3

。。。 “小时小,朋友朋。”

I think Chinese people will say that because you may not know how their name is written, so you get a better description of what their name is.

But... does the word have to be the foundation of your name, or can it be anything to help someone understand what your name is, without having to write it down? Does that make sense?

For example, my Chinese name is "张玲菲“. Can I say "张票的张,玲珑的玲,菲律宾的菲”? Is it weird to say "菲律宾的菲", or would there be something better to use?

I have had many ask, "Oh, how is that written?" But would like to say that instead!

Thanks for your help!!

5
  • 1
    It's fine, as long as you can get your idea across. Btw, as for 张, we usually say 弓 长 张 for clarification, since there is 立 早 章.
    – dan
    Jun 16 at 3:32
  • 3
    Another "modern" way is to use the surname / name of a famous personality, like movie celebrities or well known singers. This way you avoid saying something silly or negative, which I believe is your concern. My mother is also a 张, and so her nickname was 张天师, an ancient Taoist deity. But the TeoChew, (潮州), people have no such problem because 张 is pronounced "Teo / Teoh" in that "dialect" Jun 16 at 4:21
  • 2
    Following Wayne's comment, you may say (Eileen Chang) 張愛玲的玲, (Faye Wong) 王菲的菲 too
    – L Parker
    Jun 16 at 4:23
  • There are also some common family names that have fairly fixed clarifications as well such as 雙木林 for 林, or 木子李 for 李. You can of course improvise as well, so it's not as if people wouldn't understand if you say 森林的林.
    – Olle Linge
    Jun 16 at 16:15
  • 1
    Just in case someone would wonder how may possible female names if OP does not clarify her name. echo {张,章}{玲,伶,铃,菱,苓,灵,囹,姈}{菲,飞,妃,斐,婓,翡}: 张玲菲 张玲飞 张玲妃 张玲斐 张玲婓 张玲翡 张伶菲 张伶飞 张伶妃 张伶斐 张伶婓 张伶翡 张铃菲 张铃飞 张铃妃 张铃斐 张铃婓 张铃翡 张菱菲 张菱飞 张菱妃 张菱斐 张菱婓 张菱翡 张苓菲 张苓飞 张苓妃 张苓斐 张苓婓 张苓翡 张灵菲 张灵飞 张灵妃 张灵斐 张灵婓 张灵翡 张囹菲 张囹飞 张囹妃 张囹斐 张囹婓 张囹翡 张姈菲 张姈飞 张姈妃 张姈斐 张姈婓 张姈翡 章玲菲 章玲飞 章玲妃 章玲斐 章玲婓 章玲翡 章伶菲 章伶飞 章伶妃 章伶斐 章伶婓 章伶翡 章铃菲 章铃飞 章铃妃 章铃斐 章铃婓 章铃翡 章菱菲 章菱飞 章菱妃 章菱斐 章菱婓 章菱翡 章苓菲 章苓飞 章苓妃 章苓斐 章苓婓 章苓翡 章灵菲 章灵飞 章灵妃 章灵斐 章灵婓 章灵翡 章囹菲 章囹飞 章囹妃 章囹斐 章囹婓 章囹翡 章姈菲 章姈飞 章姈妃 章姈斐 章姈婓 章姈翡 Jun 17 at 10:00
6

The vast majority of Chinese characters have homophones (同音字), other characters with exactly the same pronunciation. That's why we might need to clarify which character we are referring to. It's like when in English we need to clarify how to spell a name. For example, you may wonder: "Is she Annabel or Annabelle?" "Anne or Ann?"

There is no strict rule about how to do that in Chinese, but you may want to consider what is common in China.

In real life, there are a few different ways to "spell" Chinese characters, including:

1) Telling which "parts" the character if composed of

For example, to "spell" 胡, you would say 古月胡 because 胡 is made of 古 (you see it on the left in the character 胡) and 月 (on the right in the character 胡).

The conversation, taken from wearyourchinesename.com lesson 51, might go this way:

A: 你姓什么?
B: 我姓胡。
A: 什么胡?
B: 古月胡。

Other examples:

毕:比十毕

杜:木土杜

和:禾口和

季:禾子季

雷:雨田雷

李:木子李

时:日寸时

孙:子小孙

吴:口天吴

章:立早章

张:弓长张

朱:牛人朱 (see also the 朱 below)

庄:广土庄

More examples not so obvious:

陈:耳东陈
(the 阝 you see on the left of 陈 is shorten here as 耳 because it is called “软耳刀”, “双耳旁”, or “双耳刀”)

邓:又耳邓
(又 is the similar part you see on the left of 邓, while the 阝 you see on the right is shorten here as 耳 because it is called “软耳刀”, “双耳旁”, or “双耳刀”)

冯:二马冯
(二 here is a short of 二点水, that is the 冫 you see on the left of 冯)

何:人可何
(人 is the 亻 you see on the left of 何)

计:言十计
(言 is the 讠 you see on the left of 计; infact, the traditional version of 计 is 計)

刘:文刀刘
(刀 is the 刂 you see on the right of 刘)

苗:草田苗
(草 is the 艹 you see as upper part of 苗)

唐:广口唐
(with both 广 and 口)

许:言午许
(言 is the 讠 you see on the left of 许; infact, the traditional version of 许 is 許)

许:讠午许
(same as above)

赵:走肖赵
(肖 is the 㐅 you see on the right of 赵; infact, the traditional version of 赵 is 趙)

郑:关耳郑
(the 阝 you see on the right of 郑 is shorten here as 耳 because it is called “软耳刀”, “双耳旁”, or “双耳刀”)

周:圈吉周
(吉 in a frame; this is a universally accepted mistake made for convenience, because 吉 in NOT what you see inside of 周, but just very similar)

周:方框周
(in a frame)

2) Reference to position or number of certain parts

黄:草头黄
(草 is the 艹 you see as the upper part of 黄, while 头 here means "upper part": the "黄" having 艹 as upper part)

蒋:草头蒋
(same as above; see also the 蒋 below)

林:双木林
(双 means couple, so in 林 we have a couple of 木; see also the 林 below)

吕:双口吕
(a couple of 口)

徐:双人徐
(a couple of 人 are in the 彳 that you see on the left of 徐)

3) Reference to strokes

王:三横王
(with three horizontal strokes)

于:干钩于
(干 with a 亅 added)

朱:撇未朱
(未 with a 丿 added; see below for still another option)

4) Reference to words

方:方向的方

小:大小的小

5) Reference to famous people

贺:贺龙的贺

蒋:蒋介石的蒋

林:林彪的林

罗:罗荣桓的罗

毛:毛泽东的毛

聂:聂荣臻的聂

彭:彭德怀的彭

叶:叶剑英的叶

朱:朱德的朱

6) Just write it on your hand with your finger!

1

Yes and No.

When the characters of your name are strongly connected to some concepts, people tend to explain it that way.

Many Chinese names are from Chinese Wu Xing. For instance: . I know some people who have the name and they always introduced it like 三个水的那个淼 which means the three-Water combined word.

However, if the name has nothing to do with some concepts, people will just use any way to describe it. Just like the example in your question.

1
  • Quote:- "三个水的那个淼" Yeah, this is the "classical" way, but only good for people who have a wide grasp of written Chinese. For example my surname 谢 could be clarified in one of two ways. First, the "colloquial" way which is to say 谢谢的谢, (which even illiterates could grasp), or the "classical" way which is to say 言, 身 ,寸which incidentally means that when you wish to "Thank" someone, you do it with "words", (言) and "expressed with every "inch" (寸) of your "body" (身)", like bowing with hands clasped together. Jun 16 at 14:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.