Vol. 59 No. 3 (2011)
Research Article

Shall I Name Her “Wisdom” or “Elegance”? Naming in China

Published 2011-09-01





Naming practices are significant communicative acts. Given names convey aspects of identity, social circumstances, and cultural conditioning. In this study, several issues regarding naming practices in China are considered. The results show that given names possess multiple levels of meanings, including parental expectations, birth circumstances, lineage, parental affection/love, commemoration, and gender qualities. Although the impact of a given name on a person's everyday life is viewed as mostly symbolic, a given name is believed to have the power of motivating and inspiring individuals. Good given names are meaningful, bear parental wishes, hopes, and love, and are pleasant to hear.


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