What's in an English name? Check out Chinese broadcaster CCTV's guide to choosing a good name

 A group of Chinese women takes their babies for a stroll outside a shopping mall in Beijing on Oct 18, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
 A group of Chinese women takes their babies for a stroll outside a shopping mall in Beijing on Oct 18, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

What's in a name? Plenty. It can even tell people how smart you are, according to China's state broadcaster CCTV.

It's best to avoid sweet-sounding names like Candy, Lolly, Sugar - they are "typically thought of as 'non-smart girl' names, or 'stripper' names", says CCTV.

But you should also give names that too smart - like Einstein - a miss, because "you have some pretty big shoes to fill there".

"While native English speakers are stuck with whatever happy or unhappy names they've been given, Chinese and other 'non-natives' get the lucky choice of picking their own English name," according to the report.

But it's best to choose wisely, says CCTV, because "English names come with different connotations. It's not always fair to those people, but they do".

Need more tips? Here's CCTV's guide to choosing an English name:

1. 'Proper' names

CCTV says a name "can come with a 'feeling' or idea about what sort of person you are, and where you come from".

'Proper' names such as Elizabeth, Michael, William, Catherine might sound conservative to some, but it is safe and exudes "Caucasianess" - if that's what you are looking for.

2. Names from objects or random words

How do you feel when you have to call a person named Surprise? Does a person named Dragon intimidate you?

Sure, a random name helps the person stand out from the crowd, but "avoid them if you want a call back from that serious law firm in America", CCTV warns.

3. Food names

Naming your child after food is not unsual anymore - Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple, and Man vs. Wild star Edward 'Bear' Grylls' son is called Huckleberry.

However, it's best to avoid sweet or 'suggestive' names, such as Candy, Lolly, Sugar.

According to CCTV, they are "typically thought of as 'non-smart girl' names, or 'stripper' names".

4. Names of famous people

Are you as smart as Einstein? As bold as Obama? As legendary as Madonna? Or as influential as Oprah?

Picking a name of famous people means that you want to "embody that person".

Stick to the more common names like as Michelle, Nicole or Benjamin to avoid uncomfortable questions.

5. Old names

Names such as Mildred and Gertrude are considered "outdated", but still popular with the elderly.

"Old" names are still widely used therefore it's hard to tell if it's a hit or miss, so CCTV encourages readers to "check with a foreigner" when in doubt.

6. Characters, religious, mythology names

Names play a big part in first impressions. So try to avoid Satan, Hercules or Medusa at all costs.

Harry from Harry Potter and Edward from Edward Cullen, yes. Dumbledore and Vampire, no.

7. 'Sexual' names

"Non-native speakers can't really be blamed for choosing a 'sex name'" beacuse "these words aren't covered in the text books", says CCTV.

Some names sound perfectly innocent but have sexual meanings.

Names like Pussy, Creamy or Dong might sound normal to some, but will make foreigners think twice about working with you.

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