History UsefulNotes / ChineseNames

23rd Oct '16 8:47:16 AM Wuz
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Amusingly, China's enormous and growing population has led to a number of problems, including one less well-known than most of the rest: not enough names. Chinese naming traditions mean that there are a fairly restricted number of possible names, and therefore a lot of people with the same name (rather like all the Joneses in Wales). As a result, younger Chinese people have developed a habit of giving themselves a nickname, often picked entirely at random, to distinguish from each other. There are a large number of Chinese kids called things like Wang "[[Literature/HarryPotter Harry]]" Xiao or Ling "Michael" (as in Jordan) Hui

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Amusingly, China's enormous and growing population has led to a number of problems, including one less well-known than most of the rest: not enough names. Chinese naming traditions mean that there are a fairly restricted number of possible names, and therefore a lot of people with the same name (rather like all the Joneses in Wales). As a result, younger Chinese people have developed a habit of giving themselves a nickname, often picked entirely at random, to distinguish from each other. There are a large number of Chinese kids called things like Wang "[[Literature/HarryPotter Harry]]" Xiao or Ling "Michael" (as in Jordan) HuiHui.
23rd Oct '16 8:47:10 AM Wuz
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There are a lot of family names (several hundred according to TheOtherWiki), but a handful dominate: Zhang, Li, Wang, a couple dozen others. These are usually one syllable, though two syllable surnames do exist. Perhaps the most famous one is Zhuge, as in Zhuge Liang (and Sima, as in his rival Sima Yi) from the ''RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms''.[[note]]And, as a further note to start us off here, remember that being two symbols that's two ''sounds'', so his name is pronounced "zhu-geh", '''''not''''' "zhooj"; the name is occasionally even spelled Zhu Ge or Zhu-Ge to help make pronunciation clear, and sometimes other people with two-symbol names will do the same, but it varies to personal preference and awareness.[[/note]] A rather famous poem from the early Song Dynasty, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Family_Surnames "Hundred Family Surnames"]] ( 百家姓 , Bǎijiāxìng), lists some five hundred surnames used at that time. The phrase "Bǎixìng" is also a conventional phrase for the people at large.

to:

There are a lot of family names (several hundred according to TheOtherWiki), but a handful dominate: Zhang, Li, Wang, a couple dozen others. These are usually one syllable, though two syllable surnames do exist. Perhaps the most famous one is Zhuge, as in Zhuge Liang (and Sima, as in his rival Sima Yi) from the ''RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms''.[[note]]And, as a further note to start us off here, remember that being two symbols that's two ''sounds'', so his name is pronounced "zhu-geh", '''''not''''' "zhooj"; the name is occasionally even spelled Zhu Ge or Zhu-Ge to help make pronunciation clear, and sometimes other people with two-symbol names will do the same, but it varies to personal preference and awareness.[[/note]] A rather famous poem from the early Song Dynasty, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Family_Surnames "Hundred Family Surnames"]] ( 百家姓 (百家姓 , Bǎijiāxìng), lists some five hundred surnames used at that time. The phrase "Bǎixìng" is also a conventional phrase for the people at large.



Almost all famous historical figures you come across will have at least two or three names. Taking up "style names" were popular for public use while reserving their real names for intimates. The RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms provides a number of examples: Zhuge Liang is Kongming, Zhao Yun is Zilong, and so on. Each of them would have the given name, and then have a "zi", which is basically another given name for more intimate occasions, and probably at least one "style name" (as mentioned above). This results in IHaveManyNames, and they're usually used in the place of the given name (example: "Zhuge Kongming" and "Zhao Zilong").

to:

Almost all famous historical figures you come across will have at least two or three names. Taking up "style names" were popular for public use while reserving their real names for intimates. The RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms ''Literature/RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'' provides a number of examples: Zhuge Liang is Kongming, Zhao Yun is Zilong, and so on. Each of them would have the given name, and then have a "zi", which is basically another given name for more intimate occasions, and probably at least one "style name" (as mentioned above). This results in IHaveManyNames, and they're usually used in the place of the given name (example: "Zhuge Kongming" and "Zhao Zilong").



Amusingly, China's enormous and growing population has led to a number of problems, including one less well-known than most of the rest: not enough names. Chinese naming traditions mean that there are a fairly restricted number of possible names, and therefore a lot of people with the same name (rather like all the Joneses in Wales). As a result, younger Chinese people have developed a habit of giving themselves a nickname, often picked entirely at random, to distinguish from each other. There are a large number of Chinese kids called things like Wang "[[Literature/HarryPotter Harry]]" Xiao or Ling "Michael" (as in Jordan) Hue.

to:

Amusingly, China's enormous and growing population has led to a number of problems, including one less well-known than most of the rest: not enough names. Chinese naming traditions mean that there are a fairly restricted number of possible names, and therefore a lot of people with the same name (rather like all the Joneses in Wales). As a result, younger Chinese people have developed a habit of giving themselves a nickname, often picked entirely at random, to distinguish from each other. There are a large number of Chinese kids called things like Wang "[[Literature/HarryPotter Harry]]" Xiao or Ling "Michael" (as in Jordan) Hue. Hui
23rd Oct '16 8:45:10 AM Wuz
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Amusingly, China's enormous and growing population has led to a number of problems, including one less well-known than most of the rest: not enough names. Chinese naming traditions mean that there are a fairly restricted number of possible names, and therefore a lot of people with the same name (rather like all the Joneses in Wales). As a result, younger Chinese people have developed a habit of giving themselves a nickname, often picked entirely at random, to distinguish from each other. There are a large number of Chinese kids called things like Wang [[Literature/HarryPotter Harry]] Xiao or Ling Michael (as in Jordan) Hue.
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<<|UsefulNotes/{{China}}|>>

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Amusingly, China's enormous and growing population has led to a number of problems, including one less well-known than most of the rest: not enough names. Chinese naming traditions mean that there are a fairly restricted number of possible names, and therefore a lot of people with the same name (rather like all the Joneses in Wales). As a result, younger Chinese people have developed a habit of giving themselves a nickname, often picked entirely at random, to distinguish from each other. There are a large number of Chinese kids called things like Wang [[Literature/HarryPotter Harry]] "[[Literature/HarryPotter Harry]]" Xiao or Ling Michael "Michael" (as in Jordan) Hue.
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<<|UsefulNotes/{{China}}|>>
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15th Aug '16 6:25:35 AM Morgenthaler
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Many Chinese figures are not generally referred to by name. {{Confucius}} and Sun Tzu are not names per se, but rather titles that are conventionally translated 'Master Kong' and 'Master Sun.' Similarly, [[{{Laozi}} Lao Tzu]] is the Old Master.

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Many Chinese figures are not generally referred to by name. {{Confucius}} Creator/{{Confucius}} and Sun Tzu are not names per se, but rather titles that are conventionally translated 'Master Kong' and 'Master Sun.' Similarly, [[{{Laozi}} [[Creator/{{Laozi}} Lao Tzu]] is the Old Master.
6th Jan '16 10:40:49 PM SneaselSawashiro
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Almost all famous historical figures you come across will have at least two or three names. Taking up "style names" were popular for public use while reserving their real names for intimates. The RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms provides a number of examples: Zhuge Liang is Kongming, Zhao Yun is Zilong, and so on. Each of them would have the given name, and then have a "zi", which is basically another given name for more intimate occasions, and probably at least one "style name" (as mentioned above). This results in IHaveManyNames.

to:

Almost all famous historical figures you come across will have at least two or three names. Taking up "style names" were popular for public use while reserving their real names for intimates. The RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms provides a number of examples: Zhuge Liang is Kongming, Zhao Yun is Zilong, and so on. Each of them would have the given name, and then have a "zi", which is basically another given name for more intimate occasions, and probably at least one "style name" (as mentioned above). This results in IHaveManyNames.
IHaveManyNames, and they're usually used in the place of the given name (example: "Zhuge Kongming" and "Zhao Zilong").
2nd Sep '15 9:21:01 PM RoseAndHeather
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Nicknames are common, though the lack of common names means that there are no 'standard' nicknames like Tom for Thomas. Children are frequently called by one syllable repeated twice and people may receive other nicknames later in life. Most commonly, older men may be called "Lao (Last Name)" (Old ____), and younger men and women may be called "Xiao (Last Name)" (Little/Young ____).

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Nicknames are common, though the lack of common names means that there are no 'standard' nicknames like Tom for Thomas. Children are frequently called by one syllable repeated twice twice[[note]]as anyone remotely interested in Chinese gymnasts will find out when they start asking who 'Nannan' is -- that would be Yao Jinnan, Olympian and 2014 uneven bars world champion[[/note]] and people may receive other nicknames later in life. Most commonly, older men may be called "Lao (Last Name)" (Old ____), and younger men and women may be called "Xiao (Last Name)" (Little/Young ____).
19th Aug '15 2:59:36 PM HeraldAlberich
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More recently, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_Sun_Yat-sen Sun Yat-Sen]] is generally known in Chinese as Sun Zhongshan instead of his 'official' name used in family records. Yat-Sen itself a romanization of the [[ChineseDialectsAndAccents Cantonese pronunciation]] of the name his teacher took when he first went to school, while "Zhongshan" was a pseudonym adopted while in exile in Japan, where he took the surname Nakayama (read Zhongsan in Chinese) [[LineOfSightName from a sign on a palace near Hibiya Park in Tokyo]]. (His ''legal'' name is Sun Wen). On the other hand, Chiang Kai-shek is another name that passed into English via Cantonese-- but that's not his legal name either; his legal name is Zhongzheng, adopted relatively late in his life; Kai-shek (Jieshi in Mandarin) is his style name.

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More recently, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_Sun_Yat-sen Sun Yat-Sen]] is generally known in Chinese as Sun Zhongshan instead of his 'official' name used in family records. Yat-Sen itself a romanization of the [[ChineseDialectsAndAccents [[UsefulNotes/ChineseDialectsAndAccents Cantonese pronunciation]] of the name his teacher took when he first went to school, while "Zhongshan" was a pseudonym adopted while in exile in Japan, where he took the surname Nakayama (read Zhongsan in Chinese) [[LineOfSightName from a sign on a palace near Hibiya Park in Tokyo]]. (His ''legal'' name is Sun Wen). On the other hand, Chiang Kai-shek is another name that passed into English via Cantonese-- but that's not his legal name either; his legal name is Zhongzheng, adopted relatively late in his life; Kai-shek (Jieshi in Mandarin) is his style name.
1st Aug '15 4:21:53 PM SpaceDrake
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There are a lot of family names (several hundred according to TheOtherWiki), but a handful dominate: Zhang, Li, Wang, a couple dozen others. These are usually one syllable, though two syllable surnames do exist. Perhaps the most famous one is Zhuge, as in Zhuge Liang (and Sima, as in his rival Sima Yi) from the ''RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms''.[[note]]And, as a further note to start us off here, remember that being two symbols that's two ''sounds'', so his name is pronounced "zhu-geh", not "zhooj"; the name is occasionally even spelled Zhu Ge or Zhu-Ge to help make pronunciation clear, and sometimes other people with two-symbol names will do the same, but it varies to personal preference and awareness.[[/note]] A rather famous poem from the early Song Dynasty, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Family_Surnames "Hundred Family Surnames"]] ( 百家姓 , Bǎijiāxìng), lists some five hundred surnames used at that time. The phrase "Bǎixìng" is also a conventional phrase for the people at large.

to:

There are a lot of family names (several hundred according to TheOtherWiki), but a handful dominate: Zhang, Li, Wang, a couple dozen others. These are usually one syllable, though two syllable surnames do exist. Perhaps the most famous one is Zhuge, as in Zhuge Liang (and Sima, as in his rival Sima Yi) from the ''RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms''.[[note]]And, as a further note to start us off here, remember that being two symbols that's two ''sounds'', so his name is pronounced "zhu-geh", not '''''not''''' "zhooj"; the name is occasionally even spelled Zhu Ge or Zhu-Ge to help make pronunciation clear, and sometimes other people with two-symbol names will do the same, but it varies to personal preference and awareness.[[/note]] A rather famous poem from the early Song Dynasty, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Family_Surnames "Hundred Family Surnames"]] ( 百家姓 , Bǎijiāxìng), lists some five hundred surnames used at that time. The phrase "Bǎixìng" is also a conventional phrase for the people at large.
1st Aug '15 4:21:15 PM SpaceDrake
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There are a lot of family names (several hundred according to TheOtherWiki), but a handful dominate: Zhang, Li, Wang, a couple dozen others. These are usually one syllable, though two syllable surnames do exist. Perhaps the most famous one is Zhuge, as in Zhuge Liang (and Sima, as in his rival Sima Yi) from the ''RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms''. A rather famous poem from the early Song Dynasty, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Family_Surnames "Hundred Family Surnames"]] ( 百家姓 , Bǎijiāxìng), lists some five hundred surnames used at that time. The phrase "Bǎixìng" is also a conventional phrase for the people at large.

to:

There are a lot of family names (several hundred according to TheOtherWiki), but a handful dominate: Zhang, Li, Wang, a couple dozen others. These are usually one syllable, though two syllable surnames do exist. Perhaps the most famous one is Zhuge, as in Zhuge Liang (and Sima, as in his rival Sima Yi) from the ''RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms''. [[note]]And, as a further note to start us off here, remember that being two symbols that's two ''sounds'', so his name is pronounced "zhu-geh", not "zhooj"; the name is occasionally even spelled Zhu Ge or Zhu-Ge to help make pronunciation clear, and sometimes other people with two-symbol names will do the same, but it varies to personal preference and awareness.[[/note]] A rather famous poem from the early Song Dynasty, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Family_Surnames "Hundred Family Surnames"]] ( 百家姓 , Bǎijiāxìng), lists some five hundred surnames used at that time. The phrase "Bǎixìng" is also a conventional phrase for the people at large.
14th Jan '15 8:24:09 PM Disdaine
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There are a lot of family names (several hundred according to TheOtherWiki), but a handful dominate: Zhang, Li, Wang, a couple dozen others. These are usually one syllable, though two syllable surnames do exist. Perhaps the most famous one is Zhuge, as in Zhuge Liang (and Sima, as in his rival Sima Yi) from the ''RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms''. A rather famous poem from the early Song Dynasty, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Family_Surnames "Hundred Family Surnames"]] ( 百家姓 , Bǎijiāxìng), lists some five hundred surnames used at that time. The phrase "Baixing" is also a conventional phrase for the people at large.

These surnames tend to be clustered by region, with certain names being particularly common in a particular province. Many Taiwanese are named Chen, for example.

Generally speaking, any character(s) can be used for a given name, though families avoid repeating names or naming children after famous people. In most of the Imperial history, it was criminal to use the names, or the homophones of the names, of the current Emperor and ''all'' previous emperors of the same dynasty. In practice, names with bad sounds or unpropitious strokes and overly complicated or obscure characters are also avoided. Furthermore, while the given names can be just one or two random characters strung together, most parents tend to work in some auspicious meaning/symbolism. Those born during the Cultural Revolution, for example, tend to have given names with the character for "red", "people", "revolution", "army", "steel" and such revolutionary socialist concepts worked in somehow.

to:

There are a lot of family names (several hundred according to TheOtherWiki), but a handful dominate: Zhang, Li, Wang, a couple dozen others. These are usually one syllable, though two syllable surnames do exist. Perhaps the most famous one is Zhuge, as in Zhuge Liang (and Sima, as in his rival Sima Yi) from the ''RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms''. A rather famous poem from the early Song Dynasty, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Family_Surnames "Hundred Family Surnames"]] ( 百家姓 , Bǎijiāxìng), lists some five hundred surnames used at that time. The phrase "Baixing" "Bǎixìng" is also a conventional phrase for the people at large.

These The most common surnames tend to be clustered vary by region, with certain different names being particularly more common in a particular province. Many different provinces or countries. The most common Taiwanese surnames are named Chen, for example.

Lin, and Huang.

Generally speaking, any character(s) can be used for a given name, though families avoid repeating names or naming children after famous people. In most of the Imperial history, it was criminal to use the names, or the homophones of the names, of the current Emperor and ''all'' previous emperors of the same dynasty. In practice, names with bad sounds or unpropitious strokes and overly complicated or obscure characters are also avoided. Furthermore, while While the given names can be just one or two random characters strung together, most parents tend to work in some auspicious meaning/symbolism. Those born during the Cultural Revolution, for example, tend to have given names with the character for "red", "people", "revolution", "army", "steel" and such revolutionary socialist concepts worked in somehow.
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