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Chinese name

  1. #1
    yikes is offline Registered User
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    Chinese name

    Can anyone recommend where I can go to get advice on choosing a Chinese name for my baby?

    Also, when I go to register the birth, would there be any problems registering an English name that does not correspond/translate in any way to the Chinese name? eg. Jonathan Bennett

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
    mummymoo is offline Registered User
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    You can have an English name that bears no resemblance to the Chinese name, my children have this situation (but they have their dad's Chinese surname).

    In terms of obtaining a Chinese name for you little one, I have a few friend's whose secretary did a direct translation of the English into Chinese (i.e. chose words in Chinese that sound similar to Ben Net ect) but apparently I'm told sometimes the meaning in Chinese will be gibberish but when pronounced will sound like a Chinese version of the English name.

    If you want a meaningful Chinese name, if you have any Chinese parents/ in laws, they loooooooove to do this sort of thing. They spend weeks/ to months on this, so try them. Failing that, there are these naming masters (but you would have to source them through a local) who are paid to cook up auspicious Chinese names for children.

  3. #3
    yikes is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for your response mummymoo. It's good to know that I can register a Chinese name that's completely different to baby's English name. (I assume it would not matter in a situation where neither parents are ethnically Chinese?!)

    I guess what I need is recommendations for a naming master that speaks a little English. Anyone?
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    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    I definitely wouldn't go the route of giving a child a Chinese name that is just a phonetic replica of their English name especially if you want the child to be proud of their name and if you plan to spend time in Hong Kong or any other Chinese-speaking part of the world...you don't want people snickering when they hear a phonetic translation of an English name into Chinese. This phonetic translation of names is only really done out of necessity to translate English names into Chinese so they are more understandable but rarely, if ever, would a Chinese person give their own child one of these names.

    You're best to go with a name that has a deep meaning or look for a Chinese name that has the same meaning as your child's name in English--this is the most common route that Chinese parents take when trying to also give their child an English name--they choose a name that is similar in meaning to their child's Chinese name. My son has a second cousin named "Elvis" for this reason because the name means "wise" and that was the most similar name to what his Chinese name means and they liked the sound.

    There are two components of a good Chinese name and maybe even three. First is the meaning and that carries the most weight. The second is the sound of the characters together. And thirdly, if you're into it, something that is auspicious or lucky. My children's Chinese names have very different names from their English names but they were chosen for a certain type of cadence and the meaning. My son's name loosely translates, "masculine and heroic" and my daughter's means "wise and elegant" and and their names sound very similar as well--His name is Wai Hung and her name is Way Han. The names were chosen by my parents-in-law and it's tradition in my husband's family that the father's side chooses the name for the children. It's quite the honor.

    Do you have any Chinese friends? If you do, run it by them...they would love to help you with this.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  5. #5
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    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    My daughter's English name is "Lana" and in her Chinese name, we used the character "Lan" which is orchid. With our 2nd daughter, her English middle name is "Hope" and we used the character "Hei" which means hope in Chinese (we actually used "hope" with the "flower" radical which is a buttercup because we wanted to have two "flower" names. It's an unusual character but not unheard of). I like that for both of them, there is some kind of a link between their English name and their Chinese name, but not in a weird way (unless you count the use of a rarer character ;) )

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    z754103 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by thanka2 View Post
    Do you have any Chinese friends? If you do, run it by them...they would love to help you with this.
    Thanka2's given a great summary of the issues you should bear in mind.

    One other issue - get your Chinese speaking friends to 'kick' your shortlisted names around, if they have school aged kids definitely get them to help. They should screen for unintentional puns that sound comic in Chinese or have the potential for life-long teasing :-)

    I narrowly stopped a cousin from being named 'One Monkey'. The parents were too busy focusing on how beautiful the name looked on paper and how poetic the meaning was, rather than how other kids would 'hear' it pronounced aloud.

  7. #7
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    My son, liam....his chinese name is lim (incorruptable). Our girl, riley, is wing yee....not quite the same sound but not far off.

    The problem with ours is that the family name sounds like no or not, so we couldn't name our girl mei(beautiful)....or it would sound like 'not beautiful'....i was very disappointed as i wanted mei ling....no idea what it means but i loved the sound of it.....

    On a side note: i had a taxi driver years ago named....Yu Tit Man
    And i swore i would never let my kids have a name like that....

    Sent from my GT-I8150 using GeoClicks Mobile

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    My FIL suggested that we named our 2nd daughter Luk Si Mun... um - no!!

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