Generation name

From Academic Kids

Generation name is half of the two-Chinese character given name given to newborns in the same generation of one surname lineage. It is called banci (班次) in China and haengnyeol ireum (행렬 이름; 行列 이름) in Korea. (See also Chinese name and Korean name.) Often, the banci was usually given to only males in a generation, although this practice is different from family to family and has changed over time. In Chinese practice, generational names are not universally used although they are quite common.

The generation name is written in one character and is usually years or centuries ago dictated in a generation poem (banci lian 班次聯 or paizi ge 派字歌 in Chinese). Each of the poem's characters is to be a generation name. After the last character of the poem is reached, the poem may be extended, or (more usually) the generation cycle is reset and the first character is reused. The poem varies in length from two dozen characters to a hundred characters.

In Chinese practice, the banci was shared by a lineage having a common ancestor and generally originating in the same Chinese location. Thus a single Chinese surname has many different generational names associated with it, and people not sharing the same banci are seen as coming from different families

The common generation character may be either the first (more common) or second one of the two-character name, but it is in the same position for everyone who shares it. For some families, the position switches from generation to generation, so that one generation will share the same first character in the given name, while the next will share the same second character.

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