https://www.duolingo.com/Keith_APP

你叫什么名字?

Overheated by the Chinese you have learned? Take a break and look at something else.

How about… giving yourself a Chinese name?

In general there are 2 approaches:

1 . Have your name directly converted syllable by syllable to Chinese characters with a close sound.

e.g.
Theresa May 德蕾莎·梅伊 Te Lei·Sha·Mei Yi
Tony Blair 托尼·布莱尔 Tuo Ni·Bu Lai Er

You get all the syllables. Of course it would be a bit long if you have a lot of syllables in your name.

For standardization, a couple of books and transcription dictionaries are often referred to officially. For a simple Chinese transcription chart of the syllables, see here.

2 . Do it like a Chinese. Extract 2-4 major syllables of your name and convert them to Chinese characters of your choice, with a close sound, or just something near.

You will lose some syllables and the characters chosen may not sound quite close to your name, but the result is more customized and looks like a Chinese. It would also be meaningful or poetic depending on your choice of characters.

e.g.
Theresa May 文翠珊 Wen Cui Shan
Tony Blair 贝理雅 Bei Li Ya
(These names are used by the British Consulate in Hong Kong so they have also made reference to Cantonese pronunciation. Also, the first name of Tony Blair has been ignored.)

A typical Chinese name consists of 1 character of family name, occasionally 2, and a first name of 1-2 characters; The choice of the characters for the first name often reflects wishes and expectation of the parents on the baby e.g. Pretty 美, Handsome 俊, Intelligent 智, 聰, 明, Strong 強, 力, Healthy 健, Happy 樂.

For a list of typical Chinese family names with Pinyin, make reference to this.

Finally, don’t be surprised when you see these Chinese names in a history book. They are not Chinese:
邱吉尔 Winston Churchill
罗斯福 Franklin Roosevelt
戴高乐 Charle De Gaulle

Happy learning!

NOTE: For security reason I do not recommend you to post your name in the forum for translation.

January 26, 2018

35 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/seminotti

With the help from a Taiwanese friend, I created a Chinese name for myself a few years ago. I took in consideration the characters and their meanings, and also the pronunciation. After a few weeks of tinkering, it came down to: "義聆明" (yi4 ling2 ming2)

義 is probably my favorite character in both form (I don't like the simplified version though) and meaning, and the Japanese reading matches the first syllable of my name. 聆 is a somewhat obsolete character, but it means "to listen", so it matches my personality very well. The third character 明 was someone's suggestion to get the sound I was looking for, so I ended up taking it.

January 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Keith_APP

聆 is not obsolete. I still see it in insurance company ads when they say they listen to your voice. : )

January 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/seminotti

Cool, thanks for the heads up! Never saw it being used in Japanese though.

January 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/WillowsofXihu

Have a lingot for this useful and well thought-out post, Keith! And special thanks for adding the security reminder on the end.

January 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LazyEinstein

With help from my friend, I made the name 博涵. He lived with my family and me for three years. To complete my name, I took his family name 李 so we could be brothers. Now I use 李博涵 when speaking in Chinese.

你好。 我姓李, 叫李博涵。

January 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Keith_APP

This is a wonderful name by all standard! Very meaningful and it also has a pleasant sound!
你好, 李博涵,很高兴认识你!

January 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LazyEinstein

Keith_APP, 认识您,我也很高兴。

February 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DariusLee3

Its a meaningful name in Chinese. The given name implies that you have a lot of potential/ 修養 good qualities from teaching and education!

January 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MyaRexa

This is fun, thank you! I used this dictionary to look up right-sounding hanzi. Here's what I picked:

MiàoRèxiā - 妙热煆 - meaning: "a wonderful, fervent raging fire". I quite like it!

妙 - miào - clever; wonderful

热 - rè - to warm up; to heat up; hot (of weather); heat; fervent

煆 - xiā - a raging fire

There are also some funnier versions. Apparently, I can also be a:

"first-born silkworm" who "heats shoes / causes asthmatic breathing / irritates a shrimp (or a tiger)" ;D

Umm... I think 'll stay with the first version ^.-

January 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/AbunPang

Be aware that to my knowledge, the character 妙 is not used as a surname (meaning if it is at all, it's almost certainly only a handful of people and due to a recent name change). If you want to go for something authentic that sounds like "Mya", I suggest one of: 馬, 麥, 米, 密 (the latter two of which are already pretty rare).

For the personal name it's more difficult to comment since the possibilities are almost limitless. I don't remember ever actually seeing either 热 or 煆 in a name, but I can imagine both. Note though that people will almost certainly assume a person with that name to be male. I know it's sexist, but characters which indicate forcefulness still look distinctly male to Chinese eyes. For a girl, you typically see at least one character with one of these radicals: 卄 (mostly flower names), 王 (typically special types of gems) or 女, or other characters associated with gracefulness etc. So with "Rexa" as input, you might see 嫘暇 or maybe 麗夏 for instance. I know it's not particularly feminist and I’m not saying you should change your name because of it. Just be prepared that you’ll almost certainly be taken for a guy if the other person has only your name to go by.

January 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MyaRexa

New feminine version, according to your suggestions: 馬嫘夏 - "summer/lei xia horse" - mǎ léi xià. I'm a rider and animal lover, so I like this one, too :)

January 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Keith_APP

Nice trial! Great meaning...

Just it resembles a little 炒热虾 though (虾 before it's simplified is 蝦) - a nice plate of sauteed hot shrimps --- Hmm... you might want to think it over : )

January 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MyaRexa

Well, you've figured me out. I've always wanted to be a...

炒热虾 "wonderful and fervent... plate of sauteed hot shrimps"! :D

January 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Keith_APP

妙不可言!
(It's so wonderful that it couldn't be told by words!)

January 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ZiggyZombie

你好,我叫布鲁克。 我2012到2014住在中国。我三学期在北京语言大学学习汉语,可是四年在美国让我的汉语变太差了。最近我试试duolingo的汉语课,因为我可以告诉学习汉语的朋友怎么样。

Hello, my name is Brock. I lived in china between 2012 and 2014. I studied Mandarin for 3 semester at Beijing Language and Culture University, but 4 years back in the USA has made my Chinese get pretty bad. Recently I am trying DuoLingo's Chinese Course so I can tell people what I think of it.

I got my chinese name from the Beijing Language and Culture University administration when I registered. Before that nothing I tried stuck and people just called me by my English name. My Chinese name ended up just being an approximation of my english name. I personally found it weird trying to give myself a name.

January 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Keith_APP

嗨,布鲁克!
你的汉语看来还不错呀!意思都能表达出来。
希望Duolingo 能帮上你忙。

January 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Ari_625

My Chinese name is 王晨旭,which doesn't sound like my name at all. My Chinese name wasn't based off my name.

January 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Keith_APP

Why all of you get such good names? 你好,王晨旭。

January 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/peter.kristof.hu

I was given my Chinese name by the Written Chinese. Here is a
Chinese Name Generatorg.
It's funny, my name is 励特.

January 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Keith_APP

你好,励特。 When I saw your user name I thought you were Chinese with the family name 胡 Hu.

January 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/peter.kristof.hu

The structure is: first name . familiar name . country. I's funny 胡 means 'non-Han people'.

January 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Keith_APP

Sorry for my ignorance about the Hungary extension. I haven't even talked to anyone from Hungary before.

You know very well the meaning of characters. Yes 胡 is more or less that meaning - an alien subject. 胡人 is non-Han, and we also have 胡椒(pepper), 胡萝卜(carrot),胡琴(a music instrument),all imported things.

I wonder how Peter is transcript as "Li Te"? Is it close to Hungarian?

January 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/jdcampolargo

我叫妇产科有

January 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Keith_APP

别胡闹啦!

January 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DragonflyNinja

I was fortunate enough to be given a name by my professor. 我叫龙晏如。:)

January 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Keith_APP

你好!

January 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DragonflyNinja

你好!你叫什么名字?(I am curious and attempting to write in Chinese. ^^)

February 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Keith_APP

In accordance with my English name, you can call me 祁福 Qi2 Fu2, ;-)

February 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/sukottoburaun

我的老师给我汉语名字了。我叫思科特。

January 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Keith_APP

你好!

January 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MoChuisleMoChroi

I was given the Chinese name 白恺泰 Bai2 Kai3 Tai4 "model of exultation" by my Chinese teacher many years ago. I use it because I am used to it, but I don't know enough Chinese to tell if it has any other connotations or is a "normal" name at all. Ces't la vie.

February 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Keith_APP

It is also a good name! Chinese like names with sounds going up and down, so it's good indeed.
The radical meaning of 恺 is Happy, Merry; It is also used in the meaning of exultation. 泰 means being calm/emotionally stable; It is also the name of a famous mountain in China (there are 5 most famous mountains and it is considered the top most). So often this character relates to stability and respectfulness.

February 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/PeaceJoyPancakes

I guess I'd be 安乐饼. ;-)

May 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Alicorn24

When I took Chinese in college we were assigned names and I asked if there was such a thing as a palindrome in Chinese; there's not, but the teacher gave me symmetrical characters. I think the surname was 豐 but I don't recall the characters for the rest of it; li1qing2 was the pronunciation if anyone cares to guess.

February 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Keith_APP

There are certainly palindromes in Chinese, which are call 迴文.
To retrieve your name you can try typing it with your Pinyin keyboard and check from the characters suggestion.

February 13, 2018
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