Monday, September 18, 2006

Gymnastics with Onomastics

How different languages and cultures form names

Structure of names
There are many different ways a culture can structure a name, and the people who speak your language may use any of the following, or a different way besides:
[given name] - Jeffrey
[given name] [family name] - Jeffrey Henning (American)
[family name] [given name] - Mao Ze-Dong (Chinese)
[given name] [home town's name] - John Zamoyski (Polish, from town of Zamosc; toponymic)
[given name] [occupation name] - John Smith (English)
[given name] [maiden name] [husband's family name] - Karen Flynn Henning (American)
[given name] [middle name] [family name] - Jeffrey Alan Henning (American)
[given name] [middle name] [confirmation name] [family name] - Karen Lee Kristina Flynn (Catholic Irish)
[given name] [family name] [occupation name] - Mark Jones-the-petrol (Welsh)
[given name] [son of] [father's name] - Bjørnstjerne Bjórnson (Norse)
[given name] [daughter of] [father's name] - Vigdís Finnbogadøttir (Norse)
[given name] [father's name + "child of"] [family name] - Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (Russian)
[given name] [middle name] [maternal grandfather's family name] [paternal grandmother's family name] [paternal grandfather's family name] -- Eliana Marcia Villela Gomes Soares (Brazilian)
[given name] [middle name] [maternal grandfather's family name] [paternal grandfather's family name] [husband's mother's name] [husband's father's name] -- Maria Beatriz Villela Soares Veiga de Carualho (Brazilian)
[given name] [father's family name] y [mother's family name] - José Aguilar y Fernández (Spanish)
[given name] [father's family name] de [husband's father's name] - María Álvarez de Aguilar (Spanish)
[given name] ["father of" eldest son]
[given name] [father's given name] - Tafari Makonnen (Amharic)

Forming names of nations
Many groups of people (races and nations) see themselves as "the people" of the world. If they are isolated from other tribes or realms, they are even more likely to name themselves "the people", as the Innuit (Eskimos), the Bantu (an African tribe) and the Illeni Indians (for whom Illinois is named) did. The Chinese were chauvinistic about it; their name is derived from the dynasty of Chin, with Chin being the word for "man".

The more different realms a group of people are aware of the more likely they are to name themselves after the place where they live: the Canadians live in Canada, the English live in England, the Germans live in Germany. But the Jews live in Israel (the name of one of their greatest ancestors).


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