The paper presents some classes of traditional and contemporary Chinese personal given names, i.e. hypocoristic given names. Hypocoristic given names, bestowed in order to express an affectionate or condescending attitude to the bearer, or simply because considered tender, intimate and beautiful, are predominantly associated with children and females. Chinese hypocoristic female names can be divided into two main categories, i.e. reduplicated names, in which reduplication serves as a formal marker of the 'diminutiveness', and hypocoristic names with various lexical markers of 'diminutiveness'. The underlying significance of the hypocoristic names and the embedded cultural background are revealed, and their structural, semantic and phonetic features are analysed. The investigation is mainly based upon the research material consisting of names of 2378 Chinese famous women born up to 1970, recorded in biographical dictionaries ('Dictionary'; ZRD) and 896 female students from Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) and Beijing Foreign Languages University (BFLU) in 2003.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.