Friday, June 10, 2011

The Vietnamese meaning of my name TAM

The Vietnamese definition of my name Tam (10610) by CherriiPOP

My name Tam is quite a common Vietnamese name. It’s a unisex name, its equally common for boys and girls.

I attended Vietnamese School for a large proportion of my life. I remember in my year 7 class there were 3 people (including myself) with the name Tam. I was the only girl Tam in the class. When the teacher did roll call, he had to differentiate between us by calling our middle name and then our first name.

Sometimes when the teacher picked on students to answer the question, he’ll say Tam. All 3 of us would go – who? It’s quite funny. It happened in like most classes.

A lot of people have asked if my name was short for anything like Tamara, Tammy, Tamato… But no my name is just Tam, short and plain in the English Language.

My name in Vietnamese isn’t fancy either. The girls in my Vietnamese class had really pretty Vietnamese names. They were named after flowers like blossom (dao), rose (hong), Chrysanthemum (cuc), even the word flower (Hoa). Other popular names are seasons: Autumn (Thu), Spring (Xuan). And then there are a lot of girls named Angel (Tien).

Back to my name Tam, I wouldn’t describe it as a pretty name in Vietnamese. But it has a deep meaning. My name is a bit hard to explain, it’s a bit of a layered name. That’s how I see it. My name means heart and mind – it has a spiritual essence.

I looked up the definition on a web dictionary, this is what it said: Man’s good heart mind centre, heart. It’s a bit abstract.

While a lot of Vietnamese girls were named after flowers, heavenly beings, seasons. I was named after 2 body organs. The upside is, they are important organs. One is the control centre, the other is the engine. That’s the meaning of my name.

Let’s get in to the sound of my name. If I pronounced my name in Vietnamese it is Tam. It sounds like the word ‘dumb’ in English. My name has a soft ‘t’ sound. So Tam. My siblings tease me and call me ‘dumb’. Hey ‘dumb’. You’re ‘dumb’.

When I was I think 7 years old. My uncle asked me, do you know what your name means? I had no idea, so I shook my head. My mum hadn’t explained to me what my named meant yet. So my uncle points to a toothpick and says “That’s what your name means toothpick.

I’m like “toothpick?”

I go running to my mum and asked her, “does my name really mean toothpick?”

She goes “NO! The two words sound the same but they are spelt differently. Your name has a hat accent on the a; and toothpick has a wok accent on the a.”

Then she went on to explain what my name meant.

I can make a whole stand up routine about the meaning of my name name. Aren’t languages fascinating?

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