1. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    Asian names?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by skeloboy_97, Aug 21, 2011.

    No racism intended in this post!

    -In my latest novel, I have two asian characters, and I'm not much for names in general, let alone ones from another culture.

    These are just two i made up, please tell me if these are innapropriate or not really an Asian name- Yo Ming and Zing Ho.

    Once again, no racism intented here.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    By Asian do you mean Chinese names? That's what I'm assuming from your examples - naming conventions differ throughout Asia.

    There is a (retired) professional basketball player named "Yao Ming" -- note that "Yao" is the surname, not the forename -- who is also listed among the world's tallest people so you might want to change that one.

    Also, when is your novel set? If it's in the present day you can get away with only giving them a one syllable (or character) forename, as it's something that has only become more common in recent decades, but if it's set in the past then two syllables (/characters) is the tradition.

    "Zing" can work as a surname but I don't think "Ho" sits well on it's own - I'd recommend adding something to the end of it.


    Rather than making some up off the top of your head, why don't you look up the pages about naming traditions and most popular surname lists (by country) on Wikipedia? I often do this for European names. :)
     
  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    For real. ;) Cho, perhaps?
     
  4. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not an expert, but it seems many Chinese take an English first name these days. Browsing the staff lists of the Chinese branch of our company, I see lots of names like:

    Cathy Mei Ping Cai
    Sally Chun Fen Gao
    Melissa Meng Yin Li
    Chi Hang Gary Tsang
    Jimmy Kwok Kei Chung
    Kevin Kai Jing

    According to Wikipedia, it's common among urban and well-educated people in China, and the name is not given at birth, but taken later in life. As an outsider, it's hard for me to tell if the English names are considered "real" names, or just a courtesy to Westerners, though.

    My co-worker of Chinese descent presents herself simply as Jenny Cheng; I haven't asked if she has any Chinese middle names.
     
  5. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    Ok thankyou for the help, I'll check it out.
     
  6. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Islander has a good point about that. It seems it's the urban/educated parents who give their kids Western first names to help them fit in better with the culture. Traditional parents would be more likely to go for the Chinese first names.
     
  7. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    Well considEring they both still live in China, and have all their lives, I'm guessing they would have traditional names?
     
  8. AveryWhite
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    AveryWhite Senior Member

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    What time is this novel set in?
     
  9. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

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    If I'm not mistaken, you can look up the most common baby names for different countries by year. I'd suggest googling it.
     
  10. Peutra
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    Peutra Member

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    I've honestly never heard of "Zing" as a Chinese name before; Zhou and Zhao, and the closest (that starts with a Z) being Zhang, but not Zing.

    Ming Ho, yes, but there's a character in a Dashner book named Minho, so you might want to reconsider using that.

    "Yo", yes, but it's too much of a slang term to be sensibly used in Chinese names nowadays. Same story goes for "Ho," but it's a slang term used among the Chinese.
     
  11. nibris
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    nibris Member

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    What Peutra said is right--Zing isn't a sound that occurs at all in Chinese, at least not in Mandarin. If you got the name from what many people would assume is the pronunciation of "Xing", then that would actually be pronounced "Hsing". Also, Ho would actually be spelled with a u at the and, like Hou.

    Also, I don't think era would make much of a difference in regards to the character's names. Chinese people have a beautiful tradition of choosing respectable qualities or admirable nouns for names, like Beautiful Moon or Snow Flower, things like that. In fact, I recently met a girl from Xi'an, China whose name was Lang Man, which, literally translated, means Romance.

    Rather than looking up popular baby names, I'd suggest that you look up words or characteristics that you find attractive and finding the Chinese counterpart. In that sense, the names you choose may actually seem more authentic.
     
  12. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    Those names are very Chinese-sounding, even though a Chinese person may not find them authentic (I really have no idea, I've heard of people named Ming and Ho but not Yo and Zing). Those aren't the kind of names you'll run into in, say, Japan, or Vietnam. (for example, some examples of well-known Japanese leaders' names are Tokugawa Ieyasu, Naoto Kan, and Yukio Hatoyama. None of those are remotely similar to the names you list).

    If you're going for Chinese names, look up some common Chinese names, as some others have suggested. Remember things like the fact that traditional Chinese names have the family name before the personal name--Zing Ho's "first" name would be Ho, family name Zing.
     
  13. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    1983.
     
  14. Epic0n
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    Epic0n Member

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    Chinese names were relatively pure-Chinese at that time... maybe try "Lee" or ""Hong" as a name. Zhao is another common name, I know five people named Zhao. Hmm, many start with Z-, but I don't think Zing is one.
     
  15. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    Zing is a surname but it's possibly of a different origin.
     
  16. chatterbox
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    chatterbox Member

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    popular names in asia:

    male names:
    Hideo (splendid man)
    Akio (bright boy)
    Hisoka (secretive and reserved)

    female names:
    Alpana (beautiful)
    Bian (hidden, secretive)
    Kenja (wise one)

    Hope this helped
     
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  17. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    Keep in mind that these names are all from different origins - the male names are Japanese (as is my name: Yoshiko) but I don't know of the female names. Oh, and Hisoka is unisex. :)
     
  18. Sundae
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    Sundae Contributing Member

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    Hmm... those are so vastly different in my eyes (the girl names.)

    Alpana is a common modification of the Indian name Alpna.

    Bian is Chinese, but also Taiwanese from what I know.

    And Kenja does have Japanese origins, but I am more inclined to think of it as an American modification of an African name.
     
  19. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Why not just go to a baby naming website and look up some chinese names?
     
  20. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just to be clear, the people I was talking about work in the Chinese branch of our company, i.e, in China. It seems fairly common for people in China to take an English name just because they work at a Western company or want to be modern and patriotic.

    I'm guessing it was much less comon in 1983, though, and they seem to have at least one Chinese first name besides the English one. I have no idea if the English name is the one they use together with other Chinese, so you'll still need to do research.
     
  21. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    Chinese names often are symbolic. I'm Chinese myself, and my name means "Creator of the Universe". My sister's name means "Commander of the Universe".
     

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