At some time, for some reason, during my first stay in Korea (2006-09), I decided to make a Korean name for myself. Maybe this arose out of so many of my students using English nicknames. After some consideration I settled on 음대호 (Eum Dae-Ho).
음 sounds approximately like the English letter M, the initial of my surname, and is also part of 음악 (music) and 음식 (food), a few of my favourite things. (It is a relatively rare Korean surname.)
대 sounds like the first syllable of ‘David’*, and means ‘great’ in Korean. It is part of the Korean name for the Republic of Korea (South Korea), 대한민국, Daehan Minguk, (The Republic of the Great Han People**) and of the city I was living in at the time, and will be again soon.***
호 is part of the Korean name for Australia (호주, Hoju), the core meaning of which is ‘island’.
Since I decided on that name, I’ve very rarely, if ever, seriously used it.
* I have seen the transliteration 대빗, but when my boss at the time applied for my Alien Registration Card, he used the transliteration 데이비드, so I use that spelling whenever I have to write my name in Korean.
** This Han is derived from the three confederacies of Mahan (South Han), Jinhan (East Han) and Byeonhan (Shining Han) which ruled the peninsula approximately 2000 years ago. It is unrelated to the same word used to refer to the Han Chinese people and dynasty.
*** To be semi-vague to preserve semi-anonymity, Daegu or Daejeon.
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