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Giving Chinese people English names and vv

Giving Chinese people English names and vv

Old Sep 4, 20, 10:02 am
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Giving Chinese people English names and vv

Since this forum is kind of dead these days, for obvious reasons, I'm starting this thread about naming conventions.

I will begin by stating that my Chinese name is 司恩德. It was given to me by my high school Chinese teacher, after 3 days of deliberation. 司 is not a Chinese surname; 司马 is, but having a 4-character name constitutes bad luck because 四=死. I learned several years ago that 司恩德 scores 98 points in terms of fengshui (v an average of 70). Most of my Chinese friends think the name is overblown/impossible, but I'm sticking with it because I've had it since I was 14, and my Chinese teacher is really nice.

Moving on to us providing English names for Chinese people:
1. Lilly and Li Li are completely off limits because there are simply too many (e.g. I have ~50 in my Wechat contact list), but Lilian, Lisa, Loretta, etc are all okay
2. I feel slightly guilty about bestowing the name "Pantene" upon my hotel floor person during 1997, but she continues to retain it because it is unique
3. During 2001, I named the lady who fancied me "Pretty" because it matched well with her Chinese name, and being pretty was her defining quality
4. Revisiting point 1, I try my best to avoid common names
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Old Sep 4, 20, 12:27 pm
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I can live with 司恩德 being my name with the fengshui connotations and the meaning of the individual character plus their use collectively. You have me beat on the FS score.

1 definitely, for the guys, Jack has been popular of late, just like Ka Shing in Hong Kong.
2 It must have been a hairy experience.
3 If you fancied her, she must be pretty. However many do pick out a nice-sounding name without thinking the non-Chinese connotations associated with that name.

Giving a non-Chinese a Chinese name has more flexibilities in the choice of the characters. You are not bound by a surname or the given name order/pattern dictated by ancestral family "book". This is not as common in China post Cultural revolution but is still used by many families.

All the SiMa's 司马 that I know have a singular given name.
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Old Sep 4, 20, 1:26 pm
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Google translate gives you a phonetical name, which is what I did. Is that weird to do? A couple Chinese business associates suggested it - it gave me 亚当
For Adam
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Old Sep 4, 20, 7:54 pm
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Originally Posted by atsak View Post
Google translate gives you a phonetical name, which is what I did. Is that weird to do? A couple Chinese business associates suggested it - it gave me 亚当
For Adam
Phonetic translations are pretty common, but even when going the phonetic route, you generally have a wide choice of characters to choose from. For example, "David" typically becomes "Dawei". The "da" is almost always 大 or "达, but "Wei" can be anything you want it to be. Much to the chagrin of our teacher, my friend Dave insisted on going with "big stomach". He doesn't actually have a big stomach, but the name turned out to be a hit in the long run.

My Chinese isn't advanced enough to opine on 亚当, but 亚 has a nicer ring for me than "阿". Maybe one of the native speakers here can opine; my specialty is providing English names.

These days, Chinese names for foreigners aren't especially important because English is widely spoken, even in third tier cities. Sure, you can (and, maybe should) include it on your business card, but I rarely hand out business cards any more because, odds are, other participants in meetings don't have them. Most of the time, we've already had email (includes signatures with relevant contact info) and Wechat communications prior to the first meeting.
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Old Sep 5, 20, 1:40 pm
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亚当 or 亞當 was the first "official" translation of Adam to Chinese by the Jesuits in the 17the century. Some given name in English has a widely accepted Chinese equivalent name but many use phonic to play on different word and different meaning.
Re: David, we kidded a friend with that name as 大胃. His life's purpose is to put as many AYCE buffets out of business.


My Chinese given name phonetically sound like "Big Fish" 大鱼. I use that as part of my unique branding.
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Old Sep 6, 20, 3:12 am
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My Chinese name is 陈伟。It has no connection whatsoever with my real name. It was given to me by one of my Chinese teachers as well. I didn't want an obvious name given to foreigners nor did I want a translation of my name.
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Old Sep 6, 20, 3:15 am
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Ages ago I met a Chinese student at university who insisted his English name was Marmaduke. To this day he is the only one I know!
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Old Sep 6, 20, 4:18 am
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May be apocryphal or misremembered but many years ago my father had a research student called either Wan Ching or Wan King

she went by Wendy
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Old Sep 6, 20, 4:21 am
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
I will begin by stating that my Chinese name is 司恩德.
By any chance, your last name is Schneider?

Originally Posted by moondog View Post
司 is not a Chinese surname;
Actually, it is, just not common:

https://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-hk/%E5%8F%B8%E5%A7%93

Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Moving on to us providing English names for Chinese people:
1. Lilly and Li Li are completely off limits because there are simply too many (e.g. I have ~50 in my Wechat contact list), but Lilian, Lisa, Loretta, etc are all okay
2. I feel slightly guilty about bestowing the name "Pantene" upon my hotel floor person during 1997, but she continues to retain it because it is unique
3. During 2001, I named the lady who fancied me "Pretty" because it matched well with her Chinese name, and being pretty was her defining quality
4. Revisiting point 1, I try my best to avoid common names
Don't overthink it. Many adopt English names just simply based on popularity. Names like Jennifer or Christopher are very sophisticated to them.

Also - there are plenty of stupid names out there. So don't be surprised if you meet with Obama, maybe even Latte.
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Old Sep 6, 20, 4:51 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
Ages ago I met a Chinese student at university who insisted his English name was Marmaduke. To this day he is the only one I know!
That's pretty cool!

garykung
English names are kind of important now, though many people just use the Pinyin versions of their Chinese name. In any event, I wouldn't dream of naming someone Pantene or Pretty now. Marmaduke on the other hand... maybe
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Old Sep 6, 20, 7:25 am
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
By any chance, your last name is Schneider?



Actually, it is, just not common:

https://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-hk/%E5%8F%B8%E5%A7%93



Don't overthink it. Many adopt English names just simply based on popularity. Names like Jennifer or Christopher are very sophisticated to them.

Also - there are plenty of stupid names out there. So don't be surprised if you meet with Obama, maybe even Latte.
Do you know someone called Latte? So do I.
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Old Sep 6, 20, 8:09 am
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
司 is not a Chinese surname; 司马 is, but having a 4-character name constitutes bad luck because 四=死.
司 is a Chinese surname, albeit a fairly rare one. I personally know at least two people (who happen to be identical twins) with that surname.

https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%8F%B8%E5%A7%93
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Old Sep 6, 20, 10:04 am
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What about Ramen, Wanton, Twitty(Sylvester), Tigger, Scooby, and many other popular Western/Asian cartoon characters!

There are many boys who were named "Jackie" after Mr Chan by their parents.
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Old Sep 6, 20, 11:42 am
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Originally Posted by tauphi View Post
司 is a Chinese surname, albeit a fairly rare one. I personally know at least two people (who happen to be identical twins) with that surname.

https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%8F%B8%E5%A7%93
Yes, the Si's 司 are there. We are more familiar with the compound surnames of SiMa's 司马 and SiTu 司徒.
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Old Sep 6, 20, 2:31 pm
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Originally Posted by tentseller View Post
Do you know someone called Latte? So do I.
I don't know anyone actually. But I know there are people are named after coffee. In fact, Coffee is a name used as well.

Originally Posted by tentseller View Post
There are many boys who were named "Jackie" after Mr Chan by their parents
Bruce is a better name in this instance as that person is kind of...you know what I mean...
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