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Choosing a Chinese name based on the Apostle Peter


alantin
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I don't want to hijack the thread but I've been thinking about a Chinese name too and my first name is derived from the name Peter. I haven't done the kind of research the OP has, but the original meaning is based on "stone" so I asked one native speaker if 岩 would be weird and she didn't think so. My last name is actually 中村 so would 中村岩 sound or look weird for Chinese people? Other than that anyone will immediately notice that the last name is Japanese. Oh, and I'm a man too.

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I gave you a fresh thread! 岩 is a pretty normal Chinese given name for men (although googling it I see it also works for women).

 

中村 does immediately peg you as Japanese. Some Chinese people have rather strong and negative views of Japanese people, though generally you should be completely fine. And if you already have a perfectly good surname in characters, it would also be strange to pick a different one.

 

I assume your parents are also Japanese, in which case you could consider asking them if they had a Japanese given name in characters in mind for you. That would in all likelihood make your full name even more Japanese, but it would be something that has a strong connection to your actual identity, which can be nice.

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Thank you Lu for your reply!

 

My surname is actually by marriage, so I am and look European and no one in their right mind would ever mistake me for an Asian unless they were completely blind.

I guess I'm quite rare with this name so it is a good conversation starter and I haven't gotten any negative comments from Chinese people even though in the beginning of my studies, and my first trip to China, I avoided the subject at first. I am aware of the tensions.

 

Like you said, since I do already have characters for my surname, it would feel strange to pick different ones. If 岩 is a normal given name in China, in addition to being a direct translation of my real name, then I think it's perfect!

 

Although, the tutor I asked the first time, also told me that once they hear my surname, Chinese people might just call me that and drop 岩. 😆

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10 hours ago, alantin said:

My surname is actually by marriage, so I am and look European and no one in their right mind would ever mistake me for an Asian unless they were completely blind.

In that case, make sure you check with your partner whether the name you end up choosing also works in Japanese, or at least doesn't mean anything odd there.

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  • 5 months later...
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I think if you wanted to use an element from your family name 中村 Nakamura, you could contract it to 中 Zhōng or 邨 Cūn (from 村), which are both Chinese family names. From there, you could use the given name 岩 Yán to become 中岩 Zhōng Yán. Another option might be to add another character to the given name to make it more unique, e.g. 中珩岩 Zhōng Hángyán, 中皓岩 Zhōng Hàoyán, etc.
Alternatively, you could use a rock/stone-related family name such as 石 Shí or 岳 Yuè and choose a different given name. E.g. 石灏 Shí Hào, 石立灏 Shí Lìhào, 石磊 Shí Lěi, 石桥 Shí Qiáo, 石骧 Shí Xiāng, 岳鹏 Yuè Péng, 岳锦 Yuè Jǐn, etc.

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Hi @liudiaodiao!
Thank you for your suggestions!

 

After discussing this with a couple of Chinese teachers I arrived at 钟春岩.

The over all pronunciation is easier for me than 中村岩, it apparently looks and sounds more like a Chinese name and the connection to Japanese isn't that apparent. However, it is still loosely based on the different elements in my real name, It retains the 中 in a radical, and the pronunciation of 春 is close enough to 村. I also like 春, since spring brings new beginnings to mind for me.

 

I haven't really began to use it yet though, so feedback is still very welcome if someone finds something odd about this name!

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春岩 sounds pretty feminine. Chinese teachers are generally blasé about giving names. Good Chinese names come from or reference classical literature, usually chosen by 爺爺, and embodies a kind of hope for the future. The way the tones and character fit together are very important. There’s an unspoken consensus around rhythm. Also, it’s important not to pick a 兇嫌 character (a character or combination of characters that don’t adhere to 五行八卦). If you want to avoid the whole feminine/masculine divide, there are some very neutral sounding names out there - but it’s not something you can guesstimate. If you really want a good name, go see a fortune-teller (算命), one aspect of the profession is choosing names to fit all the criteria. These names are generally really, really nice sounding and looking. My buddy was named by a fortune teller, his parents recorded the whole session. Spooky. 
 

I’m my experience, there are three grades of bad foreigner names, all equally gross:

1. Transliteration (e.g 馬克)

2. Chinese teacher’s Russian roulette with characters (sometimes literally picking characters out of a hat)

3. Choosing your own name and ignoring all the above factors (I once met a Korean kid called 七八. Gross)

 

anyway, that’s my 2 RMB.

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1 minute ago, 蘇東poo said:

If you really want a good name, go see a fortune-teller (算命), one aspect of the profession is choosing names to fit all the criteria. These names are generally really, really nice sounding and looking.

When I was living in Taiwan, I was informed that the names that fortune tellers come up with were usually really cliche. 菜场的明 people called those names. Perhaps it depends on the fortune teller.

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1 hour ago, 蘇東poo said:

春岩 sounds pretty feminine. Chinese teachers are generally blasé about giving names. Good Chinese names come from or reference classical literature, usually chosen by 爺爺, and embodies a kind of hope for the future. The way the tones and character fit together are very important. There’s an unspoken consensus around rhythm. Also, it’s important not to pick a 兇嫌 character (a character or combination of characters that don’t adhere to 五行八卦). If you want to avoid the whole feminine/masculine divide, there are some very neutral sounding names out there - but it’s not something you can guesstimate. If you really want a good name, go see a fortune-teller (算命), one aspect of the profession is choosing names to fit all the criteria. These names are generally really, really nice sounding and looking. My buddy was named by a fortune teller, his parents recorded the whole session. Spooky. 
 

I’m my experience, there are three grades of bad foreigner names, all equally gross:

1. Transliteration (e.g 馬克)

2. Chinese teacher’s Russian roulette with characters (sometimes literally picking characters out of a hat)

3. Choosing your own name and ignoring all the above factors (I once met a Korean kid called 七八. Gross)

 

anyway, that’s my 2 RMB.

 

Wow! Thank you for your reply!

 

Interesting take on this.

I talked about this with two or three Chinese teacher a couple of months ago and they basically agreed that it definitely looked like a Chinese name and that the most important thing was that I liked it. One actually told me that the image she got from the name alone was someone very youthful, strong and masculine. Exact opposite of your "pretty feminine".

The other one referred me to some feng shui name analyzer website that gave average points for the name as far as I understood it. The teacher laughed and told me "你喜欢就好". However I do think that a second important thing (after feeling that the name is mine and being able to pronounce and explain it) is the image most people conjure in their minds when they hear the name.

 

I have been quite stuck on the characters 中 and 岩 with this. Maybe I should veer a little bit further from those still..

 

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4 hours ago, abcdefg said:

1. Do a Baidu search with the name and with its components. Maybe you will get some ideas.

2. Choosing 钟 when you really want 中 just sound un-necessarily "cute." 

 

Baidu search is good idea. I'll try that! Thanks!

 

钟 is a common surname in china while 中 is not. The person who suggested it to me, explained that seeing 钟 followed by a couple of other characters will immediately register as a name for a Chinese person while 中 may cause some confusion.

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