22 Exchange Names – 1

大家早上好 Good morning everyone。今天是星期二 today is Tuesday。我是罗老师 I am Teacher Luo,希望各位平安, I hope you are all safe and sound.

Today we are going to learn how to ask about a stranger’s family name in a classic way. However, please keep in mind that the young generation nowadays do not exchange names like this anymore, which is a shame, it is graceful, and vividly shows us what our lifestyle used to be like in China before 1949. They destroyed every nice piece part of our culture.

I wonder if we should forgive the Germans and especially the Russians. They gave us a virus called Maxism a century ago!

Anyway, let’s go back to the small conversation of name exchanging, today we are learning part 1 of 3. This is Lesson 22, inMountains Mandarin Course, 第22课。

  • nin [you, with a respectful tone] 您
  • Gui [honorable] 贵 【goo-ay】
  • Xing[surname]? 姓 【Sheeng】

May I ask for your honorable family name?

Here the word [贵] Gui is the same as it is in the word 贵宾,which means VIP, very important. Distinguished guest = 贵客 Gui Ke. This jacket is so expensive. = This jacket is 好贵.

So keep in mind, when you meet a Chinese person next time who you do not know. Ask “What’s your honorable family name?” 您贵姓? instead of “May I know your name/What’s your name?”, it will definitely impress him because not so many Chinese use this kind of elegant language anymore.

  • mian [no need] 免 【mee-an】
  • Gui [(to say the word)honorable] 贵
  • Xing [surnamed] 姓
  • luo[loo-or]. 罗

You are too nice. My small family name is Luo.

免贵 means [Please do not say the word 贵/honorable/You are too kind to say 贵].

  • nin ne[you, with a respectful tone]?

How about you?

  • xiao [humbly] 小 【shee-ao】
  • Xing [surnamed] 姓
  • bai. 白

小 = small; the answer means my family name is small (in terms of population)

My small family name is Bai.

The word bai 白 means White, so if your family name is White, you actually have a lot of families in China because 白 is indeed a common family name itself. However, in most cases, Chinese translators use 怀特 to translate White, which shares the same sound but not the same meaning. It is to avoid confusion I guess.

  • wo [I] 我
  • Jiao[am called] 叫 【Jau】
  • Bai Daniu. 白大牛【bai Dar new】

My name is Daniu Bai.

Daniu is a typical and another interesting translation for an English name. You will learn about that in our next lesson.


Q: How to say White in Chinese?(find out)
Q: What does 贵姓 mean?(find out)