Learn Cantonese at home with our Cantonese story book now for 20% discount

Learn more
learn how to choose a good Cantonese name in this lesson

How to choose a good Cantonese name?

Wondering how to choose a good Cantonese name for yourself or your family?  Apart from choosing meaningful characters, you also need to consider the tone of characters used in the name.

In this lesson, you will learn how to choose good Cantonese name based on tone pattern(平仄).

What is tone pattern(平仄)?

Tone pattern(平仄)is a summery representation of the 4 tones in Middle Chinese, the level(平), rising(上), departing(去)and entering(入).  Rising, departing and entering tones are summarized as oblique tones(仄).

Regardless which Cantonese romanization system you use, the tones of Cantonese can be represented in those Middle Chinese tones.  Therefore, they can also be represented with level tones and oblique tones.

Jyutping/ Yale tone notationsMiddle Chinese tone notationsTone pattern
Tone 1陰平Level(平)
Tone 2陰上Oblique(仄)
Tone 3陰去Oblique(仄)
Tone 4陽平Level(平)
Tone 5陽上Oblique(仄)
Tone 6陽去Oblique(仄)

The entering(入)tone is referring to the unreleased stop in Cantonese pronunciation, which happens when ending consonant p, t or k is used.

Jyutping/ Yale tone notationsMiddle Chinese tone notationsTone pattern
Tone 1陰入Oblique(仄)
Tone 3中入Oblique(仄)
Tone 6陽入Oblique(仄)

How to choose a good Cantonese name with tone pattern?

Tone pattern(平仄)is crucial for choosing a good Cantonese name.  A name is consider balance in tone when level tones(平)are followed by oblique tones(仄) , vice versa.

Most of the Cantonese name are created in the pattern of level-oblique-level(平仄平).

zoeng1 gwok3 wing4

張國榮

Level-oblique-level(平-仄-平)

can4 siu2 ming4

陳小明

Level-oblique-level(平-仄-平)

ceoi4 bou6 gou1

徐步高

Level-oblique-level(平-仄-平)

mui4 jim6 fong1

梅艷芳

Level-oblique-level(平-仄-平)

How to choose a good Cantonese name based on Middle Chinese tones?

You can also find names using other patterns, as long as you put 陰 [jam1] and 陽 [joeng4] of Middle Chinese tones into consideration.

It is acceptable for you to use characters with level tones or oblique tones consecutively, if they have different value on 陰 [jam1] and 陽 [joeng4].

wong4 zi1 fung1

黃之鋒

Level-level-level(陽平-陰平-陰平)

zau1 ting4

周庭

Level-level(陰平-陽平)

lei5 gaa1 sing4

李嘉誠

Oblique-level-level(仄-陰平-陽平)

The rarest pattern you can find is is oblique-oblique-oblique(仄-仄-仄).

ze6 wai5 zeon3

謝偉俊

Oblique-oblique-oblique(仄-仄-仄)(陽去-陽上-陰上)

Reference

That’s it for this lesson on how to choose a good Cantonese name!

2 thoughts on “How to choose a good Cantonese name?”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

English