凱 (pyrrhic_victoly) wrote in linguaphiles,

pyrrhic_victoly
linguaphiles

generation names

Can anyone tell me about the Chinese tradition of having a generation name - a character in a Chinese name that is shared between all male family members of each generation? I asked my family, but they only told me that it was "tradition". I've found out that the characters are taken from a generation name poem, but not much else.

I'm curious to know about the history of this practice, and what it means if a family follows it. Does it have something to do with social status, clan pride, etc.? Is the practice still widely used? (Obviously not in mainland China due to the one child policy.) How are the poems chosen/written?

Thanks in advance :)
Tags: chinese
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