Chinese Learners Receiving Chinese Names? I was wondering what the opinions on this are. A few years ago I got a Chinese penpal. After talking for a while, she offered to give me a Chinese name, and eventually gave me the name 宋若芊。It wasn't until I actually started taking an official Chinese class (rather than studying on my own) last semester that I realized most Chinese learners have a Chinese name that is a sort of Chinese version of their real name. Is it considered strange/rude for a Western person to have an actual *Chinese* name? My real name is Makenzie, and a lot of people ask me why my Chinese name isn't just a Chinese version of that. I love having a Chinese name given to me by a friend, but these days I am reluctant to tell people my Chinese name for fear of how it may seem. Can anyone tell me what is considered "acceptable?"
May 4, 2016 2:36 AM
Answers · 19
So long as your Chinese name sounds nice, and you like it, surely that's enough? A lot of learners get their names given to them by Chinese friends or teachers, often with input from themselves. You can choose a name that is entirely unrelated to your name if you want to, or you can choose a name that is related to your own. My English name is Laurence. The transliteration of Laurence is 勞倫斯, but that sounds awful. Sometimes basing your Chinese name on your English name too literally can sound awful. I have a classmate called 鄧露西, which is an awful name. Conversely, I have a classmate called Thomas with the Chinese name 湯岳海 and another classmate called Sam wit the Chinese name 羅斌, both unrelated to Thomas and Sam. My Chinese is 何安杰. 何 comes from my English surname, while 安杰 come from my middle names. I like my name, it sounds nice and that's all that really matters to me really. I have no idea whether your Chinese name sounds nice or not. You need to ask a native, but if it sounds OK then why not keep it? You get to pick your own name this time round, so why not seize the opportunity? Laurence
May 4, 2016
The politically correct orthodoxy is that people can have any names they like, but in reality…, and that is a big but. The usual practice is to take the first syllable of your English surname as your Chinese surname. You could be a 宋 if your surname was Sommer or Sorenson. 若芊 in my view is rather iffy. It's very self-consciously pastoral and feminine, and therefore tacky! Chinese names, like English names, carry a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle socio-economic and taste connotations. Fellow female students tend to suggest names reeking of teenage romance novels (like 若芊). Chinese teachers tend to suggest aspirational or literary names - these are not so cool in these times. You look and sound like a modern woman. You deserve a modern, non-tacky name.
May 4, 2016
In my opinion. 宋若芊 sound like a person who has great face/ great sound/ great personality/ beautiful heart. Seriously!
May 4, 2016
I like your Chinese name very much, very nice
May 4, 2016
It depends on the transliteration of your English name and what‘s your Chinese surname.Makenzie---麦肯兹,it's strange in Chinese name,obviously is directly transliterated.If you care about this and you wanna a authentic Chinese name,宋若芊 is good enough. PS:why your surname is 宋,is your penpal also name of宋? There are many Chinese’s surname is宋
May 4, 2016
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