Vol. 62 No. 2 (2014)
Research Article

The Adoption of Non-Heritage Names among Chinese Mainlanders

Published 2014-06-01


  • personal names,
  • identity,
  • linguistic ideology,
  • institutional interactions,
  • university,
  • Canada
  • ...More



When studying English or through the medium of English, some mainland Chinese students adopt non-heritage names. This phenomenon has arisen as a result of language contact in an increasingly interconnected world. Our paper investigates reasons for the adoption of non-heritage names among Chinese students and the kinds of functions that these names are seen to fulfill. We surveyed 156 English linguistics majors. Our findings indicate that most of those surveyed use non-heritage names. These appear to serve interrelated roles and can also be associated with Chinese nick-naming. In addition, the names in our sample seem to reflect aspects of students’ lives that are relevant in specific contexts, and these contexts both shape and are shaped by participants’ use of given and non-heritage names.


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