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I'd like to make a chinese name (girl). I wonder if you could help me, since I don't know what wouldn't be weird for a name. If any native speaker could help me, I'd appreciate it. I want a name that consists of 2 characters. And here are some characters I find beautiful. (But if you know another, that would fit better you can tell me. So I especially like the character: 静,also other characters:智,雪,兰,夜,珍,琰, 玉,徐, or anything you would recommend. Thank you!

  • Do you want a family name, e.g. a character in a novel? [surname]静 is a fairly common name: one of my Chinese coauthors is called 李静. Or is it a nickname for yourself? – Becky 李蓓 Nov 30 '19 at 0:44
  • may i ask your surname, given name, and your preference? – 水巷孑蠻 Nov 30 '19 at 1:22
  • 静 is always a good name through history, which also means it is used by many. 静女其姝,俟我于城隅。It's predominantly a female name – Toosky Hierot Dec 1 '19 at 2:26
  • 徐 is a surname, not firstname in Chinese, but it's still can be firstname in Chinese. For example: 林则徐. – user20407 Dec 1 '19 at 12:41
  • Yes, it would be for a character in a novel. I thought 静 could be used as the surname and I'd need another character for the given name. – Sofia Dec 2 '19 at 16:32
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How about 甘静? It's a character's name in the TV show 好先生.

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What name to choose depends on what you want the name for.

What do Chinese names usually look like?

To begin, ordinary Chinese names begin with the family name and end with the given name. For example 李静 is one of my co-authors. Her family name is 李 and her given name is 静. And 静 by itself is a very common female name. (See https://www.momjunction.com/baby-names/chinese/girl/)

Most (not all) Chinese names have one of the formats:

[single-character surname][single-character given name]

or

[single-character surname][double-character given name]

I have never met a Chinese person who doesn't have a name in one of these formats---it's that common.

Many Chinese people put a lot of effort into their Childrens' names, sometimes hiring professionals to help choose a name. Some families also have commonalities in their given names.

Transliteration

It's common for non-Chinese people to choose names that are transliterations of their given names, as Pedroski's answer gives.

My name, 李蓓 is a partial transliteration: the 蓓 comes from the middle syllable in Rebecca.

Nicknames

Most Chinese people have nicknames too, typically given to them by their parents. They usually don't (never?) include surnames, and are usually cutesy poo. As I understand, such names can be virtually anything.

When I chose a nickname years ago, I just chose 秋叶 (Autumn leaf) which I thought sounded okay. I didn't have any problems.

General advice

When making up names myself, I've found two useful approaches:

  1. Looking up the name in http://name.renren.com/ It'll give you statistics on how common it is, and how masculine/feminine it is. Here's the statisics for my name 李蓓:

    人人网上姓名为 李蓓 的用户共有 3943人,其中 女生92.82%, 男生7.18%

    So 3943 people have the name, with 92.82% female and 7.18% male.

  2. Looking up the name in http://image.baidu.com For example, my name: 李蓓. And you can see what people called 李蓓 look like.

Either that, or just ask someone in person.

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  • Thanks, I appreciate your answer aswell. I want to use 静 as the surname and need another character for the single-character given name. Same to be said here aswell, since it's a character name (that I'd still like to give it a good and meaningful name) it isn't needed to be put so much effort in it. But your answer was really useful. Thank you! – Sofia Dec 2 '19 at 16:46
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Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria: 索菲亚 Suǒ​fēi​yà

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When traditional Chinese parents / more likely grandparents chose names for their off springs, they took into considerations of the following factors as well as needing to sound pleasant to the ear, without any negative pun, carry auspicious connotations, etc:-

-- the season, (Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn), of birth;

-- whether first born or not;

-- a wish that the next born is a male or female;

-- the family was undergoing hard times;

-- whether, astrologically speaking, the child's birth date indicates a lack of or over abundance of one or more of the 5 Elemental Values, (Gold, Wood, Water, Fire, Earth), and so give names that either enhance or reduce the particular Element;

-- in times of war, names of valor or of patriotic connotation;

and so on.

In other words, traditional Chinese child naming was a very very serious business as it could mean coming fortune or disaster or even shortened or lengthened longevity not only for the child but for the whole family as well.

Well, consider 李 嘉 誠, one of the riches Chinese in the World.

And "cuteness" or "coolness", (as is the practice now), was secondary.

However, in your case, a female, the range is limited as females do not, in ancient China, bear any leading family or national burden, and so names that connote beauty, grace, gentleness, caring, kindness, etc, were the norms.

Due to lack of expertise, and in any case a personal name is too individualistic a mater, I would not venture a recommendation.

Finally, as many non-Chinese have noticed, you can have either one or two personal name after the surname. The reason, generally, is that the "middle" character is the generational name and the last is your true personal name. This generational name thing only apply to boys.

So all boys and their first cousins of the same generation will have the same middle name. Why? so that if ever the extended family is separated by time and distance, as in a war or mass migration, boy cousins, uncles, nephews will know if ever they meet for the first time anywhere in the World from which generation of the extended family each belongs.

These middle names were decided and agreed upon at least 3 to 5 generations ahead.

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  • Wow, very in dept. Thanks for your answer! I learned a lot. Now I understand the complicity of choosing names, but since it's only for a character (that I'd still like to have a good name given to), it's not to be given such serious thoughts. But I really appreciate your answer. – Sofia Dec 2 '19 at 16:39

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