Pip & Estella

Hypothetically speaking, in a rewritten Chinese version of Great Expectations which takes place in modern China, Estella’s name should definitely be 冰冰. But what about Pip? Suggestions welcome! (His name in the typical Chinese translation is 匹普, which is horrible, and we’re certainly not using.)


(I will neither confirm nor deny that this question is related to Mandarin Companion‘s next release, which may or may not be the first Level 2 book.)


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Hey, I left this question on the earlier Mandarin Companion post, but since it was an old post, I thought it might’ve gotten lost, so, begging your pardon for the repetition, I’ll ask again:

    Is there a publicly available list of the 300 characters you use for your books? It might be helpful for beginning students, as a guide to what to learn.


    • Stephen,

      Sorry for missing your earlier question!

      There is no publicly published list, and the main reason is that we’re actually making tiny tweaks to the Level 1 list based on the new books we write and on the Level 2 and Level 3 lists (still in development).

  2. Nancy Wang Says: August 13, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Yay Level 2!!

  3. Hi John. This is not an answer to your question. I thought you might be interested in a relatively recent (free) Chinese frequency list resource based on subtitle corpora, SUBTLEX-CH: http://www.expsy.ugent.be/subtlex-ch/

    There is also an accompanying Plos One article posted there giving some background.

    A separate recent study pitting several frequency lists against each other showed the contextual diversity version of SUBTLEX-CH had a slight edge over some of the other popular frequency lists such as Jun Da’s and the frequency dictionary by Xiao and McEnery, though it’s more notable that all of these lists performed better than some of the older resources. (That article is: Wei Ping Sze & Susan J. Rickard Liow & Melvin J. Yap (2014) The Chinese Lexicon Project: A repository of lexical decision behavioral responses for 2,500 Chinese characters. Behavior Research Methods
    March 2014, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 263-273. It may not be publicly available, but you can see the abstract which provides the most important information.)

  4. So 普普 is out of the question?

  5. 小毕

  6. Going by the images Pip should be 宝强.

  7. Pip is Philip is 腓力 (?), so how about something based on 腓?


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