Gender of names

Jana337

Senior Member
čeština
Chinese natives,

when presented with a Chinese name, can you unequivocally identify the gender of the particular person?

Jana
 
  • charlie2

    Senior Member
    Unequivocally? No. Generally, yes. Assuming you are presented with the characters themselves, not just the pronounciations.
    e.g. the character signifying beauty, in Mandarin "Li". It is almost always the name of a girl.
    e.g. the character signifying virtue, in Mandarin "De". It can be the name of a boy or a girl. Usually, however, it is the name of a boy.
    And I know a girl with the name of De Li! Confusing? Relax! People would not get mad because you got it wrong, usually :D .
     

    csisfun

    Member
    Singapore/English
    It's not possible.
    There are so many possible combinations that you can only be sure if the name is "generic". Over here, the "generic" names are perhaps the names with the second character - "ming"
     

    JJchang

    Senior Member
    NZ - English, Chinese
    charlie2 said:
    Unequivocally? No. Generally, yes. Assuming you are presented with the characters themselves, not just the pronounciations.
    e.g. the character signifying beauty, in Mandarin "Li". It is almost always the name of a girl.
    e.g. the character signifying virtue, in Mandarin "De". It can be the name of a boy or a girl. Usually, however, it is the name of a boy.
    And I know a girl with the name of De Li! Confusing? Relax! People would not get mad because you got it wrong, usually :D .

    interesting, De Li...That sound exactly the same as the Chinese name of Dulux paints. There are some indication in someone's Chinese name of one's gender. If you can see the Chinese radical of "woman", then that's very very likely to be a girl's name. If it's associate with flowers, then it's likely to be a girl's name. If it's something masculin, like "xung2", "hao2", then it's likely to be a boy's name, but nothing is definite.
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Jana337 said:
    Chinese natives,
    Jana337 said:

    when presented with a Chinese name, can you unequivocally identify the gender of the particular person?

    Jana


    No, you can't, I mean, not really. I myself am a young girl with a quite boylish name, people tend to make mistakes on that if they don't see me.
     

    anialuo

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Hi,
    I was just wondering how can I know from the pinyin name the person's gender, ex. Gao Man. Are there any rules that could be helpful?
    Thanks for help in advance!
     

    Clement_Sun

    Member
    Chinese-mandrin
    Hi Anialuo,

    In my opinion, it is hard but yet possible to tell a person's gender if only the pinyin name is given.

    Reasons why you can't:
    1. Pinyin names are often given without 1234 sounds and i'm sure you know that it could make a great difference. Even if the name is in actual pinyin expression, it could correspond different Chinese characters.

    e.g.: 孙研(sun1yan2/femine) and 孙岩(sun1yan2/masculine)

    2. Many Chinese names per se are gender-neutral. (X stands for someone's family name)

    e.g. X翔宇(literally: flying in the sky. famous because it's the name of the first and most-respected PM of the People's Republic of China)

    or. Dominique(f/m) in French.

    3. some parents named their children carelessly.


    However, generally you can tell if pinyin(with sounds) is given.(again, of course you'd have a better guess with Chinese character).

    why not try to find some pinyin names online, do your little test and post your answers here? : )
     

    xiaolijie

    Senior Member
    UK
    English (UK)
    It's very difficult to guess from the pinyin only, and becomes impossible if you're also unfamiliar with the culture.
     

    MèngDié

    Senior Member
    By the way,
    could some of the Forumers recommend online recources of most used Chinese female and male names?
    Unlike the western tradition of picking names for children (as I understand, most names are selected from a fixed source, e.g., religious, so most everyone is named Mary, David, François, Juan, João, Aleksander etc.), Chinese parents pride themselves in being creative when it comes to naming their offspring. People generally dislike having the same first name as another person. The two characters that usually form a Chinese person's first name can be a combination from a variety of sources and generally have a specific meaning to them, be it the good wishes of the parents for their children, the embodiment of a family tradition, or simply to show off how erudite the family is.

    The more educated parents tend to make up (note: not selecting from a pre-existing source) names by digging into the traditional Chinese culture, and poems, significant historical events, and philosophical sayings etc. represent an inexaustible source for this purpose, giving rise to names that are not only meaningful, but also at times beautiful and elegant, at times ethereal and imaginative. For example, my nick on WordReference is 梦蝶,which comes from the 典故 "庄生梦蝶", and my real name consists of two characters from the verse of a poem that dates from the Tang dynasty.

    After the Community Party took power and the ensuing Cultural Revoution, a lot of people in mainland China lost touch (or were forced to do so) with the traditional culture, with the result that for a few generations, parents did not give much thought to naming their children, but rather selcted charaters that praised the Party, the motherland and the working class etc. It is rather unfortunate, in my view, that parents did not have the opportunity to give their children a meaningful and lasting gift (as this is what it is, the creation of a Chinese first name is and should be a "work of art") that is their name. I'm glad to see that in recent years, people in Mainland China are again getting in touch with the traditional culture that had been lost for a few decades.

    All this to say that I consider the effort to find a list of most-used Chinese names rather pointless. My two cents only though.
     
    Last edited:

    xiaolijie

    Senior Member
    UK
    English (UK)
    MèngDié said:
    parents did not give much thought to naming their children, but rather selcted charaters that praised the Party, the motherland and the working class etc. It is rather unfortunate, in my view, that parents did not have the opportunity to give their children a meaningful and lasting gift that is their name.
    建国 should be a good name then ;)

    Probably for the reasons MèngDié mentioned, I don't think I have seen any of such lists (of personal names) like we do in the West. On the other hand, I think the characteristics of girl names in Chinese are stable enough that such a list may exist.
     

    anialuo

    Senior Member
    Polish
    MengDie, Xiaolijie, thank for your comments.

    Back to my example name Gao Man- how should I address the person in a letter if I'm not sure about their gender? 尊敬的女士/先生???
     

    MèngDié

    Senior Member
    MengDie, Xiaolijie, thank for your comments.

    Back to my example name Gao Man- how should I address the person in a letter if I'm not sure about their gender? 尊敬的女士/先生???
    Perhaps you can try calling the person to find out? Or at least you can get the Chinese characters as well instead of just the Pinyin and we can help you in guessing it?

    That being said, Gao Man, if it represents 高曼,is a lady.
     

    chinesenamegender

    New Member
    English - United-Kingdom
    Hi, you can try the online Chinese Name Gender Checker. NamSor has published on online API (example below)

    api.onomatic.com/onomastics/api/gendre/声涛/周/cn
    {"scale":-1.0,"gender":"male"}

    however, as pointed in this thread, in pinyin it won't work (the accuracy is hardly better than a random guess). Using the Chinese Characters, it's reasonably accurate because the statistics will pick correlations with a character's sound and semantics.
     
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