How many names do you have?

If you use Facebook, have you ever had a friend who changed his/her name and you end up confused for a bit as to who in the world this person could be? That happened to me (again!) recently. I asked my friend who he changed his name and he said he changed it to his African name, since he got tired of his English one. The conversation progressed and today he asked me, “How many names do u have?”

And so, I decided to answer that question here!

English: Keneil

My parents named me Keneil. For years, I’ve been trying to learn what it means and my parents don’t  know either. It is actually a far more common name in Jamaica than I thought it was. People often call me Ken.

Japanese: 洸野剣

We developed a culture in Japanese class to choose Japanese names for ourselves. The name Ken (ケン) came to me pretty easily for obvious reasons. I knew the Japanese word 剣 (Ken, meaning sword) and so chose that kanji for my name.

So, then came the surname (in Japanese, the surname is first, then the given name). I always liked the kanji 光, light. And then, I randomly happened upon this kanji: 洸, ‘kou’, meaning sparkling/shining water. Instantly, I fell in love with it because it was so unique. And then embracing the naming scheme of one of the animes I used to watch as a child, I came up with 洸野, that second kanji being pronounced ‘no’.

So, わたくしは洸野剣と申します。

Hebrew: קְמוּאֵל שְׁמעָיָה

My very first Hebrew teacher told me that some people who learn Hebrew choose a Hebrew name for themselves and that sounded like fun!

It’s kind of a double-bar name. The first part, קמואל, Kemuel, seems to be a very uncommon name in Hebrew. Possibly because of negative connotations. (One Israeli friend showed me this link and told me to read the second section. I’m still not versed enough to read it without a headache…) It basically means “established by God” or something like that. The latter part, שמעיה, Shemaya, means “Yah hears”.

They’re both names that can be found in the Bible. (English translations would have it as “Shemaiah”.) I tend to go by just Kemuel, though. Shorter.

ובכן, שמי קמואל!׳


And this is my most recent name!

If you don’t know how a name sign works, it is basically a sign that is used as your name. In the JSL culture, it usually has the first letter of your name (and sometimes the first letter of your surname) incorporated into it and it must be given by a Deaf person, so you can’t choose your own.

Here’s the story behind mine. It was my “Deaf day”. For a course I took, I had to be “Deaf” for a day; ignore all auditory stimuli and and spend at least 3 hours with Deaf. So, I spent mine at a Deaf primary school. I had a mohawk that day, so that became the focus on my name sign. Hehe. There were two options and I preferred this one, chosen by a sweet, soft-spoken (soft-signed…?) little girl.

So, those are my names in the different languages I study. It’s actually quite fun to have 4 names!

This entry was posted in Patwa, 日本語, עברית and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How many names do you have?

  1. read.robin says:

    You’re definitely Mr. Multilingual with all those names, haha.

    The first time I ever heard about sign language (and seriously thought about Deaf people) was through a Babysitter’s Club book. I always wanted a name sign like the characters in that book, but I didn’t know it had to be given by a Deaf person. Thanks for sharing! 🙂


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