Saigoneer

BackArts & Culture » Culture » Infographic: The Most Popular Vietnamese Surnames

Infographic: The Most Popular Vietnamese Surnames

As Australia knows firsthand, the Nguyen surname is the most common among Vietnamese. But how does it stack up against others like Trấn, Lê and Phạm? One Vietnam put together a nifty infographic showing the distribution of Vietnamese last names and provided a bit of context as well:

The domination of the surname Nguyen is easily explained as it was Vietnam’s last dynastic family who were in power from 1802 (when Emporer Gia Long defeated the Tay Son Dynasty) to 1945 (when Bao Dai abdicated the throne). Like the mass religious conversions of Europe, many took the Nguyen name to avoid persecution.

A few last names have slight variations on account of their Chinese roots. Huynh and Hoang and Vu and Vo each share the same root but have taken different evolutionary paths due to geography:

“It is similar to how Chan and Chen are spelt differently depending on where the person is from in China.  Try saying Huynh and Hoang out loud; you can see how they might have evolved from the same name.”

On a similar note, there’s an active thread on Reddit where users match Vietnamese surnames to the corresponding Chinese characters. Here are some examples:

Nguyen = Ruan (阮)

Vuong = Wang (王)

Giang = Jiang (江)

Pham = Fan (范)

Huynh = Hoang (黃)

Ly = Li or Lee e.g. Bruce Lee (李)

Dinh = Ding (丁)

Van = Wen (文)

Hoa = Hua (花)

Lam = Lin (林)

Of course, these are direct translations. Nguyens are not necessarily related to Ruans (though they certainly could be) but rather, they share the same simplified Chinese characters.

 

[One Vietnam // Image via Khánh Hmoong]

Related Articles

in Culture

10 Incredible Churches in Nam Dinh

While they get the most attention, the Cathedrals in Saigon and Hanoi pale in comparison with Nam Dinh’s. Not only does the province boast this magnificent architectural specimen, but also a plethora ...

in Culture

10 Incredible Photos Of Life On Hanoi's Train Tracks

Traffic in Vietnam is crazy but the train tracks that skirt through Hanoi’s residential areas reach levels of insanity.

in Culture

10 Photos Of The Amazing Vietnamese Spider-Men

While some Vietnamese cities have begun to move their tangled nests of electricity wires underground, they are still a ubiquitous feature of many urban neighborhoods.

in Culture

12 Of Saigon’s Best Parks And Open Spaces – Part 1

Though Saigon has lost quite a bit of its verdant luster over the years, there are still patches of green throughout the city that are worth checking out. Vietnam Coracle has made a handy guide to som...

in Culture

14 Incredible Satellite Photos Of Vietnam

There are plenty of hi-tech ways to show Vietnam’s beauty – time lapses and drone panoramas to name a few. But a less common vantage point is from above. Way above.

in Culture

15 Amazing Moments Captured On Vietnam’s Streets

In Vietnamese cities, streets are where life happens. With few parks available to the country’s urban masses, they serve as everything from entertainment venues to wedding halls to restaurants. They a...