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Encyclopedia > Chinese surname

A Chinese surname, family name (Chinese: ; pinyin: xìng) or clan name (; pinyin: shì), is one of the hundreds or thousands of family names that have been historically used by Han Chinese and Sinicized Chinese ethnic groups in mainland China, Taiwan, and among overseas Chinese communities. The colloquial expressions lao bai xing (老百姓; lit. "old hundred surnames"), or bǎi xìng (, lit. "hundred surnames") are used in Chinese to mean "ordinary people", "the people," or "commoners." Bǎi jiā xìng() is also used to call the list of one hundred most common surnames. Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ), commonly called Pinyin, is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... A family name, surname, or last name is the part of a persons name that indicates to what family he or she belongs to. ... Languages Chinese languages, Indian languages, Hebrew Religions Predominantly Taoism, Mahayana Buddhism, traditional Chinese religions, and atheism. ... Sinicization, or Sinification, is to make things Chinese. ... The Peoples Republic of China officially describes itself as a multinational unitary state and as such officially recognizes 56 nationalities or Mínzú (民族), within China: the Han being the majority (>92%), and the remaining 55 nationalities being the national minorities. ... ... Overseas Chinese are people of Chinese ancestry who live outside China. ...


See Hundred Family Surnames (The list most commonly use when referring to 'The Hundred Surnames') The Hundred Family Names (Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is a classic Chinese text composed of common surnames in ancient China. ...


See List of common Chinese surnames (updated annually) for the 100 most common surnames of recent years. This is a list of the top 100 most common Chinese surnames according to a study published in 2006. ...


Chinese family names are patrilineal, passed from father to children. (In cases of adoption, the adoptee usually also takes the same surname.) Chinese women, after marriage, typically retain their birth surname. Historically, however, only Chinese men possessed xìng (family name), in addition to shì; the women had only the latter, and took on their husband's xìng after marriage. Patrilineality (a. ...

Contents

Origin of surnames

Prior to the Warring States Period (5th century BC), only the royal family and the aristocratic elite could generally take surnames. Historically there was also difference between xing and shi. Xing were surnames held by the immediate royal family. They generally are composed of a nü (女, meaning "female") radical which suggests that they originated from matriarchal societies based on maternal lineages. Another hypothesis has been proposed by sinologist Léon Vandermeersch upon observation of the evolution of characters in oracular scripture from the Shang dynasty through the Zhou. The "female" radical seems to appear at the Zhou period next to Shang sinograms indicating an ethnic group or a tribe. This combination seems to designate specifically a female and could mean "lady of such or such clan". The structure of the xing sinogram could reflect the fact that in the royal court of Zhou, at least in the beginning, only females (wives married into the Zhou family from other clans) were called by their birth clan name, while the men were usually designated by their title or fief. Alternative meaning: Warring States Period (Japan) The Warring States Period (Traditional Chinese: 戰國時代; Simplified Chinese: 战国时代; Pinyin: Zhànguó Shídài) covers the period from sometime in the 5th century BC to the unification of China by the Qin in 221 BC. It is nominally considered to be the second part... A matriarchy is a tradition (and by extension a form of government) in which community power lies with the eldest mother of a community. ... Bronze vessel Beast Face Flat Feet Ding (兽面扁足鼎) dated early Shang Dynasty, 1600 - 1350BC. Remnants of advanced, stratified societies dating back to the Shang period have been found in the Yellow River Valley. ... Boundaries of the Western Zhou Dynasty (1050 - 771 BC) in China The Zhou Dynasty (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Chou Ch`ao; 1122 BC to 256 BC (ref) followed the Shang (Yin) Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty in China. ... 漢字 / 汉字 Chinese character in Hanzi, Kanji, Hanja, Hán Tá»±. Red in Simplified Chinese. ...


Prior to the Qin Dynasty (3rd century BC) China was largely a feudal society. As fiefdoms were divided and subdivided among descendants, so additional sub-surnames known as shi were created to distinguish between different seniority of lineages among the nobles though in theory they shared the same ancestor. In this way, a nobleman would hold a shi and a xing. After the states of China were unified by Qin Shi Huang in 221 BC, surnames gradually devolved to the lower classes and the difference between xing and shi blurred. The Qin Dynasty (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Chin Chao) (221 BCE - 206 BCE) was preceded by the Zhou Dynasty and followed by the Han Dynasty in China. ... Feudalism comes from the Late Latin word feudum, itself borrowed from a Germanic root *fehu, a commonly used term in the Middle Ages which means fief, or land held under certain obligations by feodati. ... The monarch known now as Qin Shi Huang (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Chin Shih-huang) (November / December 260 BCE – September 10, 210 BCE), personal name Ying Zheng, was king of the Chinese State of Qin from 247 BC to 221 BCE (officially still under the Zhou Dynasty), and then... Centuries: 4th century BC - 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC Decades: 270s BC 260s BC 250s BC 240s BC 230s BC - 220s BC - 210s BC 200s BC 190s BC 180s BC 170s BC Years: 226 BC 225 BC 224 BC 223 BC 222 BC - 221 BC - 220 BC 219 BC...


Shi surnames, many of which survive to the present day, generally share twelve paths of origin:

  1. From xing: These were usually reserved for the central lineage of the royal family, with collateral lineages taking their own shi. Of the six or so common xing, only Jiang (姜) and Yao (姚) have survived as frequently occurring surnames.
  2. From royal decree by the Emperor, such as Kwong (鄺).
  3. From state names: Many commoners took the name of their state, either to show their continuing allegiance or as a matter of national and ethnic identity. Common examples include Song (宋), Wu (吴), Chen (陈/陳). Not surprisingly, due to the population size of the peasantry, these are some of the most common Chinese surnames.
  4. From the name of fiefs or place of origin. Fiefdoms were often granted to collateral branches of the aristocracy and it was natural as part of the process of sub-surnaming for their names to be used. An example is Di, Marquis of Ouyangting, whose descendants took the surname Ouyang. There are some two hundred examples of this identified, often of two-character surnames, but few have survived to the present.
  5. From the names of ancestors: Like the previous example, this was also a common origin with close to 500 or 600 examples, 200 of which are two-character surnames. Often an ancestor's style name would be used. For example, Yuan Taotu took the second character of his grandfather's style name Boyuan (伯爰) as his surname. Sometimes titles granted to ancestors could also be taken as surnames.
  6. From seniority within the family: In ancient usage, the characters of meng (孟), zhong (仲), shu (叔) and ji (季) were used to denote the first, second, third and fouth eldest sons in a family. These were sometimes adopted as surnames. Of these, Meng is the best known, being the surname of philosopher Mencius, for example.
  7. From occupation: These could arise from both official positions, as in the case of Sima (司马/司馬), originally akin to "Minister of War". They could also arise from more lowly occupations, as with Tao (陶), meaning "potter" or Wu (巫), meaning "shaman".
  8. From ethnic groups: Non-Chinese peoples in China sometimes took the name of their ethnic group as surname. The best example is Hu (胡), which originally referred to all "barbarian" groups on the northern frontier of China.

Jiang can be a pinyin transliteration of one of several Chinese surnames: 江, Jiāng 蔣 (traditional) or è’‹ (simplified), JiÇŽng 姜, Jiāng Famous people surnamed 江: Jiang Qing, wife of Mao Zedong Jiang Zemin, PRC leader March Fong Eu (江月桂), first Asian American woman elected to state constitutional office in US Famous people... Yao can refer to: The name of the demiurge in Gnostic scripture. ... Kwong, written in Chinese Kwong 鄺 is a Chinese family name originated in Mainland China, and is the surname of over 5 million individuals dispersed mostly in China and in the ethnic Chinese communities in Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Fiji, Thailand, Cuba, and Burma. ... Soong is an English transliteration of the Chinese family name 宋. The official Pinyin transliteration is Song, and is Sung in Wade-Giles. ... Wu is the Pinyin transliteration of the Chinese surname 吳 (Traditional Chinese), 吴 (Simplified Chinese), which is 10th most common surname in Mainland China. ... 陳; Chén Chén (Simplified Chinese: 陈, Traditional Chinese: 陳) is one of the most common Chinese family names. ... Ouyang, (also OYoung, Owyang, Au Yong, Auyong, Au Yeung) (Simplified Chinese: 欧阳, Traditional Chinese: 歐陽) is one of the most common two_character Chinese surnames in the world, although for a surname, it falls out of the top two hundred as documented by the Language Publication Society, Beijing... A Chinese courtesy name, sometimes also known as a style name, was a pseudonym that was used in place of a given name by educated Chinese up until the 20th century. ... Yuan Taotu 轅濤塗 (died c. ... Meng can refer to the following: A common Chinese surname Mèng (å­Ÿ). MEng, short for Master of Engineering. ... Mencius (most accepted dates: 372 BC – 289 BC; other possible dates: 385 BC – 303 BC or 302 BC) was born in the State of Zou (鄒國), now forming the territory of the county-level city of Zoucheng (邹城市), Shandong province, only 30 km (18 miles) south of Qufu, the town of Confucius. ... Sima (Simplified Chinese: 司马; Traditional Chinese: 司馬; pinyin: SÄ«mÇŽ; Wade-Giles: Ssu-ma) is a Chinese family name. ... Wu is the Pinyin transliteration of the Chinese surname 吳 (Traditional Chinese), 吴 (Simplified Chinese), which is 10th most common surname in Mainland China. ... Hu is a Chinese family name represented by the character 胡. The spelling Hu can be used by numerous less common Chinese family names including but not limited to 胡,ç“ ,è­·,戶,扈,虎,呼,忽,æ–› etc. ...

Distribution of surnames

Province Surnames
Guangdong Liang (梁), Luo (罗/羅), Kwong (鄺)
Guangxi Liang (梁), Lu (陆/陸)
Fujian Zheng (郑/鄭), Lin (林)
Anhui Wang (汪)
Jiangsu Xu (徐), Zhu (朱)
Zhejiang Mao (毛),Shen (沈)
Jiangxi Hu (胡), Liao (廖);
Hubei Hu (胡)
Hunan Tan (谭/譚);
Sichuan He (何), Deng (邓/鄧)
Guizhou Wu (吴)
Yunnan Yang (杨/楊)
Henan Cheng (程)
Gansu Gao (高)
Ningxia Wan (万/萬)
Shaanxi Xue (薛)
Qinghai Bao (鲍/鮑)
Xinjiang Ma (马/馬)
Shandong Kong (孔)
Shanxi Dong (董) and Guo (郭)
Inner Mongolia Pan (潘)
Northeast China Yu (于)

Surnames are not evenly distributed throughout China's geography. In northern China, Wang (王) is the most common surname, being shared by 9.9% of the population. Next are Li (李), Zhang (张/張) and Liu (刘/劉). In the south, Chen (陈/陳) is the most common, being shared by 10.6% of the population. Next are Li (李), Huang (黄), Lin (林) and Zhang (张/張). Around the major crossing points of the Yangtze River, the most common surname is Li (李), taking up 7.7%, followed by Wang (王), Zhang (张/張), Chen (陈/陳) and Liu (刘/劉). Guangdong, often spelt as Kwangtung, is a province on the south coast of the Peoples Republic of China. ... Luo refers to the Mandarin romanizations of the Chinese surnames ç¾… (Simplified Chinese: ç½—, pinyin: Luó, Jyutping: Lo4) and 駱 (Simplified Chinese: 骆, pinyin: Luò, Jyutping: Lok3). ... Kwong, written in Chinese Kwong 鄺 is a Chinese family name originated in Mainland China, and is the surname of over 5 million individuals dispersed mostly in China and in the ethnic Chinese communities in Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Fiji, Thailand, Cuba, and Burma. ... Guangxi (Zhuang: Gvangjsih; old orthography: ; Simplified Chinese: 广西; Traditional Chinese: 廣西; Pinyin: GuÇŽngxÄ«; Wade-Giles: Kuang-hsi; Postal System Pinyin: Kwangsi), full name Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (Zhuang: Gvangjsih Bouxcuengh Swcigih; old orthography: ; Simplified Chinese: 广西壮族自治区; Traditional Chinese: 廣西壯族自治區; Pinyin: GuÇŽngxÄ« Zhuàngzú ZìzhìqÅ«) is a Zhuang autonomous region of...   (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Fu-chien; Postal map spelling: Fukien, Foukien; local transliteration Hokkien from Min Nan Hok-kiàn) is one of the provinces on the southeast coast of the Peoples Republic of China. ... Anhui (Chinese: 安徽; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: An-hui; Postal System Pinyin: Ngan-hui, Anhwei or An-hwei) is a province of the Peoples Republic of China. ... Jiangsu (Simplified Chinese: 江苏; Traditional Chinese: 江蘇; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Chiang-su; Postal System Pinyin: Kiangsu) is a province of the Peoples Republic of China, located along the east coast of the country. ... Zhejiang (also spelled Chehkiang or Chekiang) is an eastern coastal province of the Peoples Republic of China. ... Jiangxi (Chinese: 江西; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Chiang-hsi; Postal System Pinyin: Kiangsi) is a southern province of the Peoples Republic of China, spanning from the banks of the Yangtze River in the north into hillier areas in the south. ... Hubei (Chinese: 湖北; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Hu-pei; Postal System Pinyin: Hupeh) is a central province of the Peoples Republic of China. ...   (Chinese: ; pinyin: Húnán) is a province of China, located in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and south of Lake Dongting (hence the name Hunan, meaning south of the lake). Hunan is sometimes called 湘 (pinyin: Xiāng) for short, after the Xiang River which runs through the...   (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: SzÅ­4-chuan1; Postal map spelling: Szechwan and Szechuan) is a province in the central-western China with its capital at Chengdu. ... Deng refer to: The Chinese surname Deng Deng Xiaoping, ruler of China from 1979 or 1980 until his death in 1997 Dèng LìjÅ«n, an Asian singer, from Taipei, Taiwan A fictional alien species in the Concordiat universe created by Keith Laumer Luol Deng a professional basketball player... (Simplified Chinese: 贵州; Traditional Chinese: è²´å·ž; pinyin: Gùizhōu; Wade-Giles: Kuei-chou; also spelled Kweichow) is a province of the Peoples Republic of China located in the southwestern part of the country. ...   (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ; literally south of the clouds) is a province of the Peoples Republic of China, located in the far southwestern corner of the country. ... Henan (Chinese: 河南; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Ho-nan), is a province of the Peoples Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. ... Gansu (Simplified Chinese: 甘肃; Traditional Chinese: 甘肅; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Kan-su, Kansu, or Kan-suh) is a province located in the northwest of the Peoples Republic of China. ... Ningxia (Simplified Chinese: 宁夏; Traditional Chinese: 寧夏; Pinyin: Níngxià; Wade-Giles: Ning-hsia; Postal Pinyin: Ningsia), full name Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (Simplified Chinese: 宁夏回族自治区; Traditional Chinese: 寧夏回族自治區; Pinyin: Níngxià Huízú ZìzhìqÅ«), is a Hui autonomous region of the Peoples Republic of China, located on the northwest Loess...   (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ShÇŽnxÄ«; Wade-Giles: Shan-hsi; Postal map spelling: Shensi) is a north-central province of the Peoples Republic of China, and includes portions of the Loess Plateau on the middle reaches of the Yellow River as well as the Qinling Mountains across the... Qinghai (Chinese: 青海; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Ching-hai; Postal System Pinyin: Tsinghai; Tibetan: མཚོ་སྔོན་ mtsho-sngon; Mongolian: Köke Naγur; Manchu: Huhu Noor) is a province of the Peoples Republic of China, named after the enormous Qinghai Lake. ... For the county in Shanxi province, see Xinjiang County. ...   (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Shan-tung) is a coastal province of eastern Peoples Republic of China. ... Shanxi (Chinese: 山西; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Shan-hsi; Postal System Pinyin: Shansi) is a province in the northern part of the Peoples Republic of China. ... Inner Mongolia (Mongolian: ᠥᠪᠦᠷ ᠮᠣᠨᠺᠤᠯᠤᠨ ᠥᠪᠡᠷᠲᠡᠺᠡᠨ ᠵᠠᠰᠠᠬᠤ ᠣᠷᠤᠨ r Mongghul-un bertegen Jasaqu Orun; Chinese: 内蒙古自治区; Hanyu Pinyin: N... Approximate extent Northeast China (Simplified Chinese: 东北; Traditional Chinese: 東北; pinyin: Dōngběi; literally east-north), historically known as Manchuria, is the name of a region (ca. ... Afternoon light on the jagged grey mountains rising from the Yangtze River gorge The Yangtze River or Chang Jiang (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world after the Nile in Africa, the Amazon in South America. ...


A 1987 study showed over 450 family names in common use in Beijing, but there were less than 300 family names in Fujian.[1]   (Chinese:  ; Pinyin: BÄ›ijÄ«ng; IPA: ), a metropolis in northern China, is the capital of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). ...


A study by geneticist Yuan Yida has found that of all the people with a particular surname its highest number can be found in a certain province, as seen at right. It does not show the most common surnames in any one province. Look up geneticist in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Yuan Yida (袁义达) is a researcher from the Institute of Genetic and Developmental Biology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. ...


The 55th most common family name "Xiao" () appears to be very rare in Hong Kong. This is explained by the fact Hong Kong uses traditional Chinese characters not simplified Chinese characters. Originally, the surname 蕭 (Xiao) was rather common while the surname 肖 (Xiao) was extremely rare, if not non-existent (it is mentioned only sporadically in historical texts). The first round of simplification in 1956 simplified 蕭 into 萧, keeping 蕭/萧 and 肖 distinct. However the second-round in 1977, which has long been abolished, merged 萧 and 肖 into 肖. Despite the retraction of the second round, some people have kept 肖 as their surname, so that there are now two separate surnames, 萧 and 肖. Traditional Chinese characters are one of two standard sets of printed Chinese characters. ... Simplified Chinese characters (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ; also Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ) refer to one of two standard Chinese character sets of printed contemporary Chinese written language, officially simplified by the government of the Peoples Republic of China in an attempt to promote literacy. ... The second round of Chinese character simplification was officially promulgated on December 20, 1977 by the Peoples Republic of China, and replaced the existing (first round) simplified Chinese characters that were already in use. ...


Chén (trad , simp ) is perhaps the most common surname in Hong Kong and Macau (romanized as Chan) and is also common in Taiwan (romanized as Chen). Fang (), which is only the 47th most common overall, is much more common in San Francisco's Chinatown in the United States. As with the concentration of family names, this can also be explained statistically, as a person with an uncommon name could move to an unsettled area and leave this family name to large numbers of people. Nickname: The City by the Bay; Fog City; The City Location of the City and County of San Francisco, California Coordinates: Country United States of America State California City-County San Francisco Government  - Mayor Gavin Newsom Area  - City  47 sq mi (122 km²)  - Land  46. ...


After the Song Dynasty, surname distributions in China largely stabilised. The Kwong family for example, stabilized in Guangdong during the revolts of the Song Dynasty and migrated from the capital in the north. Villages were often made up of individuals with the same surname, often with a common male ancestor. They usually intermarried with nearby villages, creating clusters of individuals with similar genetic background. Kwong, written in Chinese Kwong 鄺 is a Chinese family name originated in Mainland China, and is the surname of over 5 million individuals dispersed mostly in China and in the ethnic Chinese communities in Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Fiji, Thailand, Cuba, and Burma. ...


Surnames at present

Of the thousands of surnames which have been identified from historical texts prior to the Han Dynasty, most have either been lost or simplified. In recent centuries some two-character surnames have often dropped a character. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, moreover, some surnames have been graphically simplified. Later Han redirects here. ...


Although there are thousands of Chinese family names, the 100 most common surnames, which together make up less than 5% of those in existence, are shared by 85% of the population. The three most common surnames in Mainland China are Li, Wang and Zhang, which make up 7.9%, 7.4% and 7.1% respectively. Together they number close to 300 million and are easily the most common surnames in the world. Li or li may refer to: Lee or Li is a transliteration of several Chinese and Korean family names, see Li (Chinese name) and Lee (Korean name). ... // Chinese surname Wang: Wáng; in Jyutping: Wong4) is one of the most common Chinese family names. ... Zhang (Traditional Chinese: 張, Simplified Chinese: 张, pinyin: Zhāng, Wade-Giles: Chang, Yale: Jeung, Jyutping: Zoeng1, Hong Kong Government: Cheung) is among the most common Chinese surnames. ...


In a 1990 study, the top 200 family names accounted for over 96% of a random sample of 174,900 persons, with over 500 other names accounting for the remaining 4%.[2] In a different study (1987), which combined data from Taiwan and mainland China (sample size of 570,000 persons), the top 19 names covered 55.6% [3], and the top 100 names covered 87% of the sample. Other data suggest that the top 50 names comprise 70% of the population.[4]


Most commonly occurring Chinese family names have only one character; however, about twenty double-character family names have survived into the modern time. These include Sima (, simp. ), Zhuge (諸, simp. ), Ouyang (陽, simp. , occasionally romanized as O'Young, giving some Anglophones an Irish impression), and Situ (or Sito ). There are family names with three or more characters, but those are not ethnically Han Chinese. For example, Aixinjueluo (, also romanized from the Manchu language as Aisin Gioro), was the family name of the Manchu royal family of the Qing dynasty. A Chinese compound surname (Simplified Chinese: , Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: fùxìng) is a Chinese surname using more than one character. ... Sima (Simplified Chinese: 司马; Traditional Chinese: 司馬; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Ssu-ma) is a Chinese family name. ... Zhuge is a Chinese double surname that when pronounced in Cantonese, has the same pronounciation as wisdom. The most popular Zhuge known are Zhuge Liang, Zhuge Jin, Zhuge Ke, Zhuge Xuan, Zhuge Zhan and his son, Zhuge Shang. ... Ouyang, (also OYoung, Owyang, Au Yong, Auyong, Au Yeung, Au Ieong) (Simplified Chinese: 欧阳, Traditional Chinese: 歐陽) is one of the most common two-character Chinese surnames in the world, although for a surname, it falls out of the top two hundred as documented by the Language Publication Society, Beijing, in... Aisin Gioro (Chinese: 愛新覺羅; pinyin: ixīn j o1) was the family name of the Manchu emperors of the Qing dynasty. ... The Manchu (Manchu: Manju; Simplified Chinese: , Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: MÇŽnzú, Mongolian: Манж) are a Tungusic people who originated in Manchuria (todays Northeast China). ... The Qing Dynasty (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Ching chao; Manchu: daicing gurun; Mongolian: Манж Чин), occasionally known as the Manchu Dynasty, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1644 to 1912. ...


Transliteration of Chinese family names (see List of common Chinese surnames) into foreign languages poses a number of problems. Chinese surnames are shared by people speaking a number of dialects and languages which often have different pronunciations of their surnames. The Chinese diaspora into all parts of the world resulted in the Romanization of the surnames based on different languages. As a result, it is common for the same surname to be transliterated differently. In certain dialects, different surnames could be homonyms so it is common for family names to appear ambiguous when transliterated. Example: 鄭/郑 (pinyin:Zheng) can be romanised into Chang, Cheng, Chung, Teh, Tay, Tee, Zeng or Zheng, (in pinyin, Chang, Cheng, Zheng and Zeng are all different names). Transliteration is the practice of transcribing a word or text written in one writing system into another writing system. ... This is a list of the top 100 most common Chinese surnames according to a study published in 2006. ... Overseas Chinese are people of Chinese ancestry who live outside China. ... In linguistics, romanization (or Latinization, also spelled romanisation or Latinisation) is the representation of a word or language with the Roman (Latin) alphabet, or a system for doing so, where the original word or language uses a different writing system. ... Homonyms (in Greek homoios = identical and onoma = name) are words which have the same form (orthographic/phonetic) but unrelated meaning. ... Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ), commonly called Pinyin, is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ...


Examples of variations in romanisation

Due to the different pronunciation and romanisations, it is generally able to tell whether a Chinese person has origins in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, or Southeast Asia including Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. In general people from mainland China, and the younger generation from Singapore will have surnames in pinyin. Those from Taiwan in Wade-Giles romanisation. People from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong usually base their romanisation on Min, Hakka and Cantonese dialects. Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ), commonly called Pinyin, is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Wade-Giles, sometimes abbreviated Wade, is a Romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration) system for the Chinese language based on Mandarin. ... Min (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; POJ: Bân hong-giân; BUC: Mìng huŏng-ngiòng) is a general term for a group of dialects of the Chinese language spoken in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian as well as by migrants from this province in Guangdong (around Chaozhou-Swatou... Hakka (Simplified Chinese: 客家话, Traditional Chinese: 客家話, Hakka: Hak-ka-fa/-va, pinyin: Kèjiāhuà) is a Chinese dialect/language spoken predominantly in southern China by the Hakka ethnic group and descendants in diaspora throughout East and Southeast Asia and around the world. ... Cantonese is a major dialect group or language of the Chinese language, a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. ...


There are also people who use non-standard romanisations, eg the Hong Kong media mogul 邵逸夫 Run Run Shaw's surname 邵 is spelt as Shaw, pinyin: Shao. The use of different systems of romanisation based on different Chinese language variants during the 1900~1970 also contributed to the variations. A media proprietor is a person who controls, either through personal ownership or a dominant position in a public company, a significant part of the mass media. ... Please wikify (format) this article or section as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ...


Eg.

Written form Pinyin Wade-Giles Malaysia/Singapore Hong Kong (Cantonese) English meaning
陈/陳 Chen Chen Tan Chan arrange; exhibit; narrate; tell; old; stale; to state; to display; to explain
关/ 關 Guan Kuan   Kwan mountain pass; to close; to shut; to turn off; to concern; to involve
He Ho Ho/Hoe Ho carry; what; how; why; which
Huang Huang / Hwang Ng Wong sulfur; yellow
简/ 簡 Jian Chien   Kan/Gan simple
Jin Chin Kim Kam gold
Lin Lin Lim Lam woods; forest
Wang Wang Ong/ Wee Wong king
吴/ 吳 Wu Wu Wu/ Ng/ Gouw/ Goh Ng province of Jiangsu
许/ 許 Xu Hsu Koh Hui to allow; to permit; to praise
张/ 張 Zhang Chang Teo/Chong Cheung a measured word; open up
赵/ 趙 Zhao Chao Chew Chiu

Malaysia/Singapore/Indonesia: some people use Pinyin or other spellings depends on their origin. Please refer to the List of common Chinese surnames for the different spellings and more examples. Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ), commonly called Pinyin, is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Wade-Giles, sometimes abbreviated Wade, is a Romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration) system for the Chinese language based on Mandarin. ... This is a list of the top 100 most common Chinese surnames according to a study published in 2006. ...


Usage

In writing Chinese names, Chinese family names are placed before the given name, e.g. Cheung Kwok Wing. Hence the Western concept of first name and last name only creates confusion when used with Chinese names. In Westernized Asian countries or for those residing in the West, often a Western name is chosen, e.g. Leslie Cheung (張國榮). When the Western name and Chinese name are put together, it often becomes hard to tell what the family name is. Using Leslie Cheung as an example, some variants include: This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing (September 12, 1956 – April 1, 2003) (Traditional Chinese: ; Simplified Chinese: ; Cantonese IPA: , Jyutping: zoeng1 gwok3 wing4; Mandarin Pinyin: Zhāng Guóróng, Wade-Giles: Chang Kuo-jung; nickname Gor-gor (哥哥, Elder Brother in Cantonese) was an actor and a musician from Hong Kong. ...

  • Zhāng Guóróng — China, transcription using official Hanyu pinyin system, which romanizes Mandarin pronunciation of Chinese characters and adds suprasegmental tone markers.
  • Cheung Kwok-wing — China (Cantonese-speaking), romanization of Cantonese pronunciation of Chinese characters.
  • Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing — Hong Kong, hybrid of Western/Chinese.
  • Leslie Kwok-wing Cheung — United States among others, use the Chinese given name 'Kwok-wing' as middle name.

Some publications and legal documents will print the family name in small capital letters to allow it to be easily distinguished, e.g. Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing. When no official romanisation exists, translators often will use the transliteration best fit with the locale where the person is originated. For example, the pinyin transcription would be used for a person from Mainland China; Wade-Giles for someone from Taiwan; or a Cantonese-based romanisation for someone from Hong Kong. Pinyin (拼音, Pīnyīn) literally means join (together) sounds (a less literal translation being phoneticize, spell or transcription) in Chinese and usually refers to Hànyǔ Pīnyīn (汉语拼音, literal meaning: Han language pinyin), which is a system of... In linguistics, romanization (or Latinization, also spelled romanisation or Latinisation) is the representation of a word or language with the Roman (Latin) alphabet, or a system for doing so, where the original word or language uses a different writing system. ... Mandarin (Traditional Chinese: ; Simplified Chinese: ; pinyin: ; literally speech of officials), or Beifanghua (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ; literally Northern Dialect(s)), is a category of related Chinese dialects spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. ... In linguistics, prosody refers to intonation and vocal stress in speech. ... It has been suggested that Tonal language be merged into this article or section. ... Cantonese is a major dialect group or language of the Chinese language, a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Wade-Giles, sometimes abbreviated Wade, is a Romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration) system for the Chinese language based on Mandarin. ...


Chinese women usually retain their maiden names after marriage. Outside of Mainland China they will sometimes place their husbands' family names in front of theirs. For example, former Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong, Mrs. Anson Chan is known as Chan Fang On-sang () where Fang is her maiden name. It is thus, technically possible for a married woman to have a six-character full name if both she and her husband have compounded surnames such as in this hypothetical example: 歐陽司徒美英 or Mrs. Au-Yeung Szeto Mei-ying. Most Hong Kong women retain their own surnames after marriage or choose to be known as Mrs. (husband's surname). ... Anson Chan Anson Chan (Fang On Sang) GBM GCMG CBE JP (Chinese: ) (born January 17, 1940) was head of Hong Kongs civil service before and after the territorys handover to the Peoples Republic of China from British colonial rule. ...


The sociological use of surnames

Throughout most of Chinese history, surnames have served sociological functions. Because of their association with the aristocratic elite in their early developments, surnames were often used as symbols of nobility. Thus nobles would use their surnames to be able to trace their ancestry and compete for seniority in terms of hereditary rank. Examples of early genealogies among the royalty can be found in Sima Qian's Historical Records, which contain tables recording the descent lines of noble houses called shibiao (Chinese: 世表; pinyin: shìbiǎo). Genealogy is the study and tracing of family pedigrees. ... Sima Qian Si Ma Qian (司馬遷) (c. ... The Records of the Grand Historian or the Records of the Grand Historian of China was the magnum opus of Sima Qian, in which he recounted Chinese history from the time of the mythical Yellow Emperor until his own time. ... Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ), commonly called Pinyin, is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ...


Later, during the Han Dynasty, these tables were used by prominent families to glorify themselves and sometimes even to legitimise their political power. For example, Cao Pi, who forced the abdication of the last Han emperor in his favour, claimed descent from the Yellow Emperor. Chinese emperors sometimes passed their own surnames to subjects as honours. Unlike European practice in which some surnames are obviously noble, Chinese emperors and members of the royal family had regular surnames except in cases where they came from non-Han ethnic groups. This was a result of Chinese imperial theory in which a commoner could receive the Mandate of Heaven and become emperor. Upon becoming emperor, the emperor would retain his original surname. Also as a consequence, many people also had the same surname as the emperor, but had no direct relation to the royal family. Cáo Pī (曹丕, 187 - 226), born in Qiao County, Pei presently Bozhou city in An Hui Province. ... Yellow Emperor The Yellow Emperor or Huang Di (Traditional Chinese: , Simplified Chinese: , pinyin: huángdì) is a legendary Chinese sovereign and cultural hero who is said to be the ancestor of all Han Chinese. ... Mandate of Heaven (天命 Pīnyīn: Tiānmìng) was a traditional Chinese sovereignty concept of legitimacy used to support the rule of the kings of the Zhou Dynasty and later the Emperors of China. ...


The Tang Dynasty was the last period when the great aristocratic families, mostly descended from the nobility of pre-Qin states, held significant centralised and regional power. The surname was used as a source of prestige and common allegiance. During the period a large number of genealogical records called pudie (Simplified Chinese: 谱牒; Traditional Chinese: 譜牒; pinyin: pǔdié) were compiled to trace the complex descent lines of clans and their marriage ties to other clans. A large number of these were collected by Ouyang Xiu in his New History of Tang. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Traditional Chinese (Traditional Chinese: 正體字/繁體字, Simplified Chinese: 正体字/繁体字) refers to one of two standard sets of printed Chinese characters. ... Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ), commonly called Pinyin, is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Ouyang Xiu (Ou-Yang Hsiu) (歐陽修; 欧阳修 style name: Yongshu 永叔; also known as Zuiweng 醉翁 and Liuyi Jushi 六一居士) (Wade-Giles: Ouyang Hsiu) (1007 - 1072) was a Chinese statesman, historian, essayist and poet of the Song Dynasty. ...


During the Song Dynasty, ordinary clans began to organise themselves into corporate units and produce genealogies. This trend was led by the poet Su Shi and his father. As competition for resources and positions in the bureaucracy intensified, individuals used their common ancestry and surname to promote solidarity. They established schools to educate their sons and held common lands to aid disadvantaged families. Ancestral temples were also erected to promote surname identity. Clan cohesion was usually encouraged by successive imperial governments since it aided in social stability. During the Qing Dynasty surname associations often undertook extra-judicial roles, providing primitive legal and social security functions. They played important roles in the Chinese diaspora to South-East Asia and elsewhere, providing the infrastructure for the establishment of trading networks. In southern China, however, clans sometimes engaged in armed conflict in competition for land. Of course, clans continued the tradition of tracing their ancestry to the distant past as a matter of prestige. Most of these origin myths, though well established, are spurious. Su Shi (蘇軾) (1037-1101) was a writer, poet, artist, calligrapher and statesman of the Song Dynasty, one of the major poets of the Song era. ... Location of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia is a subregion of Asia. ...


As a result of the importance of surnames, rules and traditions regarding family and marriage grew increasingly complex. For example, in Taiwan, there is a clan with the so-called "double Liao" surname. The story is that the founder of the clan was adopted and so took the surname Liao, but in honor of his ancestors, he demanded that he be buried with the surname Chen. As a result, his descendants use the surname Liao while alive and the surname Chen after death. In some places, there are additional taboos against marriage between people of the same surname, considered to be closely related. Conversely, in some areas, there are different clans with the same surname which are not considered to be related, but even in these cases surname exogamy is generally practiced. This article or section contains information that has not been verified and thus might not be reliable. ...


Surname identity and solidarity has declined markedly since the 1930s with the decline of Confucianism and later, the rise of Communism in Mainland China. During the Cultural Revolution, surname culture was actively persecuted by the government with the destruction of ancestral temples and genealogies. Moreover, the influx of Western culture and forces of globalisation have also contributed to erode the previous sociological uses of the Chinese surname. Confucian temple in Jiading district, Shanghai. ... Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization based on common ownership of the means of production. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Globalization is a term used to describe the changes in societies and the world economy that are the result of dramatically increased trade and cultural exchange. ...


Differences between xing and shi (姓 vs. 氏)

Although they are used interchangeably now, xing and shi were not the same. One's family name is his/her xing, and everyone who has that family name belongs in the same shi. Basically, a shi is an organisation consisting of families with the same xing.


See also

A Chinese clan is a group of related Chinese people with a common surname and sharing a common ancestor and ancestral village (see clan). ... A Chinese compound surname (Simplified Chinese: , Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: fùxìng) is a Chinese surname using more than one character. ... Chinese given names (Chinese: 名字; pinyin: míngzì) are made up of one or two characters. ... Generation name is half of the two-Chinese character given name given to newborns in the same generation of one surname lineage. ... This is a list of the top 100 most common Chinese surnames according to a study published in 2006. ... Yamada Tarō (), a typical Japanese name (male), equivalent to John Smith in English. ... The Korean name Hong Gildong (a common anonymous name, like John Doe in American English). ... Vietnamese names generally consist of three parts: a family name, a middle name, and a given name, used in that order. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
The China Experience: The origin of Chinese Surnames (562 words)
The Chinese have had surnames long before the period of the Three Emperors and Five Kings, that is, during the time when recognition was given only to one's mother and not one's father.
This is because the Chinese had discovered, long ago, that marriages of close relatives would be detrimental to future generations.
In any solemn ceremony or important celebration, the Chinese have their clan-names written on lanterns which are hung high in a prominent place, such as the main entrance of the house.
Surname Origin & Last Name Meanings. Free Family Name Dictionary with Family History & Genealogy Resources by Ancestor ... (607 words)
A surname, also known as a last name or family name, is a fixed name shared in common with the members of a family and is passed down from generation to generation.
The use of a surname is relatively new in history and was adopted in order to legally distinguish two individuals with the same first name.
Surname spelling has evolved over centuries and until the 20th century, the spelling of a surname was not fixed.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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