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Choosing a Chinese Name

Character Combinations

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The three characters of a Chinese name must be considered in totality. They have to be chosen carefully to convey an auspicious meaning that will bring good fortune to the bearer.

Since there are many Chinese characters with the same sounds, some name combinations may have unfortunate connotations.

For example, the surname Wú (吳) sounds like Wú (無 – doesn’t have), so if used with the given name Zhì Huì (智慧 - wisdom) could convey that the bearer is not smart.

Another given name to avoid with the surname Wú would be Chéng Xìn (誠信 – honest), otherwise the bearer may be thought of as a crook.

Flourishing Star or Gorilla?

A name which at first glance may seem auspicious is Xīng Xīng (興星 – flourishing star), but it sounds like Xīngxing (猩猩 – gorilla). Not a good choice for a name.

Mandarin students should have a Chinese name, especially if planning to travel to a Chinese-speaking country. To avoid embarrassing or ridiculing yourself, make sure that your Chinese name has a good meaning. Always check with a native speaker to see if your Chinese name is appropriate.

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