On the Importance of a Name
According to the Bible, it is the almighty God who gave names to everything he created: "he named the light ‘Day' and the darkness ‘Night'". In fact, a name is a word or phrase that man uses to denote and identify a specific person, place or thing. There is no inexorable correlation between the sign and "the signified". For this reason, some claim that names are not so vital as they are supposed to be. However, I am fully convinced that they are of great importance.
Take the name of a person as an example. It is known to all that a person's name is divided into two parts: given name and surname. The given name is the name our parents assign us. We ourselves might change it later in our life. Usually, when a name is given, it contains a lot of information. Say, "li" in the name of some Chinese females shows that we wish them to "beautiful" while "wei" in the names of some males reveals that we expect them to be "great" in their future life.
As to the surname or family name, it is even more important, so important that some people may sacrifice their life for it. Originally, man had no such a name. But ever since a certain name was given, each member of the family carries it wherever he goes. Rather than merely a sign, it is the root from which we can trace back to our ancestor, the tie that helps bind us to other members of the same clan, the dignity most people hope to live for.
Apart from the name of a person, that of a place or thing is also significant in that it embodies history and culture. All in all, though names are assigned artificially, man is not free when giving names. But God is.
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