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The following article was published in our article directory on August 28, 2010.
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The Significance Of Chinese Name

Article Category: Culture

Author Name: James Tien

Chinese name is as old as Chinese language itself, dated several thousand years BC. The Chinese naming system changes over the years throughout several Chinese dynasties to modern times. One thing remains the same, Chinese names have deep meaning that is tied to the meaning of the Chinese characters that make up their names.

A Chinese name consists of three Chinese characters. The first character is the person's family name from the father, because Chinese culture is a strong patriarchal culture. The second and third character are the person's name. Zang Ziyi is the example of original Chinese names with three characters. Zang is the family name, while Ziyi is her name.

Traditional Chinese families still ask the child's grandparents input in the naming process, especially grandparents from the father side. There is a tradition of giving same middle name to a generation in a family. The middle name will be different for boys and girls. The meaning of each person's name is taken from their second and third letter in their names. The meaning is taken from the Chinese letters in the name. A simple example is the name "Lie Mei Hua". "Lie" is her family name, while her name itself means "beautiful flower. The name is combination of the word "mei" which means "beautiful", and "hua" which means "flower". If she comes from a noble family, it is likely that all her sisters or even female cousins from the father side will have "Mei" as their middle name.

Names in Chinese tradition hold a very strong influence over someone's life. Each name is tied to the characteristics of the words and characters of the name. There are some instances where they change their names to improve their luck.

Chinese names for boys are usually tied with masculine characteristics such as strength, courage, or wealth. Parents usually choose feminine words to name their daughters such as flowers, gentleness, or beauty. In modern society, these tendencies slowly diminish.

Since Chinese names have different rules than most other countries, some Chinese parents, especially where bilingual countries such as Hong Kong and Singapore, give their children names with Western names aside from their Chinese names. Their last name is their family name and their first name is their Western name. Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh are some example of Westernized Chinese names.

As opposed to many culture, Chinese do not usually name their children after famous people or their other relatives as their Chinese name. It is considered offensive or taboo in Chinese culture. However, many modern Chinese parents name their children after non Chinese figures or heroes in their Western names.

Aside from their formal Chinese name, Chinese people also have pet names and nicknames. However, only close friends and family members may call someone with their pet names.

About the Author: James Tien is a Chinese culture writer. He recommends Absolutely Feng Shui for more information on Chinese Name and Feng Shui Cures.

Keywords: Chinese name

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