arhyalon (arhyalon) wrote,

Jingo Bill

One of the first people my daughter bonded with here in America is her godfather, Uncle Bill. For those of you who have not met him, he's a gentle fire giant...a big fellow with long long red hair that he wears in a braid and long, chest-lenght red beard. Quite early on, she started calling him by her own name for him: Jingo Bill.

I figured this was Chinese for Uncle Bill.

I asked some Mandarin speakers about it. To my surprise, they'd never heard the word. I figured it must mean Uncle in Cantonese.

Then, at camp, I made a comment about this to Ping-Ping's counselors. She now knew enough English to follow what I was saying. She started laughing and laughing uproariously. She then confirmed the theory that had I had been sneakily suspecting for some time.

In Chinese, e and i are pronounced differently, so our i is more like their e.

She was calling her uncle: Jingle Bell.

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