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Strange Surnames (as in not too common)


muyongshi

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skylee
(Or was this the surname of Wang Lihong's character in Se Jie?)

No. That is 鄺, a common surname.

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Hofmann

Mine. .

A lot of people write it 譚. I'd accept 談 ( because 【集韻】郯以國爲氏。通作談。) but 譚 is definitely not my surname.

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skylee

Reading job applicants' records the other day I came across a very rare surname - 諸任. I had never seen this name before.

And my staff told me that there was another job applicant with the surname 火. It is kind of rare too.

Roddy mentioned 嵇 in an earlier post. It turns out that we actually have a colleague with this name and none of the personnel staff knew how to pronounce it. They wondered aloud and I had to tell them the pronunciation (looks like normal people don't usually consult the dictionaries).

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  • 11 months later...
Roddy mentioned 嵇 in an earlier post. It turns out that we actually have a colleague with this name and none of the personnel staff knew how to pronounce it. They wondered aloud and I had to tell them the pronunciation (looks like normal people don't usually consult the dictionaries).
I was talking about names with weird characters the other day with my teacher, and she said that kids with rare names can get through grade school middle school and high school without ever being called on to answer a question, because the teachers don't know how to call them. One'd think at some point some teacher would pick up a dictionary.
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roddy

she said that kids with rare names can get through grade school middle school and high school without ever being called on to answer a question

I've heard of kids picking obscure and hard-to-pronounce English names to avoid being called on in English class too. I kind of doubt it happens in Chinese classes though - it's just a matter of looking it up, and surely they're going to need to use the kids name at some time or other.

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I kind of doubt it happens in Chinese classes though - it's just a matter of looking it up, and surely they're going to need to use the kids name at some time or other.
Dunno, that's what my teacher said. I do know a first-hand story of a guy whose last character was 韬, not even that obscure, but when checking attendance for the first time, his teachers would always hesitate after the first two characters, and then he would fill in 'tao1!'
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trien27

僻姓,希姓 or 罕姓 are rare surnames [those made of characters which are rarely used in Modern Chinese]. I've never had the chance to distinguish the three in Chinese.

Strange or not most common Chinese surnames could be found in the Baijiaxing, which was written during the Song dynasty. Obscure surnames have many origins, so does common ones. Some surnames were adopted, some were granted. But in most cultures, these are the most common: job positions, official job rankings, dwelling and its compass directions, or any other descriptive ways. Sometimes two common, or one common plus one not so common would form to become one single surname. But if the owner isn't Chinese or had to change the original in some way, they might find ones which are descriptive of things dear and near to them. Many of the surnames could also be found in Chinese-Chinese dictionary. Chinese surnames are one to two characters. Those which are three or more characters are from people of non-Han origin.

How about 竺? I believe this surname is generally only found in the Greater Shanghai area.

竺 is a rare surname, but this character as in 天竺國, which was the Chinese name for what people call Bhārat in Hindi, which came to be known as India AKA South Asia in English. I'm sure now that whoever has this surname is not related to India in any way, but you never know. They might use this to make a debate.

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So Baidu gives some historical uses of as a surname. I landed on that page by searching for 姓姓. I wonder if anyone's been surnamed 氏 -- can't figure out how to search for that at all.

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I've heard of a few people who have 车 as their surname, so I don't think it's that obscure. But I still think it's a very unusual one.
There's a poet with the pen name 车前子. Actually poets often have unlikely surnames in their pen names, but as far as I've found they always turn out to be actual surnames.
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trien27

I wouldn't mind to have a surname of 第一 (number 1) since I am rarely 第一 in anything. :mrgreen: Just imagine a person with last name of 第一 and the first name of 人 (person), and he would introduce himself, "My name is 第一人." :wink:

Since 人 is not used as a name in Chinese, they might switch it to 仁, which has the same pronunciation as 人 in Cantonese & maybe other non-Mandarin dialects. So the person's name might become 第一仁, which when said, will sound like 第一人.

There's a poet with the pen name 车前子. Actually poets often have unlikely surnames in their pen names, but as far as I've found they always turn out to be actual surnames.

车前子 = Plantain seeds. They just used a cute sounding or not so common "pen name". 车前子 is used in Chinese medicine. I don't know what the connection is between the poet & the Chinese medicine. 车 as a surname stemmed from a minister 車千秋, who was the minister 丞相 because he was old and the emperor allowed him to travel in the palace with a small carriage. His descendents took 车/車 as their surname. His original surname was 田.

車千秋

西漢人,本姓田。武帝(西元前140-前87年在位)時為高寢郎(漢代官名),值太子據(衛子夫所生)被直指繡衣使者江充誣陷,千秋為太子據鳴冤,武帝感悟,官拜大鴻臚,後立為丞相,封富民侯。

Source: http://www.greatchinese.com/surname/229.htm

Source: I have a book called 姓氏寻源.

Note: As a surname, it is the same pronunciation as the regular character, Che, not a changed pronunciation.

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Hofmann
仁, which has the same pronunciation as 人 in Cantonese & maybe other non-Mandarin dialects

...and a whole bunch of Mandarin dialects too, I bet.

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In my home in Beijing I've just come across a 2007 february issue of 中国国家地理 running a special report on 奇妙姓氏, strange surnames. The authors manage to find people with any characters you can think of as surnames.

For example, there are four school-age kids surnamed 东、南、西、北. Five guys whose surnames placed next to each other read 毛主席万岁。A village where everyone bears the surname 第五. There's a Mr 上 and a Mr 下。 And on and on for several pages.

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Anyone here has heard about 湖北黄冈浠水县税务局局长操高潮?

Some people just have the strangest names. I've heard of many.

操 is not even considered a Chinese last name by most people. One meaning of 操 = "To F---" [i suggested this because it's somewhat related to his name]

Look up 高潮 and see what the dictionary definition would be.

I suspect that his last name of 操 was possibly a change from 曹 due to his ancestors' 忌讳 for 曹操?

a Mr 下

I believe that's a phonetic change from 夏, which is the same pinyin as 下 and so he or his ancestors used it as a last name due to fewer strokes perhaps?

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