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jayze
03-19-2010, 02:02 AM
Hi all,

I ran across this site by looking for information on Chinese male names. I tried to find the best place to ask this question. If I should have put it in a different forum, please let me know.

I need a Mandarin-writer/speaker's help regarding the way to write Hsin (male given name) with Chinese characters. I've taken a few years of Japanese so I understand how there can be different kanji/characters for each pronunciation, and that the characters can change the meaning of the name. I've looked all over and ironically found it harder to find the Chinese characters for a Chinese name than for English names.

So far, these are the options I've found:

信 (Xėn) is a male name
信1
1.信 xėn letter / true / to believe / sign / evidence


心 (Xīn) is a male name
心1
1.心 xīn heart / mind


新 (Xīn) is a male name
新1
1.新 xīn meso- (chem.) / new / newly

(Information from http://www.chinese-tools.com/tools/gender-guesser.html)

And then the way Liu Xin wrote his name 歆 (for some reason the character for Xin keeps disappearing so if you don't see it, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liu_Xin). The gender guesser link says that character is: xīn pleased / moved

My questions are:

Are these all the options for writing Hsin? Would you agree with the explanation of the meanings of those names? Is there a better way to translate the meanings? Are any of the ways of writing it more 'strange' than others/seem odd for a man's name?

The name Hsin is pronounced like 'shin' in English. I know that the lines above the 'i' denote the intonation of the name. The intonation doesn't matter to me, so if there are other options for Hsin not listed above I would greatly appreciate it if anyone could tell me. I'd love as many options as possible so I can choose one with meanings that make sense for the character.

If it helps, his surname is Liu. (That wasn't on purpose in connection to Liu Xin, by the way. I didn't even realize there was someone famous named that until I did a quick search now. I also didn't know that Hsin and Xin are basically the same(?). However, due to a variety of reasons the character's name won't be changing.)

I have no idea what the character should be for Liu, either. Ideally, I'd like to avoid using the same characters as the astronomer Liu Xin so it doesn't seem weird. (Unless the way he wrote his name was very common).

Actually, if anyone has any feedback on character options for Liu as well I'd love it. I'm guessing there are some combinations of characters that would be better for the two names than others, so it doesn't combine to an entirely different meaning.

I'm having a hard time verifying anything because everywhere I look I seem to get a different answer. In addition, despite having some background in Japanese and the research I've tried to do on Mandarin and Chinese naming conventions, when it comes down to the actual writing of the name I'm just not strong enough in kanji. I feel like I've gotten to the point where I need a native speaker or someone fluent in Mandarin to help me figure out the details.

By the way, the reason I keep specifying Mandarin is because Hsin's mom spoke Mandarin, not Cantonese, so she would've chosen the characters accordingly.

I would hardcore appreciate any help. I'm at a bit of a loss here...

Thanks,
jayze

lennatallo
03-19-2010, 03:47 AM
Hi Jayze
I have no advice at all, although this has definitely given me something to think about. Just recently in the Sandbox, I asked about a male Chinese name, but I didn't really even think about the Chinese written form! I'll have to think some more about this!

Good luck- I'm sure someone on here speaks Mandarin : )

jayze
03-19-2010, 04:36 AM
It's funny you replied because actually, when I was doing a Google search for information on Chinese male names, it came up with your question. When I read everyone's responses to your question I thought this site would be a good one to ask mine. Originally I was going to post my question in the Sandbox too but someone on your thread mentioned the research section so I thought I'd try here. I may end up posting it over at the Sandbox too in the future if it turns out that's where I should've posted instead.

If I get my question answered I'll have you to thank or else I wouldn't have known about this place :)

hammerklavier
03-19-2010, 05:30 AM
Me too, I have a whole cast of Chinese names that needs to be reality checked!

dnic
03-19-2010, 09:28 AM
Are these all the options for writing Hsin?
Nope.
But there are a lot of characters for "Hsin." It's easier if there's a meaning that you want to convey in mind. Also, keep in mind that while one word might mean something, that word plus another might mean something else all together.

Also 信 is actually a different sound from 心 and 新. Those last two sound a like. (Like you said, I think, it's the inflection on the "i" that differ.)


Would you agree with the explanation of the meanings of those names? Is there a better way to translate the meanings?
Yup.
信 I would say "trust" as well.
心 is "heart," but it's one of those words that can mean a lot of things depending on the characters preceding and following. For example 信心 means "confidence."
新 is "new."


Are any of the ways of writing it more 'strange' than others/seem odd for a man's name?
Well...the characters don't have a gender in itself. So no, not really. Although there are characters that you see more often or less often in names.

Liu is usually: 劉 which is a common surname.

Again, you might want to consider what you want the entire name to mean rather than just the character itself, since the combination have different meanings.

I can help if anyone else needs help. :)

Bing Z
03-19-2010, 01:45 PM
1. Try CC-CEDICT (http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.php?page=cedict) if you're interested in finding out various characters and their meanings that correspond to a certain syllable.

2. Don't try too hard to give a character a meaningful and corresponding name, for example, a heroic name to a strong and aggressive hero. Many famous Chinese heroes/generals had sissy names. (Yu in Guan Yu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guan_Yu)basically means feather.) Bruce Lee (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_lee)'s Chinese stage name literally means "little dragon." Calling your hero "Big dragon" is more comical than cool.

3. This naming game is fun. However, you're writing a novel in English and selling to English-speaking readers. If your Chinese characters can speak English well and they've been in Western world for long enough, they usually will be known by some Christian names or alias. Don't over do the naming game. Do you name your hero(ine) Robin because it is hero-related? Do you think you can sell your book better because the guy is called 劉信 and not 劉心?

Now if your story is set in a Chinese speaking part of the world, then it's a whole different ballgame.


ETA: Just realized that Behind the Name: Names by Usage (http://www.behindthename.com/usage.php) lists some common names of Chinese (and many other) origins.

jayze
03-23-2010, 04:23 AM
Thanks for the replies! Sorry about my delayed response; I was out of town for a few days.

dnic--
Hmm. That's a good point.

Are there particular themes? In this case, the person who named him would have probably gone with something obsessive, or else focused on strength, good looks, worship... Something positive but overly so. I'm not sure if that makes sense.

Are there any combinations you can think of?

Bingain--
Thanks for the links. I'll check those out-- they both look really helpful.

I agree that the Chinese characters normally wouldn't be imperative since it's all being written in English. However, for reasons within the plot I do actually need to know the specific characters. It's the main reason I asked; otherwise I wouldn't have bothered to specify it since it probably wouldn't have come up. :)

Namatu
03-25-2010, 06:35 PM
Are there particular themes? In this case, the person who named him would have probably gone with something obsessive, or else focused on strength, good looks, worship... Something positive but overly so. I'm not sure if that makes sense.You can look up various meanings/characters for Liu here, http://www.zhongwen.com/. Click on Pronunciation and select Liu. There's one that means "stone" that could be a good candidate for you.

The person who named him would not have control over his surname, correct? If so, what you're looking for is a first name with the connotations you want. You may not get that from Xin.

jayze
03-26-2010, 06:40 AM
Thanks for the link! That was really helpful.


If so, what you're looking for is a first name with the connotations you want. You may not get that from Xin.

I checked and I can see why you said that; there aren't a lot of really strong meanings for Xin from what I understand from that link. The name itself can't change at this point but I think I found some candidates.

As I understand, sometimes the combinations can make a difference in the meaning. Like, individual meanings may combine to something else.

These are the ones I'm thinking of:

Liu -

硫 – stone that flows/sulfur
琉 – Jade-like and flow/glaze or, according to another site, precious stone
柳 – willow/a surname
榴 – pomegranate
留 – leave (a message) / to retain / to stay/ to remain/ to keep/ to preserve/ delay


Xin –

心 – heart/ mind/ feelings/ center/ middle
信 – letter/ true/ to believe/ sign/ evidence
欣 – happy/ joy


So right now, I'm thinking 留信 – does that mean anything different together? Or 琉心? Would a combination of any of these create something unintentional? (I know there are a lot of combinations so I'm certainly not asking anyone to take the time to look through them all; just if anything stands out)

Sorry to keep asking a thousand questions but I really appreciate the help.

Feiss
03-26-2010, 02:38 PM
Is 留信 going to be his given name or Family Name 留+ Given name 信? Because 信 Also means letter, as you've mentioned above, so if you name him 留信 it means literally, To leave a letter. Which many Chinese would find strange.

pretty much any combination with 留 would be weird. If you said 留心 it would mean pay attention or be careful.

信 itself is a pretty good given name, then you could have surname 刘, which is a really common surname.

Hope this helped.

jayze
03-26-2010, 04:12 PM
so if you name him 留信 it means literally, To leave a letter.

Yeah, that would probably be odd. Thanks for pointing that out!

So looking at 刘, it says that's a surname but also means to kill. Would family name 刘 given name 信 have any combined meaning together (like kill evidence, kill belief-- as in to not believe in something, etc), or when it's a common surname is the meaning mostly ignored?

Feiss
03-26-2010, 05:17 PM
yeah, it really doesn't bring the implication of Kill. Liu is like one of the 10 most common last names in China.

jayze
03-27-2010, 12:32 AM
Awesome. Thanks!

slcboston
03-27-2010, 12:57 AM
... knew I should have studied harder in Chinese class....