This is a reminder that asking questions about Chinese names is off topic for this site as per our FAQ.

I'm bringing this up because we have had a large increase in traffic over the past 2 months and many of these questions are being asked. Examples:

  • I don't know Chinese, but I have a friend called Brad, what Chinese name can I call him?
  • I'm making a piece of Chinese art for a friend, what does this character mean?
  • I think my Chinese name should be XX, what does this mean?

These questions are off topic because they do not provide any benefit to our site and they are essentially the same question being asked over and over again, but in a different format. They are also predominantly asked by people who cannot speak Chinese and don't want to learn.

How can you help?

Everyone can help in keeping the quality of this site high. Please do not comment or provide answers to these questions because you are encouraging the wrong behaviour. To assist with getting these questions closed as soon as possible you can either "vote to close" or flag the question for moderator attention.

What Chinese name type questions can I ask?

Questions about Chinese names are also important when there is something to be learnt. An example of an on-topic question:

  • I've seen character X used in a name and I thought it had a negative connotation, why did they use that?
  • Good! Unanswered threads can be marked as "protected";)
    – xqMogvKW
    Jan 30, 2014 at 6:28

1 Answer 1



I really have to take exception to this rule and would like to draw your attention to the need for the care that must be given to understanding Chinese Family names. Certainly in most of my interactions with Chinese peoples, being able to share a dialog must involve the use and understanding of Chinese surnames (some of the most common can be found here). In terms of understanding language, the ability to properly address people (by name) in different situations is a relevant topic.

I think precluding such discussions may divert users from pursuit of other important topics that require coverage such as the need to understand the kinship terms between Chinese peoples and how that must be reflected in conversations (some of examples of which are here). In fact at a deeper level the fact that names are off-topic appear to be tied to a misaligned objective of separating Chinese cultural discussion from that of language. I don't believe that such separation is recommended for those who truly want to learn Chinese language because language reflects the different Chinese cultures around the world.

Perhaps, we might want to say that politics or religion are off-topic. Questions of no consequence or benefit to the community should be removed but the original statement seems to be too broad (as there are many ways that names can be tied to a discussion of language). I note that your last examples provides some remedial direction of the original point but I believe that the overall impression is that such questions ought not be engaged rather than focusing on a substantive use-case for why discussion of Chinese names are important.

To wit here are some proposed topics that seem useful to me:

  1. Reading and Writing Chinese Names
  2. Conversing and understanding Chinese Names
  3. Addressing Chinese people at work or in familial situations
  4. Prefixing and Suffixing Chinese Names Properly

I do understand that the main point is not to engage in facile communications but I do not want to let the importance of proper address in Chinese culture to go unheeded.

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