Talk:List of common Chinese surnames

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Pronunciation column[edit]

Request an additional column with exact pronunciations, either phonetic transcription or embedded sound files. We have many columns with multiple transliterations, unfortunately missing one with pronunciation. Possibly, small sound files, if not all pronunciations can be correctly represented using phonetic transcription. Atif.hussain (talk) 02:06, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Pinyin is phonetic. Further, it's phonetic for one dialect of Chinese. The entire point of the additional columns and variant spellings is that the pronunciations change from dialect to subdialect to language. — LlywelynII 12:58, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Time to update the list[edit]

The top 100 surnames have changed according to a study just published in 2006:

李王张刘陈杨黄赵周吴
徐孙朱马胡郭林何高梁
郑罗宋谢唐韩曹许邓萧
冯曾程蔡彭潘袁于董余
苏叶吕魏蒋田杜丁沈姜
范江傅钟卢汪戴崔任陆
廖姚方金邱夏谭韦贾邹
石熊孟秦阎薛侯雷白龙
段郝孔邵史毛常万顾赖
武康贺严尹钱施牛洪龚

The reference [1] is a news article, which may disappear after some time. If someone know the primary source or a more stable link, please post it here. While I am working on the list in User:Felix Wan/Draft/List of common Chinese surnames, discussion on the proposed change is also welcome. -- Felix Wan 20:03, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Done. -- Felix Wan 06:34, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Populations in general are fairly steady, and I wouldn't have expected great changes in just 15 years (such as a name listed #26 in 1990 being completely dropped out of the top 100 in just 16 years, as it has been the case). I believe much of the discrepances are due to the inadequate sampling. For instance, it is said in Chinese surname#Distribution of surnames that, overall, Li is the most common Chinese name, while Wang predominates in Northern China and Chen in Southern China. If that is true, then the referenced 1990 study, with a sample of 174900 persons (which represents only 0.013% of the total population in PRC) could well have been skewed totards Northern China, for instance.
I would like to see more details about this 2006 study included, either in the article or in the discussion, if possible (details like sampling, design of the study, geographical representation, agency responsible, how data was obtained, etc.). If the data comes from the Census Bureau, it probably would be more reliable. -- HYC 08:25, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
The news article says that the study was led by Yuan Yida of the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology [2] of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The sampling size was 296,000,000, covering 1100 counties and cities all over China. (There are 2862 county-level divisions according to Political divisions of China. The population is about 1,300,000,000.) Collected data were adjusted according to population proportion of counties, districts and provinces. -- Felix Wan 08:21, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
This article [3] says that Yuan's study in 1987 concluded the first three to be Li, Wang and Zhang. The sample size was 570,000. That is more consistent with the current result than the quoted 1990 study is. -- Felix Wan 08:55, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I think positions can be a bit misleading without looking at the numbers of people or % of the population, as names could have similar numbers of people but positioned widely apart. Some of the names in the 1990 list does seem a bit odd, eg 26, Shé, people have told me that it's not a common surname. LDHan 11:56, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, Shé "佘" is odd to be old #26. I suspect some count could have come by mistake from Yú "余" (old #61 new #40). I doubt the accuracy of the 1990 study. Yuan Yida's study appears to be more accurate. -- Felix Wan 01:07, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
I would suggest dropping the 1990 study and using instead the 1987 one for comparison with that of 2006. I also like the suggestion of adding the % of the population (or maybe the ‰). Is such info available on the 2006 study? --HYC 06:56, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree with you, but I do not have such info. We will need help from other Wikipedians. The 1990 data is kept just to maintain a continuity in the discussion. We may consider dropping it later with or without the 1987 replacement. -- Felix Wan 22:52, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
There seems to be a great disparity in some of the 1990 and 2006 rankings... for example 葉 dropped from 11th in 1990 to 42nd in 2006... Did all the 葉s die off in these 16 years? More likely is that one of the censuses (censi?) is inaccurate. Same with 呂. -- Миборовский 23:52, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
Some regular editors of this page, please remove the 1990 ranking. Its causing clutter without adding value. Atif.hussain (talk) 01:56, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
Done! — LlywelynII 12:56, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Vietnamese spellings[edit]

Vietnamese spellings were added for all surnames by 66.167.192.167. Do all these surnames exist in Vietnam? Or just that they're the spellings of the same words in Vietnamese? :-D — Instantnood 07:38, Apr 21, 2005 (UTC)

Vietnamese is very much related to Chinese, especially considering Vietnamese was once writtern using Chinese script. I dont see why the addition is something to question about?--Huaiwei 07:42, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Well, Vietnamese is not genetically related to Chinese, since it is technically part of another language family. However, it has incorporated a majority of its vocabulary from Chinese, including its naming system. This situation is similar to Korean, which is also in a separate language family, but has also incorporated most of its vocabulary from Chinese. Back to the point, since the names are originally of Chinese origin, there's no reason why they shouldn't be mentioned in the last column. --Umofomia 07:58, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Are all these surnames of Vietnamese people? Some Han Chinese surnames are not found among Koreans, and I am not sure if it's also the case for Vietnamese. — Instantnood 08:11, Apr 21, 2005 (UTC)
This site shows the correspondence between certain Chinese characters and their equivalents in Vietnamese. I don't have the time to double-check all the names given (plus not all of the characters are in that site), but the ones I have checked looked okay. You raised a good point though, and I'm not sure if they're all used by Vietnamese. We'll have to find a Vietnamese person to confirm. --Umofomia 08:19, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Seems like there aren't many Vietnamese editing on Wikipedia. :-D — Instantnood 14:49, May 7, 2005 (UTC)
I actually asked Vietnamese members in a forum, and they said its correct. Hardly scientific thou, but I would think they are alright to remain till anyone could validiy this convincingly.--Huaiwei 15:22, 7 May 2005 (UTC)
Ethnic Chinese in Vietnam (Sino-Vietnamese) commonly write their surname using the Vietnamese writing system. In Vietnam, Mr. Chen might be known as Mr. Tran, and the romanization would carry over when Mr. Tran migrates to a country that uses the Latin alphabet. The presence of Vietnamese spellings of Chinese surnames doesn't neccessarily imply they're Vietnamese surnames. While many surnames are shared, some like Nguyen are unique to Vietnamese or very rare to Chinese, and I'm sure the opposite is true as well. --Yuje 22:41, May 11, 2005 (UTC)
Nguyen (spelt Yuen in Hong Kong, Yuan according to Pinyin) is found in Guangdong, and probably in Guangxi. Some might have partial and distant Vietnamese or Kinh ancestry tho. — Instantnood 05:23, Jun 3, 2005 (UTC)
Actually, I can't think of a single Vietnamese surname that they have "for" themselves. I'm the product of an Hoa (Chinese born and raised in Vietnam; namely, Cantonese and Saigon), and even my father told me they all borrowed out of Chinese one way or another. Even Nguyen was originally a Chinese last name from the hands of Southern China, yet somehow it spread to Vietnam (the article and stories tell something about the force of the king?) and became opposite and nearly extinct among ethnic Chinese use today. Vietnamese, well, I'm not sure how they got the surnames, but quoth my father, "Yeah, I don't know how the French and Portuguese guys [who created and modified the new, Romanized Vietnamese language] were able to work it out, but every Vietnamese surname I've seen has its roots in Chinese somehow." Even if it seems rare or "particular" to Vietnamese, it probably is the same case as Nguyen, as I just mentioned, or just a rare misspelling when Romanized. Dasani 05:44, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Use this tool to find the Vietnamese pronunciation of Chinese characters. Many of these names are common in Vietnam, others are found only in the Hoa minority group. There are in fact many Vietnamese speakers editing in Wikipedia, you'll just have to know where to look. Just ask your question at vi:Wikipedia:Guestbook_for_non-Vietnamese_speakers and somebody will answer you. This list of Vietnamese-speaking Wikipedians at the English Wikipedia is also growing. DHN 11:19, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Vietnamese surnames can be said to identically fall under the head of Chinese surnames. You'll find the answer in Vietnamese name.

Rankings by province/region[edit]

Is there any rankings by province or by region? It would be interesting to see the picture how some surnames are concentrated in certain regions. I've tried looking up on the internet but seems there isn't any. — Instantnood 23:58, Jun 23, 2005 (UTC)

Some info (very limited) is given on Chinese surname. --Dpr 08:15, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Redundancy[edit]

Does the column for simplified character need to be filled in cases (of which there are several), in which the traditional and simplified form are identical? --Dpr 07:57, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

I also think that it is unnecessary; furthermore, it makes difficult to visualize which surnamens REALLY have simplified versions. 201.6.253.247 14:03, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

I have just solved the redundancy issue. [4] See if that works. -- Felix Wan 21:09, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Korean surnames[edit]

Most, if not all of the statistics I've seen list Kim as the most common Korean surname, but it is not indicated as such here. Instead, Lee/Yi is noted as the most common. Why? 82.123.155.250 18:25, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

This is a list of the top 100 Chinese surnames, and Li/Lee is the most common Chinese surname overall (7.9% of the population). Obviously, you can expect regional variations among populations. For instance, in Taiwan, the most common is Chen (11%), and Lee drops to #4, as you can see here. Kim ranks #1 in Korea (20% there) but is not as common among the Chinese (ranking #56 in the current list). For Korean names you may want to check the List of Korean family names. HYC 04:20, 22 Jan 2006 (UTC)
Another case of Korean pride... this is a list of Chinese surnames. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 141.213.191.242 (talk) 05:31, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
Eh, don't think it's a problem with his reading comprehension. He was talking about the Korean and Vietnamese rankings noted in the table. Since they're unsourced and have several errors, will remove and link through to real (and maintained) lists instead. — LlywelynII 02:24, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

Han names only or all people in China?[edit]

Does the list have only Han surnames? Is it in order of the commonest? LDHan 21:10, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

All the people in China. Ma, for instance, is so popular because it's common with Hui and Uyghurs. — LlywelynII 12:52, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Alphabetical order[edit]

Wouldn´t it be better in ocidental alphabetical order (of course, respecting each section), just like the chinese page? 201.6.253.247 14:07, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

This is a list of the 100 most common names listed by frequency, while the Chinese page zh:中文姓氏列表 is a simply list of all Chinese surnames. The two pages serve different purposes and are not equivalent to one another. -- HYC 10:44, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Mistake in Romanized surname 陸[edit]

--Rapunzel77gil 16:43, 14 April 2006 (UTC)The problem with romanizing the surnames is that it creates many variations. In justifying my statement, I noted an error in the 60th popular surname 陸. I share this surname and am a Cantonese. In the Romanized version, my surname is spelled as Loke. No doubt about the spelling. The Cantonese pronunciation for 陸 can either be Luk or Loke. A large majority in Singapore with the romanized surname Loke are Cantonese. The Hokkien Romanized version for 陸 however, is spelled as Lek not Loke.

Font[edit]

The text in the table is showing up in Times Roman. Can the font be changed to Arial so that it's not forced into Times? Thank you, Badagnani 08:42, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

2007-02-11 Automated pywikipediabot message[edit]

--CopyToWiktionaryBot 22:52, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

The Word "Chiu"[edit]

The Word "Chiu" have two different Chinese word:"邱" or "丘" 邱 much more common than its counterpart 丘

I think it need to be noted in the article. Hattonchiu1 05:37, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

List of Korean surnames up for deletion[edit]

Vote here: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of Korean family names (2nd nomination). Badagnani 05:41, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Source for Vietnamese and Korean surname rank?[edit]

I'm inclined to remove the rankings included for Vietnamese and Korean surnames for the following reasons:

  1. uncited source(s)
  2. likelihood that the rankings are neither current nor complete
  3. in what year were those ranks determined? 1990 or 2006 or other?
  4. what methodology did they use to arrive at those ranks?

-- Robocoder (t|c) 05:12, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Good points. Will do & link through to common name list. — LlywelynII 02:22, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

Pan (surname), Pun (surname)[edit]

Do I infer correctly that Pun is a Cantonese spelling, and that according to standard Wikipedia practice the article should reside at Pan (surname)? I created the Pun (surname) article from content inappropriately inserted into Pun. In any case, if Pun (surname) is moved to Pan (surname), please also make the appropriate correction at Pun (disambiguation). Wareh 15:12, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes, that's likely. I can't think of any Chinese character off the top of my head that is Pinyin'ed as Pun. You are likely correct that it is Pan in Mandarin. But I don't know the history of the surname, and without knowing exactly which Chinese character it is talking about, I can't be 100% which surname it is really referring to. Having said that though, I think it is most likely talking about the surname 潘. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 15:41, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
Since I got no other responses here, I created a redirect at Pan (surname). Please make any changes as needed; I have zero expertise and was simply dealing with a problem at the utterly unrelated article pun. Wareh 21:18, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

In Vietnamese, that surname appears as "Phan". Le Anh-Huy 07:16, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Rare surnames[edit]

Can we create a new section on rare surnames like "ning" (that's mine!).宁雨翔 (talk) 21:22, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

No? There's >4000 "rare" surnames and another 6000 or so "historic" ones. Although you're welcome to work on expanding Wiktionary's Chinese surname lists. =) — LlywelynII 12:50, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Time for an update[edit]

These rankings are based on a very, very, very large survey, but they're still wrong. The NCIIC – the people who bring you China's national ID card – have the actual numbers for the whole country and Wang barely edges out the other two of the top three.

The top three are cited all over the Chinese net and Baidu Questions has some of the numbers for the less common names, but my Chinese is too poor to find where on the NCIIC page the list is that Baidu Questions is using. If we could find it, it'd be good to give the actual numbers or rough percentage (7, 7, 7, 5, 3...). — LlywelynII 13:13, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Well, there's nothing posted at the MPS site per se but the Xinhua article is still up. I was hoping for specific numbers for all hundred surnames and not just the top three, but guess they keep that under wraps for some reason. On bright side, found data allowing multi-decade comparison to another authoritative study rather than the awful 1990 sample. — LlywelynII 13:01, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Sources &/or removal of Non-Chinese names[edit]

One thing that would be useful would be addition of Middle and Old Chinese pronunciations of these names using

Baxter, Wm. H. & Sagart, Laurent. "Baxter–Sagart Old Chinese Reconstruction". (1.93 MB). 2011.


One thing I'm not really seeing the value of is the transliterations into Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese. The common names have their own pages; the uncommon ones fail notability. Isn't the proper place for that information on the surname pages themselves?

I mean, on the one hand, we can expand infinity to the right here on the internet; on the other, it does make it a bit of a pain to print or move the page. And what's the source for any of them anyway? — LlywelynII 13:07, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Li Dongming's "Surnames"[edit]

Over at "Chinese surname", they have a section on most common surnames that's badly out of date (not to mention wrong) and thus needs to be removed. On the other hand, I feel bad blanking encyclopedic content without putting it somewhere interested people can still access it. In case anyone can find sources for this – particularly its methodology – or put up a stub on the historian or his findings, here are the "most common Chinese surnames"

"Most Common": 李王张赵陈杨吴刘黄周
"11-20, accounting for >30% of the world's Chinese": 徐朱林孙马高胡郑郭 and 萧/肖
"21-30, accounting for ~20% of the world's Chinese": 謝何许宋沈罗韩邓梁叶
"Next 15, accounting for ~10% of the world's Chinese": 方崔程潘曹冯汪蔡袁卢唐钱杜彭陆

according to Li Dongming (栋明)'s 1977 article "Surnames" (《姓》) from Dongfang Magazine (《东方杂志》). — LlywelynII 03:03, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Sources[edit]

A. Right now, there's just sources citing the Ministry reports. It would obviously be better if the initial press releases could be found at Xinhua or the ministry websites.
B. Right now, the US data is from the 2000 census and only refers to total API rather than self-identified Chinese; that could be improved. There should be a database somewhere (they've got the census collated and they've got numbers for Chinese), but damned if I can find it – and as near as I can tell, the Census didn't bother to do any work on this in 2000 either. They let RAND fund a study that analyzed their database, sth that might require a DC wikipedian to duplicate if it's even possible.
C. Removing a New York Times cite. Granted, partisan bickering aside, it seems bizarre to remove that and leave Xinhua, but at least Xinhua referred to a summary of a study by a gov't ministry. The cited NY Times article pulls its number seemingly from nowhere, while contradicting the far more thorough work (albeit on the 2000 census) found in the Census's RAND-funded study. The RAND study found all 151,000-odd surnames with 100+ bearers made up under 90% (spec. 89.8%) of the population; it seems highly dubious that the top 70,000 ate up the extra 15% within 10 years, even with influx from common Hispanic and Vietnamese surnames. — LlywelynII 05:49, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

Cantonese "Other"[edit]

In the Cantonese section under "Other", the superscript numbers are footnote references, not accents. Edits made on March 23, 2012 turned all numbers to superscript, breaking distinction between accents and footnotes. From what I see, everything in the Cantonese Other are footnotes; all other columns are accents.

  • "4" means spelling used in Macau
  • "5" means Americanized spelling

How do we resolve this? Remove the footnote numbers in said column? Jigen III (talk) 05:07, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

I propose that User:Felix Wan/Draft/List of common Chinese surnames be merged into List of common Chinese surnames. I found this article while working on some of the articles that redirect to articles referenced in this article. The article on the "user space" was created back in 2006, and hasn't been edited since 2006 (until I posted the merger request on User:Felix Wan/Draft/List of common Chinese surnames). I believe the information found in User:Felix Wan/Draft/List of common Chinese surnames (even though a lot of the text in User:Felix Wan/Draft/List of common Chinese surnames can already be found in List of common Chinese surnames) could be added into the primary article to make this article even better.

P.S. I looked through all possible articles on Wikipedia regarding merging, and I could not find anything about a request like this (merging a user page into an article) not being allowed. If I am wrong, please let me know; I am open to discussion about this. Steel1943 (talk) 16:08, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for getting my attention on my draft. That page was created in 2006 in order to improve this article. This article was later updated by me with that page and then improved by other editors. So I believe the current article has already incorporated information in my article. Editors usually create draft pages in user space before updating the article when the edit is too huge, especially when it involves complicated table formats, in order not to disturb the article. So it is usually safe to assume that information in the user space does not need to be merged in the main space, as it should have already been taken care of by the user. However, If you have found information in my article that is missing from this article, feel free to edit. -- Felix Wan (talk) 06:42, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Japanese[edit]

Japanese people do not usually use surnames of Chinese origin. Should the Japanese romanizations of the last name be included on the list, as most Japanese people do not use any of the last names on the list?

Justinrleung (talk) 02:08, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

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