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More Chinese Use Transliteration of Western Names
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More Chinese are giving their children western style names or directly transliterating western names, according to a survey on the use of Chinese language.

Western names such as Lina, Lucy or Jenny are now being widely used as Chinese names. The Chinese characters are transliterated to follow the English tones, according to the survey called "Language Situation in China: 2006" by the Ministry of Education (MOE).

The survey indicated that some Chinese are following the Western style of putting first names after given names, contrary to the Chinese style that reads in opposite sequence. Some people even have English letters as A, B, C in their names.

The survey also found that more than 60 million Chinese names were written with rarely used Chinese characters, probably to avoid repetition or illustrate individuality.

"Only 20,000 to 30,000 characters can be identified by computers, it's far from satisfying the public demand in giving names," said Li Yuming, a MOE official in charge of language administration. He attributed the additional characters to an increase in rare names.

"Name repetition in China is common due to our large population," Li said, adding that there were more than 300,000 people named "Zhang Wei" across the country.

He suggested that police departments should set up name reference systems to assist the public in choosing characters for names in order to avoid rarity or repetition.

Legislation on the use of characters in names is under way, according to police sources.

(Xinhua News Agency August 20, 2007)

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