How to Pick a Chinese Name

Posted by Daisy Jiang on Mar 28, 2016

Pick a Chinese name

If you are learning a language like Chinese, at some point you will choose a Chinese name for yourself. Choosing a second language name is an important step in your language learning journey. Today, let's talk about how to pick a good Chinese mandarin name.

A Chinese name is made up of the family name ahead followed by the given name. The Family name is handed down from generation to generation spanning thousands of years. Given names are normally picked by the eldership and it should be pleasant to hear and have some meaning objective.

So, what about for foreigners, who don't have thousands of years of history and local eldership, how do you choose a good Chinese name?

Here are some tips.

1. Transliteration

If you would like to have a Chinese name that sounds like your English name, you could transliterate it. Transliteration is taking a combination of Chinese characters to that phonetically match their English counterparts.

Some Examples:

Lisa 丽莎 lì shā

David 大卫 dà wèi

George 乔治 qiáo zhì

Lily 莉莉 lì lì

If your name is short as the above examples, it is ok for you to transliterate your name directly. But if your name is longer, like the examples below, it is advisable not for you to transliterate your name directly into Chinese.

Christina 克里斯蒂娜

Adelaide 阿德莱达

Gabriel 加布里埃尔

Sebastian 塞巴斯蒂安

2. Pay attention to the Gender

Just like English names, there are some Chinese characters/names, that are feminine and Masculine.

Here are some examples of Gender Specific Chinese Names:

Chinese names for boys

亮 liànɡ bright

伟 wěi greatness

强 qiánɡ power

浩hào huge

力 lì power

Chinese names for girls

丽 lì beautiful

婷 tínɡ graceful

雪 xuě snow; pure

晴 qínɡ clear; fine

蝶 dié butterfly

However, there are many Chinese characters can be used for both girls and boys, here are some examples of unisex Chinese Names,

乐 lè happy

宣 xuān declare

飞 fēi fly

天 tiān sky

3. Avoid choosing the same name as a celebrity.

In western culture, it is often fashionable to choose the same name as someone you Admire. For example, if you choose the name William because you look up to the Royal family. However, in Chinese culture, when you choose a name, it is unnatural to choose the same name with some celebrities. For example, if you call yourself "Jackie Chan", some Chinese people will think it is weird, because taking a name that is the same as a celebrity is not a common practice.

Still don't know how to pick a good Chinese name? Register and let our Chinese teacher help you!

About The Author

Daisy Jiang

Daisy has a unique ability to take content from the textbook and bring it to life in class. Her years of teaching experience give her an excellent ability to adapt to student of diverse backgrounds.

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