The naming customs of Taiwanese aborigines are distinct from, though influenced by, the majority Han Chinese culture of Taiwan. Prior to contact with Han Chinese, the Taiwanese aborigines named themselves according to each tribe's tradition. The naming system varies greatly depending on the particular tribes. Some tribes do not have family names, at least as part of the personal name.
Under the strong influence of Chinese culture and forces of cultural assimilation brought by Han settlers in the 17th century, the aborigines have gradually adopted Han names. In the 17th and 18th centuries, possession of a Han surname was considered to be a sign of being civilized, in part because adoption of a Han surname meant that that person was now entered into the population registration books and could be taxed. Upon possessing a Han surname, most of the lowland aboriginal tribes assimilated with the Han immigrants, and eventually no longer saw themselves or were seen as a distinct population.
The handful of highland tribes generally kept separate names until after World War II when the government systematically assigned Han names to indigenous Taiwanese. Aborigines settled near Hakka communities were sometimes assigned Hakka-like family names. For instance, aboriginal pop singer A-mei (張惠妹) may have a name with Hakka characteristics.
For a few decades in the first half of the 20th century under Japanese rule, a strict policy was put in place to quickly assimilate the island's inhabitants en masse by instituting Japanese names. These names were generally abandoned in Taiwan after 1945 when Japanese rule ended.
In the last two decades some aborigines have again taken up traditional names or chosen to emphasize them. However, few have abandoned their Han names, in part because the Austronesian names are difficult for non-aboriginals to remember or pronounce. As a legacy of the anti-romanisation policy of the past, even these names are often written in Chinese characters to mimic their native sounds, even though Formosan languages are typically written in the Latin alphabet.
The naming rules of Taiwanese aborigines:
|Amis||Personal name + Patronymic/Matronymic name + Clan name
Personal name + Clan name
Personal name + Patronymic/Matronymic name
|Ado' Kaliting Pacidal（阿洛·卡立亭·巴奇辣）
Mayaw Ciro （陳鏞基）
|Part of the tribe omit patronymic/matronymic name,
directly connected clan name.
Unable to visit the clan of the tribe,
that alone is connected patronymic/matronymic name.
|Saisiyat||Given name + Patronymic name + Clan name||Tahas Tain Kaybaybaw（打赫史·達印·改擺刨）|
|Bunun||Given name + Clan name||Yohani Isqaqavut（尤哈尼·伊斯卡卡夫特）|
|Tsou||Given name + Clan name||Uyongu Yata'uyungana（高一生）|
|Kavalan||Given name + Clan name||Baqah Siqeyu（潘金榮）|
|Thao||Given name + Clan name||Kilash Shiqatafatu（石阿松）|
|Atayal||Given name + Patronymic name||Yungai hayung（溫嵐）|
|Sediq||Given name + Patronymic name||Mona Rudao（莫那·魯道）|
|Truku||Given name + Patronymic name||Bokeh Kosang（徐詣帆）|
|Paiwan||Given name + House name||Uliw Qaljupayare（簡東明）|
|Rukai||Given name + House name||Taiban Sasala（台邦·撒沙勒）
|Puyuma||Given name + House name||Paelabang danapan（孫大川）|
|Yami||Si + given name
Si aman + firstborn name (father)
Si nan + firstborn name (mother)
Si apen + firstborn names (grandparents)
Si aman Rapongan（夏曼·藍波安）
Si nan Mavivo (希婻‧瑪飛洑; 賴美惠)
Si apen Sorong（謝加仁）
These names are mostly male names and they belong to Taiwanese people of the past one to two hundred years. Most of these are not Taiwanese names and are indistinguishable from Chinese names.