I took Mandarin for a couple semesters in college. It was a great experience, but I haven't looked at my coursework in 10yrs at least. One of the experiences that I remember fondly was that of my professor giving each of us a Chinese name that sounded phonetically similar to our Western names as well as being a reflection of our personality.

I am now picking my language studies back up and have started looking into putting together names for my wife and children. I know the process of forming good names can be difficult, but I have tried to match phonetics as well as drawing upon personality traits. The first name I have come up with is 意佳 for my wife. I didn't set out with this in mind, but apparently it translates to "good intention". In English, this often has a negative connotation, but I'm not sure if that carries over to Chinese. Does 意佳 make sense as a female name? Does it carry any negative aspects I am not seeing?

Any help would be greatly appreciated, Thanks!

  • what’s your wife name, first of all 😸 Feb 14 at 1:38
  • Her name is Alisha. I am trying to avoid it sounding like "can die", which I believe is close to the 'sha' sound in her name. Also, the last name I chose for our family is 卫, if that makes a difference.
    – cevanwells
    Feb 14 at 2:06
  • chinese.stackexchange.com/a/35856/23160 Perhaps this might help? Feb 14 at 2:20
  • @WayneCheah, that is a great post to reference. Thank you!
    – cevanwells
    Feb 14 at 2:39
  • 卫 is rare now as a family name or the population of this name is very small, but 韦 or 魏 has a much bigger population, especially like in Guangxi广西 that has 60 million people, 韦 is one of the top 5 family names. I know this well because currently I stay in Nanning, capital of Guangxi. In the 2024 Chinese new year gala of China Central Television, two famous performers were placed in the same singing, one is 魏大勋, the other 魏晨. Feb 14 at 3:34

1 Answer 1


judging from your wife’s name, “意佳”; and the avoiding of “sha”

i suggest the name “衛雅懿”, that

preserve the “a” in alisha, it roughly means “elegant, graceful, refined, polite”



preserve the “i” in alisha, roughly means “fine, virtuous”



have fun :)

  • Thank you so much for your help! I really like the switching of phonemes from 'li' and 'sha' to 'a' and 'li'. I do have a quick follow-up. It looks like you used the traditional character '衛' in place of the simplified version that I used. Is that because you use traditional yourself, or because it would be a more appropriate choice overall? I will mostly be interacting with people from mainland China, rather than Tawain. I like the shape of the simplified character, but I would be OK going either way.
    – cevanwells
    Feb 15 at 3:31
  • @cevanwells, i use traditional chinese for decades 😸 in daily life, it’s up to you to use simplified or traditional. but, in case you need to craft a seal, or to write in calligraphy (by brush pen), the name must be in traditional chinese 😺 Feb 15 at 4:50

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