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Chinese Generation Name

Published at 2013-07-17 21:18:34 Updated at 2013-07-17 21:18:34

In native Chinese names, there are a character, called generation name, to represent the generation of a family. Normally, this generation name is put in the first of a given name, and sometime used as the last word. Some samples of names with a generation name are as following.

76th-Generation name of Confucian family

Kong Linghui
孔令辉
a world pingpang champion
Kong Lingcheng
孔令成
a peacekeeping officer
Kong Linghua
孔令华
son-in-law of Mao Zedong

In the three names above, the first character is a family name of Confucian. And all the second one, i.e. the first one in their given name, are the same. Just this word is a generation name of Confucian family, which means that all persons with this generation name is the 76th-generation offspring of Confucian.

Mao Zedong's brothers

Mao Zedong
毛泽东
The President Mao.
Mao Zemin
毛泽民
younger brother of Mao.
Mao Zetan
毛泽覃
youngest brother of Mao.

Also, in the three names above, the first character is their family name, while the middle one is the generation name of Mao Zedong's brothers. Is there difference from Confucian family? Yes. The generation name of Confucian family is for all Chinese persons in the world, and one of Mao Zedong's is only for their local family. Normally, generation names are only used in a family lived in or originated from a particular area.

Who decided generation names

Normally, generation names of a family are decided by a man of compelling integrity who usually composed them in verse to express something like luckiness, happiness, prosperity, etc.

5 Generation names of Mao Zedong's family are as below:

The following 5 names are the names for Mao Zedong's grand-grandfather, grandfather, father, and himself, his nephew respectively. Look at the second words, they match the 5 generation names above.

Mao Zuren
毛祖人
grand-grandpa of Mao
Mao Enpu
毛恩普
grandpa of Mao Zedong
Mao Yichang
毛贻昌
Mao Zedong's father
Mao Zedong
毛泽东
The President Mao Zedong.
Mao Yuanxin
毛远新
Mao Zedong's nephew

How is the generation name today

On January 17 of 1970, when Mao's grandson was born, He did not give that boy a generation name instead of Mao Xinyu, with meaning of creating a new world. Mao Xinyu now is an Army Major-general.

In fact, now less and less people give name to their kids with a generation name.