Hyphenate your name?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by madanthonywayne, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Women used to keep their maiden names as middle names, without the hyphen. Some were named at birth with their mother's maiden name as a middle name.

    There's a Merriwether Post Pavilion around here where concerts are held, named after Marjorie Merriwether Post. Her father was C.W. Post, the millionaire who founded Post Cereals, and she inherited the company at 27 when he died in 1914. She didn't really want to give up that identity, so as she married and divorced a string of husbands she kept concatenating their names, dying in 1975 as Marjorie Merriwether Post Close Hutton Davies May. Yes, that E.F. Hutton, she was worth $250 million and her ten-acre estate in the toniest part of Washington DC is now a museum surrounded by a park.

    But when you use a hyphen to concatenate two names, it becomes one and it will be alphabetized according to the first one. Therefore it's customary to put the married name first. If Suzie Smith marries Bobby Jones, she will generally prefer to be known as Suzie Smith Jones or Suzie Jones-Smith, so she can be found under her husband's name in the public records and the social register.

    For your husband's former wife to call herself Suzie Smith-Jones, putting her maiden name first so it alphabetizes that way, is an insult to your husband's name and to your husband. Especially since she never used that name when she was married to him. I think you should both be aware of that. It's like saying, "Look at the trophy I picked up and then threw away when I got tired of it." If she's already had it changed legally it's probably too late to complain. If not, see a lawyer and perhaps you can get an injunction. But it will be difficult since in America people generally have the right to call themselves anything they want so long as it's not for a fraudulent purpose.

    In Spanish-speaking countries, they don't use the hyphen. It's customary to put your father's name first and everybody just knows that. Nobel prizewinning Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez, the dean of the "magic realism" movement, is often called "Mr. Márquez" in the American press, when he is actually Mr. García.
     
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  3. moonshadow Registered Member

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    My husband brought it to my attention.I never really put much thought into it before that.He was somewhat baffled by it...They did have a child together...but I think she's doing it for other reasons other than for the sake of the child.Maybe for some sort of "social status". I think it's wrong..Not because of the fact that they were once married,but just the ethics of it.It's pointless to me.Guess it means something to her.She and my husband don't have alot of communication,so he's not too comfortable asking her. I was just trying to get some sort of understanding of a possible reason.Thanks for your input.We will consider consulting an attorney.But I'm afraid it will be far more trouble than it's worth.

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  5. shorty_37 Go! Canada Go! Registered Senior Member

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    I hate when women do that too. If you are going to get married be prepared to lose your old name and take on your husbands.
     
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    It seems like an increasingly archaic convention. These days virtually all women have credit accounts and employee records in their own names, which despite (or perhaps because of) computerization often leave bits of trouble when they're changed. My wife, at age 60+ and after 25+ years of marriage, was sent an indignant letter by the IRS informing her that the name on her tax return--a name she had used since our wedding--was not the name of the owner of the Social Security Number she was using. You would not believe what the too-big-for-its-britches government and its shit-for-brains civil "servants" put her through, first to prove that she was indeed herself, and second to correct the error. Ever try to find your marriage certificate when you've been married for literally half your life?

    More commonly, women have their own businesses and their own professional contacts, as well as contracts, advertising, and articles written about them. Considering how difficult it is to change your phone number and make sure everybody who needs the new one gets it, how difficult is it to tell those people that you've changed your name?

    Also common, though unfortunate, is the reality that a huge segment of the female population will marry more than once. I would imagine that going through the rigmarole of a name change the second or third time is enough to make a woman question the importance of marriage. Considering the additional reality that after a divorce most children stay with their mothers, it's downright stupid that each new batch has a different surname. Perhaps it's time for a matronymic naming system.

    Most importantly, in this post-feminist era, why in the goddess's name should a woman have to give up her surname when she gets married, but a man does not? If she wants to, well hey sure go for it; nothing wrong with a quaint little touch of tradition. But I've seen some sweet alternatives, including both spouses adopting the hyphenated name (must be some interesting discussions over whose goes first

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    ), and both spouses adopting a new surname they made up, to honor their joint entry into a new phase of their life.

    I've also seen both spouses retain their original surname without a hassle. As one woman put it, "Which man's surname do you want anyway, your father's or your husband's? Why can't you have your mother's?"

    In Iceland, people can take their father's name, their mother's name, or both. And it really is their father's or mother's name. They don't have surnames. They have names like Guðrún Mínervudóttir (Guðrún daughter of Minerva) and Heiðar Helguson (Heiðar son of Helga).
     
  8. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    Just don't change the fuckin name. Don't get Married. Let the kids pick their own second name when they are like 5 or something. I would have gone with something greek like "Kurpopolous". That's at least as annoying as those big hyphenated tongue twisters.

    I guess I'm on the outside looking in on this. It's all ego.
     
  9. lucifers angel same shit, differant day!! Registered Senior Member

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    i've got a hyphenated name!

    and so has my daughter and oldest son!!

    the reason being, because i didnt want my family name to die when i got married! my sister didnt want to keep it so i did!
     
  10. shorty_37 Go! Canada Go! Registered Senior Member

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    LOL HAHA........

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    (sorry inside joke)
     
  11. Cardin Registered Senior Member

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  12. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    Really? That's what my wife did. I thought she'd come up with that idea on her own.
    I don't think most women know that. I don't think I've ever seen a woman hyphenate the way you describe. It would work a lot better, as we could then find the damned charts in the same place as the rest of the family.

    PS Who resurrected this old thread?
     
  13. lucifers angel same shit, differant day!! Registered Senior Member

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    i have got hyphenated name and so has my daughter and oldest son, and we dont get any problems with it? perhaps you should all be looking at the people who work in offices who do the filing
     
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I haven't traced the history of the practice but the name of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning popped into my head. I looked her up and verified that Barrett is her maiden name and she subordinated it to her husband's name about 150 years ago.
    Well maybe I'm wrong then, sorry. It's been decades since anyone I knew did it and I can't remember any names to Google. Besides, that might have been an iconoclastic practice from the feminist era.
    That's for sure, but as I said it would be better if women retained their maiden names (as they do in Iceland) and their children took their surnames, since statistically they're more likely to remain with their mothers after the (statistically common if not >50% probable) divorce.
    MoonShadow did it. But she had a question that wasn't answered in the original discussion. Still, I need to keep an eye on this so others don't pop in and repeat what's already been said. Moderating Linguistics is rather easy since we don't get as much traffic as Human Science or World Events, so I'd better do a really good job of it.

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    Okay, so you're the experimental data point. Which name comes first? These days the records are virtual so you have to blame the programmers who wrote the sort algorithms.
     
  15. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    I think that is the best way to handle it. Just add the husband's name to the end, no hyphen. Hyphenated names are a pain in the ass even to pronounce.
    Hmm. I wonder if that's it. Maybe they switched the order back in the sixties to show how independent they were.
    I don't think that idea will ever catch on. You might notice that most women who have children by multiple men seem to give each child the last name of the various fathers despite the fact that she was never married to the any of them.

    One of my offices used to be on the South side of Chicago. Often times the only way you could tell that a bunch of patients coming in were in the same family was by the phone number. They all had different last names.

    I think women do it to emphasize to the man his relationship/responsibiliity to the child. Raising a child is a lot of work and is an expensive process. Unlike women, men have the option of skipping out and avoiding responsibility. When the child(ren) have the man's name, he's probably much more apt to take responsibility for them.
     
  16. CutsieMarie89 Zen Registered Senior Member

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    My mother kept her maiden name and just added my fathers last name to hers. That way everything that she had in her name before they were married which wasn't much she could still be identified. She goes by both, but she just has to remember what name is used where and she usually does. I don't plan on getting rid of my name, I don't see why I should. Children should take there mother's name anyway because you always know who the mother is but the father is anybody's guess.
     
  17. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    In the information age, I am surprised to learn that computer technology has not solved the "I can't find the file for Mrs Gozer-Gozarian" problem. Sure the answer is an electronic index that has her listed in multiple locations in the database and will tell you under what name her charts are physically filed.
     
  18. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    Most doctor's offices still have paper charts. They might do the billing electronically, but the actual exam is put down on paper.
    Which is exactly why the children should carry the father's name if you expect him to support them.
     
  19. CutsieMarie89 Zen Registered Senior Member

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    Carrying someone's name doesn't make them stick around. If your father hits the road and becomes a dead beat then having his name won't make him feel inclined to connect with you.
     
  20. moonshadow Registered Member

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    Sorry to have "dug up old bones" ie resurrected! I simply googled the words,_hyphenated names_ and this is where it led me.Since it's new to me,I'm finding the responses and comments quite interesting

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  21. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    Interesting. Why did you google "hyphenated names"?
     
  22. lucifers angel same shit, differant day!! Registered Senior Member

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    my husbands name comes first, and no one has problems with it, i make sure that people know that they have made a mistake (on the odd occassion it does happen) and they correct it!
     
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Unfortunately we're a long way from software technology being as reliable as plumbing technology. (If your toilet worked as well as Windows you'd run from the room carrying a plunger every time you flushed it.) You can do most of a plumbing project by walking into a store and picking your components out of a parts bin. On a software project you have to custom-build all the modules, even if a thousand other software engineers have needed modules that perform the same function. If you need a module that can find a name regardless of whether it's a surname, a middle name, or either component in a hyphenated name, you have to:
    • Write and review the specifications,
    • Design and review the end-user interface (menus, commands, mouse clicks, PF keys, scrolling, display format, etc.),
    • Design and review the logic,
    • Create test data that covers every possible combination of live data (not just every combination you can think of),
    • Unit-test the module,
    • Integration-test the whole system,
    • And finally let the end users test it to see if they can understand it.
    This is equivalent to having to build every fitting in your plumbing by alloying the metal, rolling the pipe to the right diameter, measuring and cutting it to the right length, bending it to the right curvature, flaring the ends as needed, and cutting the threads. All the while hoping that you're accurate enough that the pieces fit together. Imagine how hard it would be to get anything built right! Software usually fails due to incomplete or inconsistent specifications, incomplete test data, end users saying, "I know that's what I asked for but it's not what I wanted," and programmers spread too thin by still fixing the bugs in the last system they (or worse yet, somebody else) built.

    Every patient-identification system has a name-lookup function, but software functions don't yet fit together in a uniform standard way like plumbing elbows, so each one has to be custom alloyed, rolled, measured, cut, flared, threaded, and fitted.

    We call it "software engineering" but it's really a medieval guild craft (at best) or a black art (at worst). It took centuries for standards and modularity to emerge in plumbing, and the same fate awaits software.
    Yes, there was a rock song a couple of years ago with the line, "All my daddy left me was his name." I think it was by Puddle of Mudd.
     

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