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The Boys’ Name in the Old Days

One of the more popular methods of naming a boy is based on the parent’s aspiration for the child. Parents have different expectation of their sons and hence there are differences in the methods of selecting Chinese boy names. The role of men in the family is to assume duties and responsibilities and in some cases to carry on the family business. In the old days, they (also) have to bring honor to their ancestors, uphold traditions and devote himself to his country and people. For example, particularly for the persons who are born between 1950's to 1970's, many names have stamps of times. a person who is born in nearly the National Day may be named with two Chinese words with meaning of a nation, to love the country, or the National Day celebration, and so on. The May Fourth Movement in 1919 brought with it what was known as the 'vernacular Campaign' and drastic changes in Chinese culture. So did it influence names. It contended all sorts of characters could be used to form a person's name. Then after the founding of New China, name began to take on a political touch, such as 'Ai Guo' 爱国which means 'love the country' and so on. The favorite words included: red, army, revolution, soldier, east, etc.

A good man is also expected to have good moral character and be broad-minded. In addition he should also be strong and healthy. All parents have experienced the excitement and anxiety of naming their sons. In every culture throughout the world, there is a general belief that names have an influence on the child’s life, either for better or for worse. So most parents choose names by the following principles: Meaning; Special significance; Family connection; Sound. Chinese parents consider these things when naming their children, but they also have to consider the qualities of the characters which make up the name. For example, most Chinese names are made up of three characters. The first character is the family name, and the last two characters are the given name. There are exceptions to this general rule, some family names are made up of two characters, and sometimes the given name is just one character.

The obvious change in Chinese name from the old time to nowadays is that many people now use only two characters. A study shows that, before 1966, about 90 percent of chinese names had three characters. But a recent survey tells us that about half of today's younger people have two character names.