that is true. You could always change it partway - for example, Luke Wang or Lu King. Sometimes Lu is a girl’s nickname in English, so hopefully that would not bother you too much. You could also spell your name Wong if you wanted to avoid the wrong pronunciations.

Here are some first name suggestions:

Lewis, Logan, Lloyd, Landon, Leo, Leonard, Leon

You could also use Lu as your last name if you wanted to keep it! For example, William Lu would be a great way to incorporate your old name and keep the same initials. It would still sound very English and would be easy to pronounce for English speakers. Many people named William are also sometimes called Will, Liam, or Bill.

More W names:

William, Weston, Wesley, Warren, Will

If you wanted to change your last name, you could try:

Wilson, Wilbur, West, Worth, Wright

I hope this helps!! Best of luck!