Xiaoyang Sean Wang
Dorothean Professor

Department of Computer Science, University of VermontBurlington, Vermont



Why "Sean"?

My first name "Xiaoyang" consists of two Chinese characters: "Xiao" for early Morning, and "Yang" for the Sun. (In Chinese 王晓阳.) Unfortunately, native American-speakers are notorious in pronouncing "X" followed by three (3!) vowels, and many would thus "murder" all the senses of Morning Sun from the name when they say it! Obviously, whenever that happens, I want to do something about it.

Actually, "Xiaoyang" in the Shanghai dialect (the city where I grew up) sounds even nicer than the official mandarin pronunciation. When said in Shanghai dialect in a little bit fast way, "Xiaoyang" roughly sounds like Sean (which is Irish for "John", and pronounced roughly "Shawn", definitely NOT "Scene"). And I like this. Besides, it does not hurt to mention that a certain actor who bears this first name has had some marvelous movies that I like.

Now whenever somebody calls me "Sean", it reminds me of the people I know from my days in Shanghai, and by extention to all the people I know from everywhere who are dear to me. And then I should be happy. So please, either say it in Chinese (better yet, in Shanghai dialect!), or use "Sean" (to mimic that).