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Disadvantages of a Chinese name in online discussions

January 27, 2010 – 7:12 pm

A Chinese name is a must have for any Westerner who visits China. So I was told. I’ve experimented with some Chinese names, but since then I have given up on using a Chinese name. Although my real European name is hard to pronounce for Chinese, after five minutes of training most Chinese can do it.

However on this blog I still use a Chinese name I’ve also used while in China before. I’ve kept this name on the blog, because I want to keep a little bit of privacy here. And it does give me some privacy. Unfortunately there are disadvantages connected to a Chinese name when used online. Here’s the problem: When I add a comment to some online discussion, most people think I’m a Chinese guy and I have to explain to them I’m not. It can be fun at some moments, yet it’s confusing in more serious discussions and it always takes some extra time for pointing this out.

Maybe I should find a Western name for myself. Not my real name, but some pseudonym. Or maybe a Chinese name, that shows I’m not Chinese. Like for example: Laowai. Or maybe: Waiguoguizi. Don’t know what to do about this really. Any recommendations?

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  1. 7 Responses to “Disadvantages of a Chinese name in online discussions”

  2. I have never used a chinese name in china and never had problems with it. You are right, some people need to practice a little but then its usually ok. One exception: for my driving license I had to use a chinese name as latin characters were not allowed.

    By Boris on Jan 28, 2010

  3. Though my teacher gave me a Chinese name (高斯 … probably because I am so clever…) I hardly used it. Never had a problem either. So there is no need for a Chinese name – really.

    But Chinese people like to use their English name as well, but they actually don’t need that either.

    By kozen on Jan 28, 2010

  4. Online, it’s maybe not so necessary to use my chinese name, yet in daily live it is, when living in China, rather useful. Why? Firstly, peopel who don’t speak english have troubles remembering my Swiss name (and nobody can pronounce it properly, so they all pronounce it in the english way anyway). In addition, I am also happy if certain non-Chinese who don’t speak english (mainly some Koreans, Japanese and Africans) have a chinese name, as their home names are not as easy to remember as the chinese name (yet names are generally hard to remember for me :P ) Moreover, it’s ways shorter to write my chinese name in a short message than my swiss one, so I usually choose it there, too.

    However, online I usually use my alias Aremonus, so I’ve got my privacy protected whilst not hiding my origins.

    By Aremonus on Jan 28, 2010

  5. My Chinese name is 尼诺 and I like it, because it’s unique and easy to write and it’s very close to my actual Western name, so I have no issues with that.

    By MKL on Jan 28, 2010

  6. @Boris,
    But then your drivers license is not yours. ;) I heard that on all legal documents I have to use my real name, no matter what.
    Good to hear you have luck teaching them your name as well.

    @Kozen
    Maybe I should find an English name :o
    If I ever need some advice about mathematics, I’ll ask you ;)

    @Aremonus
    Try to teach them your Swiss name. Should work.
    Aremonus sounds like a Latin name.

    @MKL
    You are lucky to have a name that can be transcribed into Chinese so easily.

    By Hendrik on Jan 28, 2010

  7. Yea, it sounds latin, but is actually nothing but a mixture of letters. However, latin expressions are usually easy for everyone to prounce, expecially everyone outside Aisa. That’s also one of the reasons why the German car brand Horch renamed itself into Audi (which is the latin expression for Horch).

    By Aremonus on Jan 28, 2010

  8. I didn’t know about the Audi history. Need to check it some time ;)

    By Hendrik on Jan 29, 2010

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