이민자

My wife has a very good friend named Min-ja Lee (이민자). I was suprised to see her name on the front page of one of Sydney’s Korean-language community newspapers. Except it wasn’t. 이민자 (i-min-ja) is also the Korean word for immigration, and the story was about how the number of visa holders to coming to Australia has fallen in the wake of new regulations brought in by the Australian government recently.

I asked my wife about this, and she said that all Koreans are aware that this rather common name is a real Korean word. I am trying to think of a real English name which is a real English word. This Buzzfeed article (your sensitivity and sense of humour may vary) doesn’t provide any, and joke names like Amanda Hugginkiss aren’t ‘a’ word.

I previously knew the related Korean word 이민 (immigrant), which is often used to advertise migration services; they are immigrant agents rather than immigration agents. Although the surname 이 is pronounced Lee in English, it is pronounced ee in Korean, for reasons I’ve never been able to discover.

PS (soon after): I browsed through the Wikipedia article on The Simpsons crank calls (linked with reference to Amanda Hugginkiss) and noticed in the very last entry the name Lee Kebum (figure it out for yourself) (extreme sensitivity warning about the last part of the dialogue). Bart specifies “last name Kebum, first name Lee”. But Lee is a Korean surname (as above) and Kebum is one possible transliteration of 기범 (see here for 범 > bum/beom). So is 기범 a real Korean name, and does anyone really have it? Yes, 기범 (wiki page in Korean, transliterated Lee Gi Bum) is the coach of the reserve team of the Korean soccer club Daejeon Citizen. Searching in English, I found that Ki-Bum Lee is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University, and Gi Bum Lee is the inventor of a “plasma display panels” for LG Electronics. I don’t know if the Simpsons writers or those three men know about each other.

PPS (soon after again): Oooohhhh, I thought of one – Jo(e) King. The more-female version has exactly the same letters as joking, but English names are always spaced.

PPPS (next morning): Don Key, and my father said he had a bank customer named John Quill. Note also that the given name + surname John Stone is the same as the surname Johnstone.

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