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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Qinglan

Number of Babies Named Qinglan

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Qinglan

How to Pronounce Chinese Names – Qinglan, Xiaolan

Yesterday’s post had to do with Chinese baby names, and Chinese New Year is coming up this weekend, so I thought today would be the perfect day to talk about how to pronounce Chinese names.

If you’re totally unfamiliar with Chinese names, here are the two biggest tips I can give you:

  • In Chinese, the letter Q sounds a lot like “ch.”
  • In Chinese, the letter X sounds a lot like “sh.”

Of course those aren’t the exact sounds — the Chinese Q and X don’t have equivalent sounds in English — but “ch” and “sh” are close. Wikipedia’s explanation, on the pinyin page, is a bit better:

  • Q is like the sound in the middle of “punch yourself.”
  • X is like the sound in the middle of “push yourself.”

To hear the exact sounds of Q and X, listen to a few of the audio files at the Mandarin Chinese Phonetics Table.

Now let’s try some names.

One of yesterday’s names was the female name Qinglan. Because Q sounds like “ch,” the pronunciation is similar to ching lan. (The a-sound in the second syllable is like the a-sound in “father.”)

None of yesterday’s names had a X, so let’s use Xiaolan. (This happens to be the Chinese name of Elaine Chao, 24th U.S. Secretary of Labor.) The X sounds like “sh” or “shy,” so the pronunciation is shyau lan.

Here are a few more Chinese names featuring the letters Q and X. The pinyin transcriptions are followed by my own approximate phonetic pronunciations, in italics. (If you’re a Mandarin speaker and can suggest more accurate pronunciations, I’d appreciate it!)

Qiaoping, chyau ping
Qinghua, ching hwa
Weiqiong, way chyong
Xiaoping, shyau ping
Xinghua, shing hwa
Weixiong, way shyong

What other Chinese names do you have a hard time pronouncing?

Chinese Baby Names Created from Location Names

Last week, I read about a Chinese woman named Lyu Yuanfang who gave birth on January 30 in Beijing. (The birth was newsworthy because Lyu, who has the neurodegenerative disease ALS, is believed to be the first ALS sufferer to give birth in China.)

Lyu and her husband, Luo Zhongmu, named the baby boy Guilong. Here’s how Luo explained the name:

‘Gui’ is another name for my hometown in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and ‘long’ represents my wife’s home province of Gansu.

I really like this formula — a combination of two locations (each of which, in this case, represents a parent).

And I’ve come across other Chinese names that follow the same formula.

One is Yinhua, the name of the baby born in 1942 to Indian physician Dwarkanath Kotnis and his wife, Chinese nurse Guo Qinglan. Guo talks about naming Yinhua in her memoir:

Kotnis asked me excitedly: Qinglan, tell me, what should we name him? I answered laughingly: Commander Nie is very considerate to us; it’s better if we request him to give the child a name.

When Commander Nie Rongzhen got to know about this happy news, he happily named the child Yinhua who had the blood of both the Indian and Chinese nations in his veins, symbolizing the friendship of the two nations. Yin stands for India, and Hua for China or flower [if pronounced in first or the parallel tone], therefore, when joined together it means either India and China or the Flower of India.

Two more I know of both happen to be Zhongde, which is written with the Chinese characters for “China” and “Germany.”

One was born after the devastating 2008 Sichuan earthquake, in a field hospital set up jointly by the Chinese Red Cross and the German Red Cross in the city of Dujiangyan. His mom, Liu Dongmei, named him Xie Zhongde, which means “Thank you, China and Germany.”

The other I found in an essay about a a Baltic-German physician named Roger Baron Budberg (1867-1926) who moved to Manchuria as an adult. In 1907, at the age of 40, Budberg married a 14-year-old Chinese orphan named Li Yuzhen.

In March 1910, Li Yuzhen gave birth to a daughter, who received the name Zhong-De Hua, meaning “Chinese-German flower”. Despite the radical choices he had made, Baron Budberg’s identity as a German aristocrat had always remained central to him; his daughter’s Chinese name defined her as the fruit (the “flower”) of the union of what he clearly regarded as the two great traditions that together gave meaning to his life.

As an adult, Zhong-De Hua moved to Belgium and went by the name Antoinette Cecile.

Do you know of any other Chinese baby names made up of a combination of locations?


  • ALS Patient Gives Birth to Baby Boy
  • China quake babies bring joy
  • Gamsa, Mark. “China as Seen and Imagined by Roger Baron Budberg, a Baltic Physician in Manchuria.” Eastwards: Western Views on East Asian Culture. Ed. Frank Kraushaar. Bern: Peter Lang, 2010. 23-35.
  • Guo, Qinglan, Baojun Xu and B. R. Deepak. My Life with Kotnis. New Delhi: Manak Publications, 2006.

P.S. Wondering how to pronounce Chinese names?