There's no you in Yong…

By Ed Yong | March 26, 2009 9:28 pm

Apropos of nothing, a whinge: my name has no u in it. It rhymes with “song” not “sung” and “long” but not “lung”.
I’m fairly used to people adding in the errant u but for some reason, this has been annoying me of late. Seriously, there are only four letters, six if you count the first name too. It can’t possibly be that hard.
Ed Young is another person entirely, who looks not entirely unlike a Terminator on happy pills. And while he has written more books than me, they’re, er, of a different ilk.


Comments (8)

  1. PZ Meyers (sic) has this problem a lot too (is “Meyer” a common spelling in the US, or is he just getting confused with, say, Stephen Meyer?). And let’s not even get started on Richard Hawkings…

  2. I clicked through and was all, that’s not Ed Young!
    Seriously, I’ve never heard of that other guy. In my circles, if you say “Ed Young,” you mean “that totally awesome children’s illustrator.”
    (Which still doesn’t help with the problem you’ve got; that Ed Young writes a different kind of book than you, too.)

  3. Ian

    You already wrote a book, now it’s time to put out a song. The Goons, of which Spike Milligan was a member, put out a record called “The Ying Tong Song” years ago (maybe it was Yin Tong but it’s close enough!).
    You need to re-record that, call it “The Yong Thing”, add a few “sciency” terms to it, and release it.
    I guarantee no one will ever confuse you again!

  4. I gave up trying to get people to say my last name (Switek) right years ago.

  5. Ian

    Brian (Laelaps) – you missed a golden opportunity here to actually tell us how it’s pronounced!
    My first impulse would be to pronounce it Swy-tek, but I can also see it being Swee-tek, or even Swittek. C’mon, you can’t keep us guessing like this, especially since you brought it up!

  6. I didn’t know about that Ed Young either. Nobody ever gets my name right. Even my publishers have to be reminded. And forget the phone. When I say my name people say “Gillian? Willow? (And assorted other names but not mine!)” Nobody knows how to pronounce my last name (rhyme with Mattel) or spell it either. I sympathize.

  7. Interrobang

    Nobody ever spells my name right, although they usually pronounce it correctly. I have two apparently uncommon (in North America) variants of two fairly common names. Go figure.
    For what it’s worth, I think it’s often hard for western people with limited exposure to Chinese names to know how to pronounce them (we need to get out more, I guess). I knew a woman from Shanghai who spelled her name “Tong Fang” in English letters, but both names rhymed with “song” or “Yong,” go figure.

  8. Kim

    While I sympathise with your plight – I would like nothing better than to be called by the name my parents gave me, the cultural difference of living in Asia mean that it is never going to happen – the written version of an Asian name is never definitive, it is merely how the person has decided to portray the character that is their name.
    I’ve enjoyed my visit and look forward to more interesting articles.


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