Translation:Call me Zhang Ming.
In Chinese, the last name (also called "family name") appears before the first name. So in English, we have to flip the order. 张明 ＝ Ming Zhang
It's slightly confusing because we intentionally call them "first" and "last" names because that's how they appear in English. But for languages that don't follow this convention, it becomes a misnomer.
Because in China surnames come first, Zhang Ming would be the person's full name, with Zhang being their surname and Ming being their first name. Lee and Tan are also Chinese surnames, and if one of them were used instead it would be the same difference: Lee Ming, Tan Ming, Zhang Ming... It's just a bit different from more Western languages since traditionally, family and which one you were from was the most important part about you.
um..... no. Because duolingo isn't consistent with last name first (which is the correct grammar) and vice versa, I can't tell what they are meaning to be the last name. But assuming they are being grammatically correct this time, their last name is Zhang, and their first name is Ming. Their full name is Zhang Ming.
It doesn't. I know it from school as well. If you are looking for a class that actually explains these kind of things, take one where you can attend in person. If you live in Utah, Belmont Classical Academy has an EXCELLENT Chinese teacher, so check that out. If you are looking for actual explaining of these things (which it is frankly very important to learn these differences), don't choose duolingo. If you're planning a trip to China and need to learn just enough to get your way around the city, duolingo is fine. but if you're a language nerd like me, duolingo will not meet your expectations in the least.
I think in real life the original order is occasionally retained in English, but it's probably very context/speaker/target-dependent? A Chinese person might feel much more comfortable hearing their full (Chinese) name in Chinese order - English order might sound weird and unfamiliar. Of course there's a decent chance they just use an English name in English-speaking contexts, in which case English order seems obvious.
Some insight into the matter from a Chinese person would be nice.
Duo accepts both orders, for what it's worth.
If, by call, you mean say aloud, then call the person Zhang Ming. Although if this hypothetical situation was taking place outside of China (or even within, if you looked like a foreigner), the person wouldn't fault you for saying the first name first. Generally speaking, for Chinese names, when both the first name and the surname are one character, call the person by his/her full name, in the surname/first name order. When the first name has two characters, then it's fine to call the person by only his/her first name.
So are these written characters' meanings pronounced the same as these names? For example, Duolingo tells me that "张" means Zhang as well as "Sheets". So does that mean the word for sheets is pronounced Zhang? Are all Chinese names common words? What do they do with western names?
Yes, the surname
张 and the measure word for flat objects
张 (e.g., "一张纸" / yì zhāng zhǐ / one sheet of paper) are both pronounced with the first tone: "
Many other common Chinese surnames also share their characters with common words:
马 (mǎ - "horse"),
李 (lǐ - "plum"),
林 (lín - "forest"), and so on. You can generally tell from context whether these characters refer to surnames or one of their other meanings in sentences.
Westerners may have their names transliterated, striving to make their Chinese names as phonetically similar to their original names as possible. These names are often recognizable because they tend to be longer than usual, as well as retain Western first-last name order.
Alternatively, others may adopt (often with the guidance of a native speaker) a name consisting of a common Chinese surname followed by a one- to two-character given name, often selected based on the meaning of the character(s).
Pinyin is the standard way to Romanize Chinese. It was developed by the People's Republic of China with help from Russia, so maybe it's more intuitive if you speak Russian, I wouldn't know. The good news is that pinyin is phonetic and very straightforward--you just need to learn the rules. Not all of the letters behave the way they do in English. Chinese has sounds that we don't have, and vice versa. I hope that someday Duo will include pinyin instruction for people who haven't learned it elsewhere. I recommend searching the internet for a resource to teach you pinyin. Or, put in a lot of time listening to the recordings here on Duo until you get the hang of it!
Out of curiousity is 叫我 a command form, and do verbs generally function as commands like this? E.G. 看我 (look at me?), 去! (go!). Do pronouns function differently like if you we're going to say "let's go!", would you say 我们去！or is there a particle or difference in construction? 非常谢谢!
If you say wo Jiao ......are you only giving what in English would be your first name or given name and if you say wo xing ......are you only giving your family name? Operative word in my question is "only". Thanks.
Specially when you're talking about a Chinese person in English to an English audience. If that's the case and you say the person you're talking about is called "Zhang Ming", people who aren't familiar with the Chinese name order would not actually understand the person's name and you would have to explain the order.
Calling the person "Ming Zhang" would be correct in the context, in an anglo-centered environment.