Forgotten E-Mail about Chinese Names

April 7th, 2005 12:35 by Mike Schnoor in Ego-Mania

About three weeks ago I’ve been quite interested to know some more information concerning Chinese Names given to foreign/non-chinese people. Since I knew Kevin was from China, I asked him per E-Mail on how these names were assigned and if this would result in some kind of standard method to transform my own name, Mike Schnoor, into a Chinese Name. This is an excerpt of the reply from Kevin:

About giving names to foreign persons, there are actually 2 major kinds of rules.
For Korean/Japanese, just use their Korean/Japanese names, since these two countries use Chinese characters as well, but tho they use some of the Chinese characters that in China that we don’t use anymore, but for this issue, that we will find the replacement nowaday for that character.

As for the journalist Hao Ande, I guess his german name is probably Andy/Andreas and last name is some like Haussen? This is the usual way for a foreigner who’s from a country that use phonetics/alphabets.

If you don’t mind I will use your name for a simple example: Mike Schnoor
First we will use the first sound of your family name which is Sch, and in China it souns similar to Shi, so your Chinese family name will be Si. One of the most famous people who named Shi is a writer call Shi Nai An. Usually Chinese name are no more than 3 characters, so here we come to your first name.

Mike - In Chinese, vows don’t change pronoucation as in English, so Mi in Chinese Pingyin is Mai, and Ke is same is Ke. Please remember that all the vows in Chinese need to be prounced, so instead of “Mai-k” as you usually will pronouced in English, we pronouce it as “Mai-ke”. So in this way, your Chinese name should be Shi Mai Ke.

And wait a minute here, and then I found out if I use this rule, than your Chinese name will sound very similar to a word Schmuck, which in English means a jerk. So then we do the other way. Since I don’t know your middle name, you can do it like use Shi Mai and then the first part of your middle name.

This is the most common way of giving somebody to a Chinese name, but also you can look into the name itself to study the origin or the meaning of words. Like Grace, in Chinese the meaning is nice, and you can pick some words that have the meaning as grace, graceful to use as a girl’s name, and it doesn’t need to necessarily sound like Grace.

Giving a name is a quite a tough job, and knowing somebody first and then to help him to find a name is usually a better way.

Thank you for the input, Kevin. I understand it’s better to know somebody first before assigning or creating names to them. This is the best way on how to do it, and I agree with you on it. In the end, I’d rather go with “Shi Mai” instead of the jerky variant. Perhaps I’m able to find out more information once I get a chance to speak with one of my lecturers at University.

Keywords/Tags: No Tags

Related Posts


Feel free to use this Trackback URL:

Ein Kommentar zu “Forgotten E-Mail about Chinese Names”

  1. Kevin

    Hey Mike,

    You are welcome. Actually, I was helping somebody I don’t know personally on his Chinese name the same day I received your email.


This entry was posted on Thursday, April 7th, 2005 at 12:35 and is filed under Ego-Mania.Read the Comment Policy before responding to the post. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.