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.
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.
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