Surname stroke order

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The surname stroke order (Chinese: 姓氏笔划排列) is a Chinese name ordering system. It arose as an impartial method of categorization of the order in which names appear in official documentation or in ceremonial procedure without any line of hierarchy. In official setting, the number of strokes in a person's surname determines where a name should be placed and the list order. Surnames "Ding" and "Wang" (written simply in the Chinese language with two and four strokes, respectively, "丁", "王") for example, are simple surnames that usually appear on the front of lists, while surnames such as "Dai" and "Wei" ("戴", "魏", both written with 17 strokes) often appear on the bottom of lists.

It is similar to an alphabetical order of names, but in Chinese this is impractical as the Chinese written language lacks an alphabetical structure, and the general populace does not rely on the pinyin romanization, from which some order schemes have developed.

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