I am a teacher and in my teaching career I have probably taught thousands of students. And of those, quite a few have called me Baby Teacher.
As you may or may not know, I teach English in Korea. Normally, Korean students called their teachers seonsaeng-nim, which, like the Japanese sensei, just means “teacher”. If they need to distinguish between teachers, they add the teacher’s last name before it, as in “Kim seongsaeng-nim.”
I have my students call me David. That is the opposite of the norm here, since Koreans usually only call friends and social inferiors by their first name. I wouldn’t do that if I was teaching in North America, but over here, foreign English teachers are outside all the rules of normal engagement, so it doesn’t really matter. However, a lot of them still stick “teacher” on the end of my name to mimic the Korean style.
So how does “baby” come into it? It has to do with Korean pronunciation rules. First of all, Korean doesn’t have a “v” sound, so my name automatically becomes “Dabid”. As well, Korean doesn’t have any syllables that end with a “d”, so my name gets stretched to three syllables, as in “day-bi-deu”. This means the second syllable is now open, which in Korean means that the “i” gets changed to an “ee” sound, and we end up with “day-bee-deu”. Take off the last syllable and it’s suspiciously close to “baby”.
Of course I correct them and they usually do it just to be brats. Still, I’ve gotten used to it. I’m sure I could be walking down the road in America and if an elementary school student yelled “Hey baby!”, I’d probably just smile and wave.
April 23rd, 2013 at 2:50 pm
I think Justin Bieber wrote a song about you…
April 23rd, 2013 at 2:57 pm
*shudder* I am not, nor ever will be a “belieber”
April 23rd, 2013 at 2:58 pm
That’s a good thing! 😀
April 23rd, 2013 at 2:58 pm
Oh, you’re so cute….look at you teaching up there, Daybee. That’s just sweet that’s what this is. I think that’s my new nickname for you…Daybee.
April 23rd, 2013 at 3:07 pm
Well, okay…because it’s you. 🙂 Should I call you A-mee?
April 24th, 2013 at 1:25 am
Day-bee, but I already am A-mee. Ha ha.
April 24th, 2013 at 1:44 pm
I know. (sigh) Some people are lucky to have phonetically simple names. 😉
April 24th, 2013 at 12:24 am
Aw, Daybee that’s hilarious. I love learning about differences in languages and pronunciation, especially when it’s funny!
April 24th, 2013 at 12:38 am
Hi Daybee! My name has a V and a G in it, which my Korean friends turn to a B and an L. Four years now they still can’t get it right. Oh well, it’s sweet 🙂
April 24th, 2013 at 1:45 pm
Yes, it does sound kind of cute in Korean.
April 24th, 2013 at 6:36 pm
I just wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and let you know that I’ve nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger award!
April 24th, 2013 at 6:52 pm
Thank you so much! I really appreciate it. 🙂
April 24th, 2013 at 11:19 pm
Daybee. That’s funny. As long as they don’t start throwing pacifiers at your feet, you should be okay. 😉
April 24th, 2013 at 11:30 pm
Yeah, really. I might have to put down at that point. 🙂
April 25th, 2013 at 9:13 am
It’s nice to remain Forever Young – in this case, perhaps a little too young 🙂
April 25th, 2013 at 6:01 pm
Yeah, really. It’s nice to get a bit of respect after a while.
April 28th, 2013 at 3:04 pm
May 2nd, 2013 at 3:06 pm
May 15th, 2013 at 8:50 pm
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