Eason and Lason
Two little personal stories about creativity, adaptation, and prejudice.
When I first heard this English name I didn’t like it much, and just chalked it up to “Chinese creativity” with English. Later I realize that “Eason” was actually the transcription (back to English) of the Chinese mispronunciation of “Ethan.” The spelling is a reasonable mix of the word “easy” and the name “Jason.” This made me like it less.
But then, after more observation and reflection, I realized that “Eason” is actually in some ways better than “Ethan” within a Chinese context, because older Chinese people here without any English skills can actually say “Eason,” whereas they have little hope of ever pronouncing the [θ] sound in “Ethan.”
So while I can’t say I like this name (the Name Nazi in me still insists that it’s not a real name), I get it now, and I have a newfound appreciation for it.
This is a name that always struck me as quite unusual. I assumed it was just a creative alternation of the name “Jason.” (Or maybe a kid wrote a backwards J that looked like an L, and thus “Lason” was born?)
After my realization about Eason, though, I suspect that this one is a double-whammy of mispronunciations converted back into English. This could be your standard “s” for “th” pronunciation substitution, combined with a (less intuitive) “L” for “N” substitution that you get in some Chinese regional accents. Hence, “Lason” from “Nathan.”
This English name has the additional amusing feature of sounding (to the Chinese) like the Chinese title for Thor, God of Thunder: 雷神 (Léi Shén).
I must admit, I struggle a bit more to accept this one. Not sure if it’s the perceived “double whammy of English mispronunciations” that does it, or if it’s the old Name Nazi prejudices, or if it’s just something aesthetic about it.
But anyway, Lason is gonna be Lason. My opinion doesn’t matter a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. An educator has influence, sure, but if Chinese society raises a whole generation of Lasons, they can change the landscape of English names globally. That’s kind of cool.