iOS Users: Please click here for the latest information: (updated 5.10.2016)
Say It Right Series

Naming rights for kids: Time to switch to an alphabet?

Posted by daizi April 20, 2009 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: names, characters


From today's New York Times

China Brushes Out Distinctive Hues of Names

Published: April 20, 2009


BEIJING — “Ma,” a Chinese character for horse, is the 13th most common family name in China, shared by nearly 17 million people. That can cause no end of confusion when Mas get together, especially if those Mas also share the same given name, as many Chinese do.


Ma Cheng’s book-loving grandfather came up with an elegant solution to this common problem. Twenty-six years ago, when his granddaughter was born, he combed through his library of Chinese dictionaries and lighted upon a character pronounced “cheng.” Cheng, which means galloping steeds, looks just like the character for horse, except that it is condensed and written three times in a row.

The character is so rare that once people see it, Miss Ma said, they tend to remember both her and her name. That is one reason she likes it so much.

That is also why the government wants her to change it.

The rest of the story...


Actually, the character in question is 骉(驫) and as far as I can tell is actually pronounced biāo.


Comments (15) RSS

loading... Updating ...

To comment, please login.

Not sure if your comment is appropriate? Check our Commenting Policy first.

New lesson idea? Please contact us.