One of the first people my daughter bonded with here in America is her godfather, Uncle Bill. For those of you who have not met him, he’s a gentle fire giant…a big fellow with long long red hair that he wears in a braid and long, chest-lenght red beard. Quite early on, she started calling him by her own name for him: Jingo Bill.
I figured this was Chinese for Uncle Bill.
I asked some Mandarin speakers about it. To my surprise, they’d never heard the word. I figured it must mean Uncle in Cantonese.
Then, at camp, I made a comment about this to Ping-Ping’s counselors. She now knew enough English to follow what I was saying. She started laughing and laughing uproariously. She then confirmed the theory that had I had been sneakily suspecting for some time.
In Chinese, e and i are pronounced differently, so our i is more like their e.
She was calling her uncle: Jingle Bell.