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Steer Clear! These Chinese Names Aren’t Your Best Bet!

May. 26, 2023

Choosing a Chinese name is a fascinating and meaningful way to connect with Chinese learning and culture of China. Having a good Chinese name can help you build harmonious relationships and trust with your Chinese friends and colleagues. So, there are certain things you should avoid when selecting a name.

Cultural offense

Avoid cultural offense

It’s important to choose names that are appropriate and related to historical and cultural figures. For example, names like 唐伯虎(Táng bó hǔ), 郑成功(Zhèng Chéng gōng), 王阳明(Wáng yáng míng), though they may sound a bit unusual, are acceptable choices. However, it’s crucial to steer clear of names associated with political figures or sensitive historical events to prevent unintentional offense or controversy.

Misleading implications

Avoid misleading implications

In Chinese characters, there are homophones, and some combinations of characters can easily lead to puns and ambiguities. For example, the character “史” (shǐ) sounds like “屎” (shǐ), which means “feces.” Sometimes, even nicknames that are too down-to-earth need to be handled with caution, such as “二狗” (Èr Gǒu, Second Dog) or “铁柱” (Tiě Zhù, Iron Pillar), or “旺财” (Wàng Cái, Prosperous Wealth), as they can easily evoke amusing associations. Furthermore, Chinese names often use certain characters to indicate gender, so it’s important to be aware of gender-related misconceptions and avoid unnecessary misunderstandings. For instance, names ending with “英” (Yīng, Elegant), “兰” (Lán, Orchid), or “花” (Huā, Flower) are usually female names, while names ending with “军” (Jūn, Military), “伟” (Wěi, Great), or “刚” (Gāng, Strong) are typically male names.

Negative connotations<br />

Avoid negative connotations

Chinese culture holds a deep reverence for auspiciousness and shuns any association with negativity. Words pertaining to death, illness, disasters, and similar topics are typically avoided when selecting names. Naming oneself or others is considered a gesture of respect, necessitating the avoidance of derogatory language, insults, coarse slang, and terms related to sexual organs. Therefore, it is prudent to thoroughly investigate and understand the meanings associated with Chinese names before making a choice. Alternatively, seeking guidance from Chinese friends or professional Chinese teachers is highly recommended to ensure that the chosen name does not carry any unfavorable implications.

By avoiding these pitfalls, you can have a perfect Chinese name. Have you learned these tips? Have you chosen a Chinese name for yourself? Feel free to share it in the comments section!

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