updated 21 Aug 2014, 08:25
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Tue, Nov 19, 2013
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Parent's love story behind name

Ms Lingual Tan
33, business development manager at Mocha Chai Laboratories

With a name like that, it would be a tad embarrassing if one is not proficient in at least one language.

Thankfully, Ms Tan is effectively bilingual in English and Mandarin.

She says: "People always ask me how many languages I can speak. Friends also pounce on the opportunity to bid me goodbye with 'Byyye... Lingual!'

Her dentists also always have a field day discussing her name, which is sometimes used to refer to lingual braces.

Oh, and her full name: Tan Ling Ling Lingual.

Yup, that's three "Lings".

There's a romantic story behind her name, though.

Her parents met and fell in love over the telephone, and therefore, her mother wanted to name her in Chinese, Ling-er, after the ringing of the phone.

Unfortunately, Ms Tan's grandfather opposed the name. This resulted in Ling-er mutating into Lingual the English name. Her Chinese name became Ling Ling instead.

She went by her Chinese name until her tertiary studies.

When she entered a mass communications course in Ngee Ann Polytechnic, her name was incorrectly entered into the registry as "Lingoal".

As a result, every lecturer struggled with the name and she had to correct each and every one of them.

She says: "In the end, everyone in class became used to saying 'her name is Lingual, as in bi-lingual. And yes, she's bi-lingual'."

Ms Tan's younger siblings go by the more common names of Terry and Vicki.

Despite all the embarrassing incidents, Ms Tan has always been proud of her name.

She says: "My name sounds quite cool, and it's easy for people to remember me."

The most bizarre experience she's had?

Last year, a colleague introduced her to a business partner at an event by the name of Verbal Chan.

Says Ms Tan: "My colleague insisted we take a photo together, because we both have names related to speaking and language. "It was very surreal experience, but also quite amusing."

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