Traditional Chinese Generation Names


Personal names usually contain some information which falls within the broad content of culture. They are often imbued with information on history, religion, social organization, mentality, values, preferences or symbols. Chinese naming practices do not restrict the inventory of possible given names, and as based upon characteristics of the Chinese culture, Chinese language and Chinese writing system, they grant a great deal more opportunity for creativity in naming than is the case in Western cultures. The paper deals with the specific tradition and practice of Chinese generational naming, i.e. it presents various types and categories of Chinese generation given names, indicating the order of birth of children within a family or within generations of a clan. Generation names appear to be unique to China. The tradition and practice of generation naming were formed to ensure the unity of the great Chinese family and to maintain its continuity and prosperity. According to the research material, there are two main types of generation names, i.e. (I) names denoting the order of birth in a family by using special seniority terms or numerals, and (II) names indicating the order of birth within generations of a family or a clan, or the seniority in a family, created by using some special generational methods of forming Chinese names, based mainly upon the characteristics of the Chinese language and its writing system.
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