Since ancient times, the Chinese people have attached great importance to the name. Under the influence of “Rectification of Names” of Confucius, people take it very sacred and even mystical to name their descendants.
In Chinese Zhou Dynasty（1046 BC- 256 BC）, naming was included in rules of etiquette to form a system. As a result, names may sometimes have a huge impact on people. Some people may have the names that are loved by emperors or top generals, so they can get preferential treatment; in contrast, some people may suffer unfair treatment because their names are considered ominous.
When foreign friends come to China, they will naturally think of a way to get a Chinese name, which is an act not only to do in Rome as Rome does but also to show friendliness. What’s more, a decent and individual Chinese name for a diplomat and a multinational executive has the effect of a cultural card or brand promotion to some extent. And it is also very important for many Chinese learners or foreigners living in China to have a proper Chinese name. Authentic Chinese names can express their seriousness and respect for Chinese culture and language, and also can also express their own values, ambition for the future and even a sense of humor.
→ How to Get a Chinese Name?
→ How to Get Authentic Chinese Names for Expats in China?
Due to the large population, the phenomenon of the same name is very prominent in Mainland China. Some people think that the reasons for this phenomenon include larger population with fewer words, cultural convergence, meeting the fashion and restrictions of genealogy. According to the statistics, there are about four hundred thousand people called Guoqing and over 960, 000 called Jianguo.
→ List of Common Chinese Surnames
→ Chinese Hundred Family Surnames - a book composed of common Chinese surnames
Chinese Given Names:
→ Common Chinese Given Names
When a baby comes into the world, every parent wants to give their children a resounding name. A good name is related to a person’s fate, character, marriage, health or even the success or failure of one's life. So it is particularly important to name a baby. A good name is the most precious gift that you give to your baby. What’s more, a good name can give a person a psychological hint and guide, makes him/her self-confident and help him/her succeed.
→ Chinese Names for Baby
→ Auspicious Chinese Names for Babies Born in the Year of the Rooster 2017
→ Auspicious Chinese Names for Babies Born in the Year of the Dog 2018
According to the records of ancient books, there was a system for the naming of ancient Chinese people. In general, children were named by their fathers in three months after the birth. However, some relatives may choose a name for the baby when he/ she was born after one month, or when he/she is one year old, or even before his/her birth. Nowadays, as the baby in China need to be given a name no later than three months after his birth in order to get the birth certificate, parents usually have chosen the name for them before his/her birth.
For Chinese people’s names, the Hans usually choose two words or one word as their given names except their surnames. Before the period of the Three Kingdoms (220 - 280 AD), the given name was usually one word, and it became two words from the Jin Dynasty (265 - 420 AD) to modern times. The names of other nationalities include several or even more than ten words in transliteration, and some people may have Han names. Statistically, the longest Chinese name at present has 15 words. Now, the number of Chinese people whose given name has over ten words could reach nearly one thousand, most of which are belong to Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
There was a taboo on the use of names, which should be against using the names of one’s elders, distinguished men or ancestors. When speaking and writing, all the names of emperors, fathers or elders should be avoided, and the words in the names should not be the same in style and pronunciation as those of their names. Although modern people may not adhere to these rules now, there are still some people who try not to choose the same word or homophone of their parents’ or grandparents’ names. Because of the ancient taboos for the name, when dealing with teachers, bosses, seniors, one should never call their full names directly.
In China, some parents may give their baby a milk name before giving a full name to show kindliness, and the milk name may sometime stick with the child throughout the childhood. Some parents may still call their children’s milk names when children grow up. A nick name is the variant of a name. There are two types of nick name: one type is that babies are named by their parents; the other one is that a person is called by someone or some people based on his physical attributes. The nickname name used by parents of a baby or a kid is always a word in his/her full name. For example, if someone’s name is Deming, his family may call him Ming as his nickname. On the other hand, sometimes there may be a derogatory sense in a nickname. For instance, someone with a big head may be called “Big head” (大头 in Chinese). So, some nicknames are not accepted by some people. Since most people are nick named by relatives and friends, they will not show the fact obviously that they cannot accept the names.