1

少 can either be pronounced as shào or shǎo. But when used in names, is it always pronounced as shào?

  • Just ask. It is difficult to guess the meaning of the name carry unless told explicitly. The pronunciation convention only works for people growth under "pu-tong-hua" speaking environment. – mootmoot Jan 24 at 12:43
  • Definitly, you can't pronounce shao3, because shao3 is so common. – Jacob Jan 24 at 14:47
5

Because shào and shǎo has different meaning. shǎo means few/little, and shào means young. When used in names, it is usually intended to address a young person respectfully.

As a given name or as a part of given name, shǎo is very uncommon, yet shào is not. 少 as surname is also uncommon.

  • 少/shǎo/ is indeed uncommon in given name, but 少/shào/ is very common. – Tang Ho Jan 23 at 21:09
  • Yeah you are right, that slipped my mind. – victorino Jan 24 at 8:52
0

少 /shǎo/ : few; little (in number or amount)

少 /shào/ : young; junior

小 /Xiǎo/: small; little (in size)

少/shǎo/(few) is indeed uncommon in given name but 少/shào/(young) and 小/Xiǎo/(small) are very common. All three are unheard of as surname

If you are confused between 少 and 小, just remember a verse from a poem "少小離家老大回" /shào xiǎo lí jiā lǎo dà huí/

少(young) vs. 老(old)

小(small) vs. 大(big)

It is more confusing in Cantonese because 少(few) and 小(small) are pronounced the same /siu2/ ; while 少(young) is pronounced /siu3/

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