View Full Version : Question about Chinese/HK name

09-28-2005, 08:19 PM
I'm working on a SF short story where one of the main characters is from Hong Kong. This is set in the future, so current naming trends in HK don't really apply, and I want to give this character a traditional Chinese name anyway. The problem is, I'm unfamiliar with the complex naming traditions in China and I don't know if the name I've picked will work.

So, would Shen Li be an appropriate name? The character is a young man who takes life very seriously, and within the story he will be addressing cultural meanings within his life. If the name doesn't work, I'd appreciate suggestions for a better one. Thanks!

09-28-2005, 08:35 PM
You can't go wrong with Ng.

Tish Davidson
09-28-2005, 09:43 PM
This from http://www.tq.com.au/industry/international/understanding-asia/hongkong.cfm

Hong Kong (Chinese) Names Hong Kong people of Chinese descent normally have three-syllable names, with the surname/family name used first, such as Sun Yun-wing (surname underlined). In Hong Kong, given names when written in English are usually hyphenated, although this may change as Chinese influence grows stronger. There are exceptions to this surname-first rule, as in the case when Hong Kong people adopt a non-Chinese given name, such as George Sun. There are also combination names, which use/adopt a non-Chinese given name with their Chinese name, such as George Sun Yun-wing. In this case the second name is the surname. Titles (such as Mr, Mrs and Miss) should always be used with the surname, such as Mr Sun.
Hong Kong Chinese may use Chinese names or add a Western first name, e.g., George Sun Yun-Wing.

Use title and family/surname (this is usually the first Chinese name).
Male: Sun Yun-wing is called Mr Sun.
Female: Sun Yu-ping is called Mrs/Miss Sun.

Here are some oter useful websites about Chinese naming traditions.
It appears that Hong Kong names differ from mainland Chinese names by having three parts rather than two. If these sites don't answer your question, let me know and I'll ask my friend who grew up in Hong Kong.




09-28-2005, 10:01 PM
That's helpful, thanks. I don't think I'm going to muddy the waters with a family name for this character, though. Since it's a short story I can get away with just a given name.

Of course Ng in the perfect name, but unfortunately it just doesn't fit this character. :)