HOME PAGE
Chinese Dimensions
Order a copy
 Book Launch
 Book Cover
 Foreword
 Messages
 Introduction
 Content
CHAPTERS
 1. General
 2. Naming System
 3. Language
 4. Origin of Overseas Chinese
 5. History
 6. Literature
 7. Cultural aspects
 8. Ancient paradigms
 9. Pillars of destiny
 10. I-Ching
 Acknowledgement
  Publisher
TOPICS
  Chinese names
  Chinese Nostradamus
  Chinese profile
  Common Chinese surnames
  Congratulatory wordings
  Corrections
  Calendar segments
  Digital Era
  Family relationships
  Fengshui representation
  Fleet to the West
  Fonts
  Hakkas
  Hokkien
  Hong Kong
  Intonation
  Pictogram
  Poetry
  Proverbs
  Salutations
  Simplified Chinese
  Sunzi's Art of War
  Taboo
  Word Structure
  yin-yang
  Zodiac
ARTICLES
TALKS
 

Other Public Talks

Understanding Chinese Names

(Presented on 19/2/2008 at the Sydney Museum, as part of the 2008 Chinese New Year Festival Celebration)

NAMES THAT TELL A STORY

The Western world would name their children from a list of established names such as Peter, François, Günther, Carlos, or Antonio. Muslims choose from names from the Quran such as Mohammad, Ali, Isa, etc.

The Chinese on the other hand could create unique names by choosing characters from a vast selection of vocabulary. It is like being able to create a name for your children or yourself by choosing any word from the vocabulary.

In the Chinese language there is a wide choice of words that could be coined as names, though in practice some words are used more often than others. Other than inherited surname, it is an art to choose suitable and meaningful words as names.

Embedded in most Chinese names are the parents’ aspirations and hopes for their children.

Since a person is addressed by his name through­out his life, whether he or she likes it or not, his identity, his perceived personality (until others know him well) are consciously or subconsciously implicated or associated with his name.

The character for “name” [Míng] is made up of two components. 

Name [Míng]

"twilight” [xī]
“mouth” [kǒu]

Before the invent­ion of electric bulbs, in twilight hours when vision is poor, one speaks out his name to be identified, hence the con­cept of name.

Even today, people subconsciously build up a “mental picture” of someone, based on his or her picture, voice and name. A good name is an excellent “image maker”. As we shall see later, words could be chosen to project character traits such as “confidence” “excellence”, “love and care”, “loyalty”, “peace and tranquility”, “trust”, etc.

A list of Chinese names, is available my website, click on Chinese names

It include Chinese characters in  both simplified and traditional writings, pronunciations in Standard Mandarin pinyin as well as several dialects, as well as explanations of these words in English. You do not need to have Chinese character software in your computer to view this.

NEXT

For more information please contact the author