The names of Chinese people have their own tradition and characteristics. Unlike westerners, the family name in China is put first, followed by the given name. Interestingly a feme covert does not use her husband's family name. The given name usually contains one or two Chinese characters but in order to avoid confusion, newly-born babies are now entitled to be given names of three characters.
Among all the family names, 100 common ones cover almost 87% of the total population. Of these, 19 are more popular than others, including Li, Wang, Zhang, Liu, Chen, Yang, Zhao, Huang, Zhou, Wu, Xu, Sun, Hu, Zhu, Gao, Lin, He, Guo and Ma, and represent about half of the whole Chinese people.
Some Chinese have compound surnames, consisting of two characters, like Ou Yang, Tai Shi, Duan Mu, Shang Guan, Si Ma, Dong Fang, Du Gu, Nan Gong, among others. Now there are altogether 81 compound surnames existing in the country.
All Chinese people have equal rights to use their own names, which are legally protected. Generally speaking, a child is always entitled to the surname of his father. However, children nowadays in China do not have to do so; they can adopt that of their mother. Nicknames are often called in their childhood or by their confidants.
Addressing Chinese People
|Mr. Li||Li Xian1 Sheng1|
|Mrs. Wang||Wang Nv3 Shi4|
|Ms. Zhang||Zhang Nv3 Shi4|
|President Xi||Xi Zhu3 Xi2|
|Minister Zhou||Zhou Zong3 Li3|
|Manager Wang||Wang Jing1 Li3|
Assuming "Li" is her surname, I know I can address her as "Dear Ms Li", but if I want to keep it informal, so how should I address her? "Dear Chin", "Dear Cheung" or "Dear Chin Cheung".
Thanks in advance for your help.
You can write Mr.Ren or Mrs.Ren in the letter. Called him Shaoye will be ok in casual conversation.
Does that indicate that we should be calling them by their surname?
E.G. Yaqi Tu - which name comes first?
Similarly, we have a large number who choose western names e.g. Sarah. We obviously would call them Sarah, but which name should follow Sarah? Should it be Sarah Yaqi or Sarah Tu?
I feel very ignorant, but want to make sure I am not offending any students!