Surname identity and solidarity has declined markedly since the 1930s with the decline of Confucianism and later, the rise of Communism in Mainland China. Chinese last names are typically passed down from father to children, although they may not have started that way. Chinese last names are typically passed down from father to children, although they may not have started that way. Ouyang [歐陽/欧阳], Shangguan [上官], Sima [司馬/司马], Zhuge [諸葛/诸葛], Situ [司徒], Xiahou [夏侯], Huangfu [皇甫], and Huyan [呼延]) can still be found quite commonly in modern times with Ouyang, Shangguan, Sima and Situ appearing most frequently. They established schools to educate their sons and held common lands to aid disadvantaged families.

Although there are thousands of Chinese family names, the 100 most common surnames, which together make up less than 5 percent of those in existence, are shared by 85 percent of the population.

A nobleman would hold a shi and a xing surname indicating his ancestor and his sub-lineage.

Of course, clans continued the tradition of tracing their ancestry to the distant past as a matter of prestige. Names are an important type of vocabulary. Nobles would use their surnames to trace their ancestries and compete for seniority in terms of hereditary rank. Origin and Meaning of Chinese Surnames. In ancient times only aristocrats had surnames; two types of surnames, family names (Chinese: 姓; pinyin: xìng) denoting ancestral lineage and clan names (氏; pinyin: shì), derived from the subdivision of fiefdoms into sub-lineages, were used. Some are originally from non-Chinese tribes that lived in ancient China, while others were created by joining two one-character family names. Most Hong Kong women retain their own surnames after marriage, but they may choose to be known as Mrs. (husband's surname). A Chinese compound surname is a Chinese surname using more than one character. Many surnames have various ways of romanization, the following listed spellings include Hanyu Pinyin, which is the standard in the PRC and Singapore, and other commonly used spellings. Many of these compound surnames derive from Zhou dynasty Chinese noble and official titles, professions, place names and other areas, to serve a purpose.

Most commonly occurring Chinese family names have only one character; however, about 20 double-character family names have survived into modern times. Zhāng Guóróng—China, transcription using official Hanyu pinyin system, which Romanizes Mandarin pronunciation of Chinese characters and adds suprasegmental tone markers.

The first round of simplification in 1956 simplified 蕭 into 萧, keeping 蕭, /萧 and 肖 distinct. There are also people who use non-standard Romanizations; for example, the Hong Kong media mogul 邵逸夫 Run Run Shaw's surname 邵 is spelled as Shaw, pinyin: Shao. It is thus, technically possible for a married woman to have a six-character full name if both she and her husband have compounded surnames such as in this hypothetical example: 歐陽司徒美英 or Mrs. Au-Yeung Szeto Mei-ying. From Chinese 白 meaning "white, pure", 百 meaning "one hundred, many" or 柏 meaning "cypress tree, cedar" (which is usually only masculine). After the states of China were unified by Qin Shi Huang in 221 B.C.E., surnames gradually devolved to the lower classes and the difference between xing and shi blurred. Later, during the Han Dynasty, these tables were used by prominent families to glorify themselves and sometimes even to legitimize their political power. Other Chinese characters can form this name as well. The use of different systems of romanization based on different Chinese language variants between 1900~1970 also contributed to the variations. It is thought that early names were passed down from the mother. As a result, it is common for the same surname to be transliterated differently. For example, the surname "Li" is a Mandarin-based pinyin transliteration for the surnames 黎 (Lí); 李, 理 and 里 (Lǐ); 郦, 酈, 栗, 厉, 厲, and 利 (Lì) depending on the tone of pronunciation, which is often disregarded in foreign transliterations. However, different from a western name, the Chinese surname is placed before the person’s given name. According to the story, the founder of the clan was adopted and took the surname Liao, but in honor of his ancestors, he demanded that he be buried with the surname Chen. CHOW f & m Chinese The Chow surname is a Chinese surname for people from the Chou Dynasty, its main lineage. State name: Many commoners took the name of their state, either to show their continuing allegiance or as a matter of national and ethnic identity. Ethnic groups: Non-Chinese peoples in China sometimes took the name of their ethnic group as surname.

However, very few of the Chinese Thais have Chinese surnames, after the 1913 Surname Act that required the adoption of Thai surnames in order to enjoy Thai citizenship. For example, in Taiwan, there is a clan with the so-called "double Liao" surname.

There are 500 or 600 examples, 200 of which are two-character surnames. Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. In recent centuries some two-character surnames have dropped a character. FEN Learning is part of Sandbox Networks, a digital learning company that operates education services and products for the 21st century. "old hundred surnames"), and bǎi xìng (百姓, lit. eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'newworldencyclopedia_org-medrectangle-4','ezslot_2',162,'0','0'])); Xing were surnames held by the immediate royal family. Some examples of notable clans include Changchien. Due to the different pronunciation and Romanizations, it is generally easy to tell whether a Chinese person has origins in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, or Southeast Asia including Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. (In cases of adoption, the adoptee usually also takes the same surname.) Examples of early genealogies among the royalty can be found in Sima Qian's Historical Records, which contain tables recording the descent lines of noble houses called shibiao (Chinese: 世表; pinyin: shìbiǎo). When the Western name and Chinese name are put together, it often becomes hard to tell what the family name is. In southern China, however, clans sometimes engaged in armed conflict in competition for land. Chinese emperors sometimes passed their own surnames to subjects as an honor. During the Song Dynasty, ordinary clans began to organize themselves into corporate units and produce genealogies. Although, the more recent use of westernized names has led to a flip of surnames and given names. Unlike European practice in which some surnames are obviously noble, Chinese emperors and members of the royal family had regular surnames except in cases where they came from non-Han ethnic groups. As a result, his descendants use the surname Liao while alive and the surname Chen after death. Origin of Chinese Last Names. By the Song Dynasty (AD 960–1279), major family names were listed in the ancient poem Baijiaxing or Hundred Surnames. For Chinese people’s names, the Hans usually choose two words or one word as their given names except their surnames. Despite the retraction of the second round, some people have kept 肖 as their surname, so that there are now two separate surnames, 萧 and 肖. Chén (trad 陳, simp 陈) is perhaps the most common surname in Hong Kong and Macau (romanized as Chan) and is also common in Taiwan (romanized as Chen). "old hundred surnames"), and bǎi xìng (百姓, lit. For example, Yuan Taotu took the second character of his grandfather's style name Boyuan (伯爰) as his surname. After the Song Dynasty, surname distributions in China largely settled down. The 21st to 30th common surnames, which together account for about 10 percent of Chinese people in the world: Xie/Hsieh/Cheu/Hsia 謝/谢, He/Ho 何, Xu/Hsu 許/许, Song/Soong 宋, Shen 沈, Luo 羅/罗, Han 韓/韩, Deng 鄧/邓, Liang 梁, Ye 葉/叶. Before the period of the Three Kingdoms (220 - 280 AD), the given name was usually one word, and it became two words from the Jin Dynasty (265 - 420 AD) to modern times. As with the concentration of family names in a specific province, this can be explained statistically, by a person with an uncommon name moving to an unsettled area and leaving his family name to large number of people. Home » Learn Chinese » Chinese Vocabulary Lists » The Top 100 Chinese Surnames. They are generally composed of a nü (女, meaning "female") radical, suggesting that they originated from matriarchal societies based on maternal lineages. Using Leslie Cheung as an example, some variants include: Some publications and legal documents will print the family name in small capital letters to allow it to be easily distinguished, e.g.

FamilyEducation is part of the FEN Learning family of educational and reference sites for parents, teachers and students. In some places, there are additional taboos against marriage between people of the same surname because they are considered to be closely related.

Of the thousands of surnames which have been identified from historical texts prior to the Han Dynasty, most have either been lost or simplified. Chinese surnames today. About two hundred examples, often of two-character surnames, have been identified, but few have survived to the present. Since the peasant population was so large, these are some of the most common Chinese surnames. Chinese surnames are shared by people speaking a number of dialects and languages which often have different pronunciations of their surnames.

Conversely, in some areas, different clans with the same surname are not considered to be related, but even in these cases surname exogamy is generally practiced. Romanization and transliteration of Chinese surnames into other languages has given rise to confusion over identity. Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation.

This is explained by the fact that Hong Kong uses traditional Chinese characters, not simplified Chinese characters. (listed alphabetically by their Mandarin pinyin spellings), The Ten-Thousand Families of Surnames from Netor (NETOR纪念:万家姓氏) (in simplified Chinese only),, Articles containing Chinese-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, "Dukes' descendants", an address of the noble descendants in the, Intermarriage between Lu and Fei (Bi) clans, "Grand Historian", an imperial official title, "famous person", descendants of Shaozheng Mao (少正卯), "West Gate", place of residence, from Marquessate of Zheng in the, The (personal) name of the Yellow Emperor, This page was last edited on 26 October 2020, at 20:53.

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