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Chinese Names

Travel Forums Asia Chinese Names

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1. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Most Chinese names have either two or three characters, each of which represents a sound. The Chinese give their surname first followed by other given names. For example, in the name, Wang Tai Hoi ... Wang is the surname.

A Chinese surname is often passed down through the father, but Chinese women always retain their family name even after marriage.

It's a little bit different with names of married women in Hong Kong.
Is there anyone from Hong Kong that can explain this ....

2. Posted by Tangying (Budding Member 29 posts) 11y

Yes,my name is Tangying,and Tang is my surname;)

3. Posted by mtlgal (Full Member 1179 posts) 11y

The system in Hongkong is the "traditional" system, i.e., the Chinese system before communism. The women don't really take the husband's last name, they retain their maiden name, but are introduced was "Mrs. whatever-the-husband's-name-is". In mainland China, until recently, nobody used titles such as "miss", "Mrs", or "Mr" anymore (considered to be too "bougeois"). Everybody was "comerade so-and-so", thus eliminating the tradition of married women being called "Mrs so-and-so".

My Chinese name is Zhao Wei, which is exactly the same as a famous actress in China. It's kind of funny, equivalent to having a name like "Julia Roberts" or "Brad Pitt".

4. Posted by cikusang (Respected Member 1361 posts) 11y

My Chinese name is Zhao Wei, which is exactly the same as a famous actress in China

Luckily you do not sound like her!

In Malaysia, our government prohibits the Chinese parents to name their kids in 2 characters - so, names such as "Zhai Wei" or "Tang Ying" would get fines from our government here.

Lee

5. Posted by mtlgal (Full Member 1179 posts) 11y

Quoting cikusang

In Malaysia, our government prohibits the Chinese parents to name their kids in 2 characters - so, names such as "Zhai Wei" or "Tang Ying" would get fines from our government here.

Lee

That's an interesting law! What's the reasoning behind it? And how much is the fine?

6. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Wocca has just received this personal message ....

Quoting Giya

I am a Chinese

Some HongKong woman will follow their husband's family name after getting married.But they will still keep their own family name.That is why some of their's name are with four characters.For example,the famous lady in HongKong,ChenFangAnsheng.

01.06.2005

Thanks Giya

7. Posted by Zhou (Full Member 126 posts) 11y

Forget about the comrade thing. No one mentions this word nowadays in real life. But it`s true that mainland women don`t keep the tradition since new China. However it`s all up to your choice. Some children are named after their mother(surname).

The second character of my name was inherited from a poem written by my forefather. All members of my big family have to take one word into our names in order. So all my cousins have the same word in their names: Ming, which means bright.My father`s generation have their own word. My nieces and nephews are named: Guang, which means light. So the parents have the freedom to name children with just one word.

8. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Quoting cikusang

[quote]In Malaysia, our government prohibits the Chinese parents to name their kids in 2 characters - so, names such as "Zhai Wei" or "Tang Ying" would get fines from our government here.Lee

I know from personal experience in Jakarta, Indonesia, citizens can not have Chinese names on their official papers (such as passport).

It's interesting to note Malaysia & Indonesia are both Muslim countries, and there could be a connection in this regard.

9. Posted by mtlgal (Full Member 1179 posts) 11y

Quoting Zhou

The second character of my name was inherited from a poem written by my forefather. All members of my big family have to take one word into our names in order. So all my cousins have the same word in their names: Ming, which means bright.My father`s generation have their own word. My nieces and nephews are named: Guang, which means light. So the parents have the freedom to name children with just one word.

This is the traditional naming system: The frist character of your name is the family surname; the second character denotes which generation you're in (everybody in the family belonging to same generation would have to same middle name); finally, the third character is your name. Interesting, isn't it?

Other cultures' naming systems can be interesting too, such as the first born being named after the grandfather/mother, or something of that sort. I wonder what the different naming systems say about the differences in culture... Can't think right now, having a rough day at work; if anyone has any insight, please share.

10. Posted by Hien (Moderator 3906 posts) 11y

Quoting cikusang

... In Malaysia, our government prohibits the Chinese parents to name their kids in 2 characters - so, names such as "Zhai Wei" or "Tang Ying" would get fines from our government here.

Lee,

May I know where you got that piece of information (about the fines) from? Any source? My father has a two-character name, including the surname, and the government didn't fine him for that.

All I know is that the government does not encourage us to have a two-character name. I think the reason is to avoid too many duplicates. BTW, our government also forbid the use of certain characters in our names, i.e. Chinese character of dog, pig, cow, ...

Cheers,
Hien