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Parents pick Chinese names for children

By Xinhua in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | China Daily | Updated: 2016-03-17 08:11

Couples turn to "nameologists" for lucky, meaningful monikers

Most Vietnamese couples spend days, even months, and dozens of US dollars to acquire a meaningful name to give to their child, and most names deemed the best are of Chinese and Vietnamese origin.

Chinese-Vietnamese words are elements in the indigenous language that are derived from Chinese. For example, the Chinese characters for "Yellow Dragon" are pronounced and written as "Huang Long" in Latin, but "Hoang Long" in Vietnamese. Likewise, the Chinese characters for "Pink Cloud" are pronounced and written as "Hong Yun" in Latin, but "Hong Van" in Vietnamese.

Many Vietnamese people consider such Chinese-Vietnamese words such as "Hoang Long" and "Hong Van" to be more solemn, more beautiful and more compact than the native Vietnamese words with the same meaning. In this case, "Rong Vang" and "Dam May Mau Hong," respectively, and as such they often opt for Chinese-Vietnamese words when naming their children.

"Many relatives and friends of mine have asked for my recommendations for beautiful, meaningful Chinese-Vietnamese words to name their newborn babies, because they do not know Chinese, but believe that such Chinese-based names are more impressive," said Nguyen Thuy Chi, assistant to the director of China's Taiwan-backed motorbike maker SYM Vietnam.

She said her middle and last name "Thuy Chi" are Chinese-Vietnamese words which have some good meanings, including "Supple Bough," and that a number of famous singers and actresses are named "Thuy Chi" or choose "Thuy Chi" as their stage names.

Part in destiny

Names in Vietnam are laden with meaning, and many parents think that a child's name plays a part in their destiny. "When asking for my suggestions, they often list the name's good meaning as their top priority, followed by tonal sounds," Thuy Chi, reluctantly dubbed a "nameologist," said smiling. Parents often believe that names with no tonal inflection will provide their children with a smooth and untroubled life, she explained.

Over the past 10 years, the "nameologist" has recommended Chinese-based names to hundreds of people, including feminine names for girls and masculine ones for boys.

"For boys' names, I often suggest Son Tung (Shan Song in Chinese, meaning "Pine-tree on the mountain", Hoang Long (Yellow Dragon), Kim Long (Gold Dragon), Dong Phong (Wind from the East), Ngoc Son (Gem Mountain), Thanh Lam (Green Forest). Popular girls' names include Minh Chau (Bright pearl), Ngoc Diep (Gem Leaf), Minh Nguyet (Bright moon), Huong Giang (Fragrant River), Hong Ngoc (Ruby), Hong Van (Pink Cloud) and Thanh Tam (Green Heart)," said Thuy Chi.

Another local "nameologist," a retired man who calls himself "Mr Thang" (also a Chinese-Vietnamese word meaning "Win" or "Victory," said that many parents have asked for his free or paid suggestions for their babies' names, because they think a name accompanies a person for their entire life and impacts their future.

"I have replied to more than 5,000 requests made through my website. All are free. If people need my specific advice within 24 hours through e-mails, the fee is 300,000 Vietnamese dong ($13). Besides this, I can provide direct consultations at my office in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1 costing 500,000 Vietnamese dong ($22)," the veteran said.

According to Thang, more and more well-off parents, especially businesspeople, have asked for suggestions of good, meaningful names.

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