How popular is the baby name Lien in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Lien and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Lien.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Lien

Number of Babies Named Lien

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Lien

Growing Up with the Name Bich

What was it like to grow up in the U.S. in the ’70s and ’80s with a Vietnamese name like Bich?

Here’s an excerpt from Stealing Buddha’s Dinner: A Memoir by Bich Minh Nguyen, who moved to Michigan with her family as a 1-year-old in 1975.

In Vietnamese [Bich] meant jade, which was all well and fine in Vietnam but meant nothing in Michigan. It was pronounced with an accent tilting up, the tone leading almost toward a question, with a silent h. Bic! I hated the sound–too harsh, too hard, and the c so slight that it evaporated in the air. I preferred to hear it as Bit. The sound seemed tidier, quieter. So that’s what I made my name over to be, and it was fine until my classmates learned to read and swear. By second grade I was being regularly informed that I was a bitch. I started fantasizing then about being Beth, or maybe Vanessa or Polly. I longed to be Jenny Adams with the perfect simple name to match her perfect honeyed curls. […] I felt I could judge the nature and compassion of teachers, especially substitutes, by the way they read my name. The good ones hesitated and gently spelled it, avoiding a phonetic pronunciation. The evil ones simply called out, Bitch? Bitch Nu-guy-in?

Bich wasn’t allowed to use an American name, but other kids she knew were allowed to:

Their parents were anxious for them to fit into Grant Rapids and found the three quickest avenues: food, money, and names. Food meant American burgers and fries. Money meant Jordache jeans and Izod shirts. Names meant a whole new self. Overnight, Thanh’s children, Truoc and Doan, became Tiffany and David, and other families followed. Huong to Heather, Quoc to Kevin, Lien to Lynette. Most of the kids chose their own names and I listened while they debated the merits of Jennifer versus Michelle, Stephanie versus Crystal. They created two lives for themselves: the American one and the Vietnamese one–Oriental, as we all said back then. Out in the world they were Tiffany and David; at home they were Truoc and Doan. They mothers cooked two meals–pho and sautes for the elders, Campbell’s soup and Chef Boyardee for the kids.

In primary school, Bich knew one other Vietnamese girl, Loan, who also continued to use her original name. They became friends.

Bitch and Loan, some of the kids said on the playground. Hey, bitch, can you loan me some money?

Nowadays, Bich Minh Nguyen tends to go by the name Beth.

I wonder what proportion of the Vietnamese-American kids in Bich’s generation went by an “American” name outside the home. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any data on this, have any of you guys?

Source: Nguyen, Bich Minh. Stealing Buddha’s Dinner: A Memoir. New York, Penguin: 2008.

Related: Hebrew Names Lost In Translation


Vietnamese Names in America, 1975

The theme this week? Names that tie back to the end of the Vietnam War.

Yesterday’s name, Chaffee, isn’t the only Vietnam-related name we see on the charts in 1975. There are plenty of Vietnamese names that pop up that year as well. Here are the ones I’ve spotted so far:

Vietnamese Boy Name Debuts, 1975 Vietnamese Girl Name Debuts, 1975
Viet, 23 baby boys [top debut]
Hung, 16 [4th]
Nam, 14 [6th]
Huy, 13 [7th]
Long, 11
Vu, 10
Tran, 9
Duc, 8
Dung, 8
Hoang, 8
My, 8
Nguyen, 8
An, 7
Luan, 7
Phong, 7
Binh, 6
Minh, 6
Quoc, 6
Anh, 5
Hai, 5
Linh, 5
Quang, 5
Tien, 5
Yun, 5
Anh, 10 baby girls [58th highest debut]
Phuong, 9
Nguyen, 7
Thu, 7
Bich, 6
Linh, 6
Thao, 6
Trang, 6
Chau, 5
Hoa, 5
Lien, 5
Ngoc, 5
Viet, 5
Yen, 5

Many other Vietnamese names — Bao, Chinh, Dao, Giang, Huong, Khanh, Lam, Nguyet, Phuc, Quyen, Suong, Thanh, Vuong, and so forth — debut on the SSA’s list during the late ’70s and early ’80s.

One of the Vietnamese babies born at Chaffee in 1975 was Dat Nguyen, who went on to become the first Vietnamese-American to play in the NFL. His name, Dat, wasn’t popular enough to make the national list until 1979.

[For context, one of the pop culture names that debuted in 1975 was Chakakhan. Another was Tennille, inspired by Captain & Tennille.]

How to Pronounce Asian Names

Yesterday I discovered the “Asian Name Pronunciation Guide,” which was created by California State Polytechnic University (Pomona) to help its students “more accurately pronounce some common Asian first and last names.” What a cool thing for the school to make available.

There are pages for names in Cambodian, Cantonese, Filipino, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Thai and Vietnamese. Best of all, most pages include audio files of native speakers correctly pronouncing selected names.

Here are all the first names listed:

Cambodian First Names & Pronunciations

  • Bopha, bohpah
  • Chanda, chahndah
  • Chandarith, chahnrit
  • Chhoun, choo-en
  • Dara Khan, dahrah kahn
  • Khan, kahn
  • Kosal, kohsahl
  • Kunthea, kunt-hee-ah
  • Lai, lah-ee
  • Lun Ang, loom-ang
  • Maly, mahlee
  • Map, mahp
  • Moeuk, mew
  • Pean, pee-in
  • Phalla, pahlah
  • Phireak, pee-re
  • Poew, pohew
  • Rith, rit
  • Ry, ree
  • Sarit, sahrit
  • Srey, sray
  • Soas, soo-uh
  • Socheat, sohjee-et
  • Soeun, sew-in
  • Sok, sawk
  • Somally, sawmahlee
  • Sopea, sohpeeah
  • Sophal, sohpahl
  • Sophat, sohpaht
  • Sophea, sohpeeah
  • Sopheap, sohpee-up
  • Suon, soo-in
  • Theary, t-ih-ree
  • Thy, tee
  • Tren, trayng
  • Vanna, wahnah
  • Vannak, wahnak
  • Vantha, wahntah
  • Veng Kim, wayng kum
  • Vuthy, wootee

Cantonese (Chinese) First Names & Pronunciations

  • Chi-Kung, chee-kahng
  • Chi-Man, chee-mahn
  • Ka-Ling, gah-leeng
  • Kok-Wing, kaw-wing
  • Lai-Ying, ly-ying
  • Mei-Yee, may-yee
  • Pui-Pui, puhyee-pahyee
  • Sau-Ha, sow-han
  • Shuk-Yee, suh-yee
  • Sin-Feng, sin-fuhng
  • Siu-Kao, seeyoo-kayoo
  • Tak-Wah, duh-wah
  • Wai-Keung, wy-kuhung
  • Wai-Ling, wy-ling

Filipino First Names & Pronunciations

  • Adelaide, ahdelydah
  • Angelita, ahngheleetah
  • Annal, ahnah
  • Antonio, ahntoneeyo
  • Aunor, awnor
  • Carlo, karlo
  • Catalina, kahtahleena
  • Dakila, dahkeelah
  • Dalisay, dahleesy
  • Diego, deeyaygo
  • Floricel, florreesel
  • Gemma, jemah
  • Guillermo, geelyermo
  • Honesto, ohnesto
  • Irma, irmah
  • Isabel, eesahbel
  • Ligaya, leegahyah
  • Liwayway, leewaiwai
  • Luningning, looningning
  • Lourdes, lordess
  • Magdalena, mahgdahleena
  • Manuel, mahnoowel
  • Maria, mahreeyah
  • Maricar, mahrikahr
  • Miguel, meegel
  • Norma, normah

Indonesian First Names & Pronunciations

Female Names

  • Ade, ada
  • Devi, day (silent y)-vee
  • Dewi, day (silent y)-we
  • Erlin, arleen
  • Fanny, funny
  • Farida, fareeda
  • Glenna, glenna
  • Harjanti, harjantee
  • Hartanti, hartantee
  • Ida, eda
  • Inge, enge
  • Lanny, lunny
  • Leony, leony
  • Liana, leeana
  • Liani, leeanee
  • Ratna, rutna
  • Shinta, shinta
  • Siska, sisca
  • Sri, seri
  • Sucianty, soocianty
  • Susanti, soosantee
  • Utami, utami
  • Vera, vera
  • Verawati, verawatee
  • Veronika, veronica
  • Widya, wedya
  • Widyawati, wedyawati
  • Yanti, yunti
  • Yenny, yenny
  • Yulia, yoolia
  • Yuliana, yooleeana
  • Yuliani, yooleeanee

Male Names

  • Ade, ada
  • Adi, adee
  • Agus, agoos
  • Ari (Ary), ari
  • Bambang, bumbung
  • Benny, banny
  • Budi, boodee
  • Deddy, deddy
  • Djaja (Djaya, Jaya), jaya
  • Doddy, doddy
  • Hadi, hudee
  • Hadian, hudeean
  • Hamdani, hamdani
  • Handoko, handoko
  • Hartono, hartono
  • Hendra, hendra
  • Hendri, hendori
  • Hengki (Hengky), hanki
  • Herman, herman
  • Indra, endra
  • Irwan, erwan
  • Ivan, evan
  • Iwan, ewan
  • Johan, johan
  • Ridwan, ridwan
  • Sonny, sonny
  • Sudirman, soodirman
  • Sudomo, soodoomo
  • Sugiarto, soogiarto
  • Suharto, sooharto
  • Suhendra, soohendra
  • Sukarno, sookarno
  • Suparman, sooparman
  • Surya, soorya
  • Suryadi, sooryadee
  • Susanto, soosanto
  • Teguh, taguh
  • Yandi, yundee
  • Yohanes, yohanes

Japanese First Names & Pronunciations

Female Names

  • Akiko, a-ki-o
  • Etsuko, eh-tsu-ko
  • Hiroko, he-ro-ko
  • Hiromi, he-ro-me
  • Junko, june-ko
  • Kaoru, ka-o-ru
  • Kazuko, ka-zu-ko
  • Keiko, keh-ko
  • Kuniko, koo-ni-ko
  • Kyoko, kyoh-ko
  • Mariko, ma-ri-ko
  • Masako, ma-sa-ko
  • Michiko, me-chi-ko
  • Miho, me-ho
  • Miki, me-ki
  • Miyuki, me-you-ki
  • Naoko, na-o-ko
  • Noriko, no-lee-ko
  • Reiko, reh-ko
  • Sachiko, sa-chi-ko
  • Takako, ta-ka-ko
  • Tomoko, to-mo-ko
  • Yoko, yoh-ko
  • Yoshiko, yo-shi-ko
  • Yuki, you-ki
  • Yumi, you-me
  • Yumiko, you-me-ko

Male Names

  • Akio, a-ki-o
  • Akira, a-ki-ra
  • Hideo, hi-de-o
  • Hiroshi, hi-ro-sih
  • Ichiro, e-chi-roh
  • Junichi, june-e-chi
  • Kazuo, ka-zu-o
  • Kenji, ken-ji
  • Kiyoshi, ki-yo-shi
  • Koichi, ko-e-chi
  • Koji, ko-ji
  • Makoto, ma-ko-toh
  • Osamu, o-sa-mu
  • Shigeru, shi-ge-ru
  • Shinichi, shin-e-chi
  • Shiro, shi-ro
  • Susumu, su-su-mu
  • Tadashi, ta-da-shi
  • Takao, ta-ka-o
  • Takashi, ta-ka-shi
  • Takeo, ta-ke-o
  • Takeshi, ta-ke-shi
  • Toru, toh-ru
  • Tsutomu, tsu-to-mu
  • Yoshio, yo-shi-o
  • Yuji, you-ji
  • Yutaka, you-ta-ka

Korean First Names & Pronunciations

Female Names

  • Eun-A, euna
  • Eun-Hee, eunhee
  • Eun-Ju, eunju
  • Eun-Jung, eunjung
  • Eun-Kyoung, eunkyoung
  • Eun-Mi, eunmi
  • Eun-Su, eunsu
  • Eun-Sun, eunsun
  • Eun-Young, eunyoung
  • Hye-Su, hiesu
  • Hyun-Ja, hyunja
  • Hyun-Ju, hyunju
  • Hyun-Jung, hyunjung
  • Hyun-Young, hiuniung
  • Jin-Sook (Jing-Suk), jinsuk
  • Kun-Sun, keunsun
  • Kyoung-Mi, kyungmi
  • Min-Hee, minhee
  • Min-Hoe, minhoe
  • Min-Jung, minjung
  • Min-Young, miyoung
  • Mi-Kyoung, mikyoung
  • Mi-Sun, misun
  • Mi-Young, miyoung
  • Na-Young, nayoung
  • Sang-Hee, sang/hee
  • Sang-Mi, sangmi
  • So-Young, soyoung
  • Sun-Hee, sunhee
  • Su-Jung, sujung
  • Young-Hee (Yung-Hee), young-hee
  • Young-Ja, youngja
  • Young-Mi, youngmi
  • Yun-Hee, iunhee

Male Names

  • Chang-Ho, changho
  • Chang-Su, changsu
  • Chang-Uk, chang-uk
  • Dong-Min, dongmin
  • Dong-Uk, dong-uk
  • Du-Ho, doho
  • Hyun-Su, hyeonsu
  • In-Ho, inho
  • Jang-Ho, jangho
  • Ja-Hoon, jahoon
  • Jong-Cheol (Jong-Chul), jongchul
  • Jong-Pil, jongpil
  • Jong-Su, jongsu
  • Jung-Hee, jeonghi
  • Jung-Hun (Jung-Hoon), jeonghun
  • Jung-Yeol, jung yeol
  • Ki-Hoon (Ki-Hun), kihun
  • Kwang-Ho, kuangho
  • Man-Su, mansu
  • Min-Ho, minho
  • Min-Ki, minki
  • Min-Kyu, minkiu
  • Min-Su, minsu
  • Sang-Ho, sangho
  • Sang-Ki, sangki
  • Sang-Kyu, sangkiu
  • Sang-Min, sangmin
  • Suk-Chul, sukchul
  • Sung-Uk, sung-uk
  • Yong-Su, youngsu
  • Young-Ho, young-ho
  • Young-Il, young-il
  • Young-Min, youngmin
  • Young-Su, youngsu

Mandarin (Chinese) First Names & Pronunciations

  • Chien, chee-en
  • Chiu, cheeoo
  • Di, dee
  • Du-Wah, doo wah
  • Fah, fah
  • Fong, fong
  • Jinho, rinho
  • Jong, rong
  • Ki, kee
  • Kwai, kwai
  • Lai-Ching, ly ching
  • Len, len
  • Li-Li, lee lee
  • Liang, lee ang
  • Li-Kung, lee kung
  • Lin, lin
  • Ling, ling
  • Li-Sheng, lee sheng
  • Mei, may
  • Riu, ree oo
  • Soon, suhn
  • Sung, sung
  • Wah-Tai, wah tahee
  • Wang, wang
  • Yung-Ling, yung leeng
  • Zhuo-Shing, choh sheeng

Thai First Names & Pronunciations

Female Names

  • Amporn, um-porn
  • Areya, ar-ree-ya
  • Budsaba, bud-sa-ba
  • Chompoo, chom-poo
  • Chompunut, chom-ou-nut
  • Duangrat, duang-rat
  • Intira, in-ti-ra
  • Jutharat, ju-ta-rat
  • Korrakoj, kor-ra-kod
  • Krittiga, krit-ti-ga
  • Nattaporn, nat-ta-porn
  • Nuntida, nun-ti-da
  • Orapan, or-ra-pun
  • Ornanong, on-a-nong
  • Patsaporn, pud-sa-porn
  • Pim, pim
  • Porntip, porn-tip
  • Pradtana, prad-ta-na
  • Premwadee, prem-wa-dee
  • Preyanutch, pre-ya-nut
  • Promporn, prom-porn
  • Sangrawee, sang-ra-wee
  • Sinee, si-nee
  • Sirirat, si-ri-rat
  • Sunisa, su-ni-sa
  • Suttida, soot-ti-da
  • Suwattanee, su-wat-ta-nee
  • Tidarat, to-da-rat
  • Utumporn, au-tum-porn
  • Vipada, wi-pa-da
  • Yada, ya-da

Male Names

  • Adirake, a-di-rake
  • Akkarat, aek-ka-rat
  • Chaowalit, chaow-wa-lit
  • Chayond, cha-yond
  • Chuan, chuan
  • Jettrin, jet-trin
  • Kiettisuk, kiet-ti-suk
  • Kittikorn, kit-ti-korn
  • Krit, krit
  • Ned, nade
  • Niwat, ni-wat
  • Nontawat, non-ta-wat
  • Pairote, pai-rote
  • Paradorn, pa-ra-dorn
  • Petch, petch
  • Pongrit, pong-rit
  • Pracha, pra-cha
  • Prakorb, pra-korb
  • Pramod, pra-mote
  • Prasopchai, pra-soap-chai
  • Sakchai, suk-chai
  • Sarawut, sa-ra-wut
  • Songpole, song-pole
  • Sunya, sun-ya
  • Surat, su-rat
  • Suttipong, sut-ti-pong
  • Thongchai, tong-chai
  • Tuksin, tuk-sin
  • Udom, au-dom
  • Vit, wit
  • Winai, wi-nai
  • Worrawut, wore-ra-wut

Vietnamese First Names & Pronunciations

  • Chi, chee
  • Cuc, kuk
  • Diem, yeeyim
  • Duc, duk
  • Dung, yuhng
  • Duong, yoong
  • Hanh, hahn
  • Ho, hoh
  • Hoa, hwa
  • Hong, howng
  • Hung, huhng
  • Lan, lahn
  • Liem, leeyim
  • Lien, leeyin
  • Loc, lowk
  • Mai, mah-ee
  • Minh, min
  • Nam, nahm
  • Nga, nga
  • Nguyet, nwyit
  • Pham, fam
  • Phu, foo
  • Thi, tee
  • Thien, teeyen
  • Tho, toy or tahoo
  • Thuy, twee
  • Tuan, twahn or twuhn
  • Tuyet, tweeyit
  • Viet, wee-et
  • Xuan, swuhn