On surnames

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Tony.Williams
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On surnames

Post by Tony.Williams » Wed May 22, 2019 11:31 am

A social issue that mildly intrigues me, although it might be too soon for this to arise, concerns the current fashion for surnames to be combined when people marry. What happens in the next generation, when (say) a Smith-Jones and a Grey-Green get married? Do they lump them all together to form a quadruple name (seems a tad cumbersome) or settle on something like Smith-Green or Grey-Jones? I see possibilities for lots of emotional debates....

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chaggle
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Re: On surnames

Post by chaggle » Wed May 22, 2019 12:15 pm

Interesting. I suspect people will simply choose which combination they wish to use.

In Spanish culture each person has two surnames - the first one being the paternal surname and the second maternal. Spanish women do not change their surnames when they marry. Their children adopt both of their parents' paternal names. A consequence of this is that both parents and the children have different surnames.

For instance if Pedro Zapatero Rodriguez married Maria Riquelme Garcia and they had a child the child's surname would be Zapatero Riquelme.

So although the mother's name is propagated downwards, only the paternal (first) part is.

There was a proposal to change this in the interest of 'equality' and have the child's surnames in alphabetic order so the mother's name would have an equal chance of surviving. However this would ultimately mean that all names would begin with A - so I think that proposal was dropped.

Spanish names are often shortened and nicknames abound.

In particular names following Juan are often shortened and added on - so - Juan Luis would become Juanlu, Juan Rafael - Juanra and Juan Felipe - Juanfe.

This however did not happen with the previous king, Juan Carlos. :D
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con

Tony.Williams
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Re: On surnames

Post by Tony.Williams » Wed May 22, 2019 3:09 pm

Interesting indeed - I didn't know any of that!

The Icelanders of course just add -son or -dottir to the father's name so as in the UK the mother's name disappears. It has occurred to me before that it would be fairer if, say, male children took the father's surname and females the mother's (although I suppose this would now trip up where same-sex marriages are concerned).

I wonder how the dynamics of our social history might have changed if the children also used their mother's surname; quite logical from one viewpoint, given that the mother's identity is certain, the father's not so much (recent DNA analyses have revealed that as many as 30% of children call the wrong man "daddy"). All of that male testosterone-driven "family name" drive would lose its force; perhaps our history would have been more peaceful?

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