Last weekÂ I was emailing the parents of my Chinese class to think about a Chinese name for their child, not only because it makes sense to have a Chinese name for Chinese class, but also the practice of choosing names in China has been intertwined with Chinaâ€™s history and culture.
How do you name your child in Chinese?
Chinese names are composed of two parts, the surname and the given name, and the surname comes before the given name. In China, one hundred surnames make up over 85% of China’s 1.3 billion citizens. In fact, just the top three â€“ WÃ¡ng(çŽ‹), lÇ (æŽ), and ZhÄng (å¼ ) â€“ cover more than 20% of the population.
The surname is generally composed of one character or syllable, but there are also two-syllable surnames, or compound surnames. Compared to surnames, Chinese given names show much greater diversity, while still being restricted almost universally to one or two syllables. Hence, a majority of Chinese full names have two or three characters.
Most Chinese names have specials meanings, reflecting particular wishes from parents or grandparents. For example, mÄ›i(ç¾Ž), lÃ¬(ä¸½), Â yÃ n(è‰³), xiÃ¹(ç§€), all of which literally mean beautiful or pretty, are normally found in girlsâ€™ names;
while wÄ›i(ä¼Ÿ), qiÃ¡ng(å¼º), hÃ³ng(å®), zhuÃ ng(å£®), meaning greatness and strength, are common names for boys.
If parents hope a child to be exceptionally intelligent, they might name their child with one of the following characters: huÃ¬(æ…§), cÅng(èª), mÇn(æ•),and ruÃ¬(ç¿), all of which literally mean clever or smart.
Therefore, one way (maybe the most common way) to name a child in Chinese is to choose the characters which contain your most beautiful wishes cherished for him/her.
You can also name your child based on other resources, such as seasons, weather, flowers and plants, or historical events.
For non-native Chinese, there is another way to name your child, which is transliteration, getting the spelling of a word in Chinese with the alphabet of English.
In another word, you can name your child based on the pronunciation of his/her English name. For example, Benjamin is æœ¬æ°æ˜Ž (BÄ›n JiÃ© MÃng) in Chinese,
How to help children learn Chinese characters? (Method 1)
How to help children learn Chinese characters? (Method 2)
How to help children learn Chinese characters? (Method 3)
How to help children learn Chinese characters? (Method 4)
How to help children learn Chinese characters? (Method 5)