A Chinese couple tried to name their baby "@," claiming the character used in e-mail addresses echoed their love for the child, an official trying to whip the national language into line said Thursday.
The unusual name stands out especially in Chinese, which has no alphabet and instead uses tens of thousands of multi-stroke characters to represent words.
"The whole world uses it to write e-mail, and translated into Chinese it means 'love him'," the father explained, according to the deputy chief of the State Language Commission Li Yuming.
While "@" is familiar to Chinese e-mail users, they often use the English word "at" to sound it out -- which with a drawn out "T" sounds something like "ai ta," or "love him," to Mandarin speakers.
Li told a news conference on the state of the language that the name was an extreme example of people's increasingly adventurous approach to Chinese, as commercialization and the Internet break down conventions.
Another couple tried to give their child a name that rendered into English sounds like "King Osrina."Li did not say if officials accepted the "@" name.
Firstly, why not give your child an unusual name? If they don' like it, they can always change it: as Zowie Bowie did.
The second is, what on earth is a government doing telling people which names they may use for their children anyway? Got bugger all to do with The State, what people are called!