In China, most people’s names have two parts, the family names and the given names. In ancient China, however, naming was very complicated and involved a lot of things, such as the name of the tribe and the place where a person lived. The purpose of adopting xing was to clarify one’s race, ancestry and to determine whether it was appropriate for one person to marry another. Ancient Chinese people knew very well that marriage between close relatives might breed unhealthy and less intelligent offsprings. Baijia Xing (One Hundred Surnames) ,a book complied in the North Song Dynasty, listed 472 surnames, beginning with Zhao, Qian, Sun and Li. There were 19 most popular Han surnames, and people with the 19 surnames accounted for 55.6% of China’s total population. In ancient China, ming and zi were different from each other. It is said that the original pu~se of giving each person a name was for convenience. The purpose of having zi is to get respect from other people. Ancient Chinese people’s ming and zl were often related and they complemented each other. Hao was a person’s complimentary address or honorific title, which is similar to today’s pseudonym. The practice of having hao did not become popular until after the Tang Dynasty. People got their hao either from themselves or from other people. After the Song Dynasty, it became popular for scholars to address each other with their hao, while their nomes were seldom used. The three most common family names are Zhang, Wang and Li. As given names, all Chinese traditionally received a “milk name” at birth, and a ” formal name”upon entering school.
The Formation of Chinese Names
In China, most people’s names have two parts, the family names and the given names. One person may have different names. For example, when they are very young at home, they usually have pel names. In school and society they use their formal names. If someone is a writer, he or she has a pen name. Mosl of Ihe names have special meanings. Some show their parents wishes. Girls’ names show that their parents want them to be nice.
Chinese Common Used Sumames
There were not many matriarchal tribes in ancient China, in other words, there were not many different xing, therefore only a small number of today’s xing (surnames) were passed down from pure ancient xing. Based on The Spring and Autumn Annals, Gu Yanwu sorted out 22 ancient Surnames; and by studying ancient Chinese documents, Zhang Taiyan and other scholars found another 59 ancient Surnarnes. Altogether no more than 81 Surnames.
The Origin of Chinese Names
It is said that the original purpose of giving each person a name was for convenience. Ancient people found that whenever it was dark, they couldn’t see each other and they couldn’t lell who’s who. Each person was given a name, so that they could address each other easily, even in the dark. Later, people became more and more particular about their names. Under the influence of political, economic and other factors, people had different preferences at different period of time.
How to Address Chinese People
It is customary to address Chinese by their given name, using the title Miss, Mrs., or Mr. until persons become good friends and know other’s nicknames. There are a large range of official titles and formal address forms in daily use, especially occupation-linked titles such as doctor, professor, and mayor. Younger members address elder members according 10 their formal role within families such as elder brother, cousin, sister-in-law and so forth.