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What is your name?

刊登日期: 2013.01.13
作者: Grace Tse  

One day, at an outdoor badminton club, Chan Siu Mei met Mary Rose Brown, an American girl. Mary asked Chan Siu Mei, "What is your last name, 'Chan’ or 'Mei’? Mine is 'Brown’." What should Chan Siu Mei reply? In this case, the reply is "Chan". When talking about "family name", American people prefer "last name" whereas British people prefer "surname". 

Both "Siu Mei" and "Mary Rose" are given names, which are given by their parents when they were born. In the English-speaking countries, the name order is "given names + family name". In most of East Asia, such as China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam, the name order is opposite. 

In the Western culture, the given names are also known as "forenames". If a given name is formed of two names, the first one is called the "first name" and the second one is called the "middle name". 

When writing to a Westerner, some Chinese people write a family name in capital letters (e.g. CHAN Siu Mei) or separate the family name from the given names with a comma (e.g. Chan, Siu Mei). 

Some of you might also have an informal name. Your friends might give you a nickname based on your physical characteristics (e.g. "Skinny") or personality (e.g. "Chatterbox"). What nicknames do you have? Do you like them? 

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