Proper name mark

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In Chinese writing, a proper name mark (Simplified Chinese: 专名号, zhuānmínghào; Traditional Chinese: 專名號) is an underline used to mark proper names, such as the names of people, places, dynasties, organizations. The related book name mark (Simplified Chinese: 书名号, shūmínghào; Traditional Chinese: 書名號) indicated by a wavy underline (﹏﹏) is used to mark the titles of publications or texts.

The proper name mark is rarely used in modern Chinese publications, and the Guillemet (《 》or〈 〉) is more commonly used to indicate titles. It is occasionally used in Taiwan and Hong Kong in school textbooks. However, in scholarly editions of classical Chinese texts, especially vertically typeset texts (where they appear to the left of the text instead of underneath), use of both the proper name mark and the book name mark is common, as they help readers avoid misinterpretations of the text.

For example:

屈原放逐,乃賦離騒左丘失明,厥有國語。(司馬遷 《報任安書》)(using double underline to indicate wavy underline)
屈原放逐,乃賦離騒左丘失明,厥有國語。 (using CSS 3; wavy underline may not be visible in all browsers)

Qu Yuan was exiled, and thus composed "The Lament". Zuo Qiu (or Zuoqiu[1]) lost his sight, hence there is the Guo Yu. (Sima Qian, Letter to Ren An)

Also, consider the sentence "I come from Germany". In Chinese, using the proper name mark, it would be rendered as "我來自德國。" (Pinyin: Wǒ láizì Déguó.) The name of the country, in this case Germany, is underlined.

This method of recognizing proper names in text is similar to the English use of a capital letter in proper nouns.

See also[edit]

  • Interpunct, used to mark divisions in proper names in Chinese


  1. ^ It is debated whether the name 左丘明 has surname 左 and given name 丘明 (Zuo Qiuming) or surname 左丘 and given name 明 (Zuoqiu Ming).