Hyphenate your name?

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

  1. moonshadow Registered Member

    Messages:
    6
    Why do most people google anything? Hmmmmm. Might be because they are interested,or want to know more about something they know little about.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

    Messages:
    12,461
    Well, obviously. The question was more along the lines of what made you interested in the subject of hyphenating your name.

    The first time I came to this site, for instance, I had googled Stargate after having seen a particulary good episode.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. moonshadow Registered Member

    Messages:
    6
    Read my posts.....the origin.the reasoning...everything you need to know in the first 2 posts..

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    Here's the original post.
     
  8. moonshadow Registered Member

    Messages:
    6
    Thank you Fraggle Rocker

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  9. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    23,049
    Mad here's a solution

    Move to Australia and bill her under her medicare number

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  10. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

    Messages:
    12,461
    Yeah, I remember reading it now. When she made the comment about having revived the thread after a google search I forgot about her earlier post.
     
  11. adk_cigno Registered Member

    Messages:
    1
    At the risk of being accused of beating a dead horse...
    I think that the issue with the hyphenation of a married woman's name is personal. Women will make their own decisions on this subject, and are warranted in doing so, particularly in the case of a professional history. I do, however, have a bit of a problem with the hyphenation (or double naming) of children. There are, clearly, a number of clerical and social confusions that are party to this issue, but I speak from personal experience as the wife of a hyphenated child (now adult). I am now a hyphenated wife with two names that do not "belong to me." I chose to take my husband's name for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that I guess I'm a little traditional at heart. I also changed my middle name to my maiden name, which (at least in the south) is a very common practice. The problem now is that many people, in fact most people, assume that I have decided to hyphenate, and thus that one of those names is my maiden name, when I was born with neither. This bothers me on several levels. One, it is a nuisance to be constantly explaining my name, both because people don't seem to know how to handle a hyphen, as this discussion has pointed out, and also because people assume they know my maiden name (and I think we all know what happens when you assume something). Two, though I chose to take my husband's name, this hyphenated name takes the removal of my own family name a step further. Let me see if I can explain. When someone meets Mrs. Smith, he or she might conclude that Smith is not this woman's maiden name. He or she would know that she has one, but not what it is. However, when someone meets Mrs. Smith-Jones, he or she may conclude that Smith (or Jones) is the woman's maiden name. If this is not the case, (as in my situation) it is almost as if the woman's identity is not merely unknown (as in the case of a single name) but erased and replaced by something else entirely. Maybe that seems melodramatic, but I think we know how emotional people are about their names and connections to them. I am perfectly okay with taking my husband's name and letting people know that we are a family, even though I do lose some outward expression of my birth name, but I don't like the idea of having it replaced with a wrong name. Does that make sense?
     
  12. bnjsaldua Registered Member

    Messages:
    1
    If 'Olivia Newton John' married Wayne Newton, but Wayne died so she married Elton John,
    would she change her name to: Olivia Newton John-Newton-John?!
     
  13. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    25,817
    I don't know why they hyphenate their name either. Just keep your own last name or not. My sister-in-law hyphenated her name because of professional reasons. She was a cashier at K-Mart :wallbang:
     
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    In some cultures it's the norm for children to inherit both parental surnames and to arrange them in a standard sequence. So everyone understands that Nobelist author Gabriel García Márquez's father was named García and his mother was named Márquez.

    But in cultures like ours that is not the norm. If a woman tells me her name is Jane Ross Smith, I will assume that Ross is her middle name, not that Ross and Smith are her parents' names, or her father's name combined with her husband's name, or whatever. She needs the hyphen to make it clear that her name should be alphabetized under R instead of S. We recognize foreign prepositions such as de and van as part of a surname, but otherwise we assume that the surname is the last discrete set of characters in the apellation.
    Maybe she felt that having a noble-looking name would make the other employees think she was just a rich girl doing a hands-on project for her PhD in anthropology at Wellesley.
     
  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    What about Gabriel Garcia Marquez' children?

    Wiki says he married Mercedes Barcha Pardo, and their children are named Rodrigo García Barcha, Gonzalo García Barcha.

    This still suggests a patrilineal naming system; the grandchildren omit the names of their grandmothers, but keep the names of their grandfathers.
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    Yes, each child is given only the first component of his father's compound surname and the first component of his mother's compound surname. Since the father's name always comes first, this indeed results in patrilineal naming. Not much of a surprise in Latin cultures!

    America has no traditions about naming, so women (or anyone else) who want to compound two surnames can do it any way they want. In fact, upon marriage, women have considerable leeway in renaming themselves without having to petition a judge to approve it. There is even considerable leeway in naming children: Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher could name their daughter Kesha Sawyer, Kesha Thatcher, Kesha Sawyer-Thatcher or Kesha Thatcher-Sawyer. (As I noted earlier, I strongly recommend the hyphen if you want your child to be alphabetized under a compound name, otherwise the first half is likely to be regarded as a middle name and she'll spend her whole life arguing with computers.)

    If you yearn for a society in which matronymics and matrilineal ancestor tracking are condoned and respected, Iceland is waiting for you. But if you stay here, they are at least permitted.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  17. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

    Messages:
    12,461
    Well, it might be alphabetized that way, if the person or computer program doing the filing knows that rule; but It's just as likely that it will be miss filed and lost forever.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  18. nothanks Registered Member

    Messages:
    1
    Technology and insurance companies: This is not a hard problem to fix. Get with it.

    People who think it's "pretentious" or stupid: This is not 1623. Keeping your name or hyphenating is not a big deal (cuz you know, men almost always "keep" their names) and it's a person's choice--or not, if they are given the names by their parents.

    /circa 2006 thread
     
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    I beg to differ. If your name is Shawanda Buffett Gomez, how can I, or my computer, possibly know whether Buffet is your middle name, or Buffett Gomez is your surname? Sure, we can maintain a database of all known surnames... and the next thing you know, people are christening their sons Washington Irving and their daughters Taylor Dayne. Their own children, as is typical in anglophone cultures, are given venerable old family names as middle names, and within the next generation or two we have Joseph Washington Irving and Amanda Taylor Dayne. There's no way for me or my computer to figure out how to parse that.

    Oh wait, there is. It's called the hyphen.

    Of course every culture is different. In Spanish-speaking countries it's frowned upon to use a surname as a Christian name; and it's common for children (especially male children) to be christened Christian name followed by father's surname followed by mother's surname with no hyphen; AND it's both customary and legal for the the two surnames to be parsed as a single name with an embedded space. So if you see Morales anywhere in the name of a person from Barcelona or Bogota, you can be sure it's part of his last name.

    In America and the rest of the anglophone world, we cannot make any of those assumptions. If you want to call yourself Patricia Taylor Jones, and you want both people and computers to regard T as the first letter of your surname, then you had better use the bloody hyphen. Either that or call yourself Patricia Jones Taylor!

    This is why most American women who change their name to their husband's surname (let's say Bigboy for this example) when they marry, but want to hang onto their maiden name (let's say Famousattorney for this example) so colleagues can recognize them, spell their new name in one of four ways:
    • Rebecca Bigboy Famousattorney
    • Rebecca Famousattorney-Bigboy (both of these result in them being collated under their maiden name
    • Rebecca Bigboy-Famousattorney
    • Rebecca Famousattorney Bigboy (both of these result in being collated under their husband's name)
    Certainly not these days, although it was much rarer in anglophone countries two or three generations ago. But in a culture that is both bureaucratized and (now) computerized, gigantic databases containing millions of names are common, and you appear in hundreds of them. Many of them are vital to your well-being, such as (in America) the Social Security database.

    It's now not just wise, but for all practical purposes (unless you're an influential billionaire) inescapable, that you have no choice but to conform to the conventions of our collation rules. The group of letters following the last space in your name will be regarded as your surname. Period. No exceptions. You can't argue with a zillion computers. Choose your battles wisely, and fight the ones that you have a realistic chance of winning. This is not one of them. (Yes there are exceptions. We recognize prefixes that are common in non-English names, such as De, Di, Van, Van Der, Von and Von Den, and some of our computers recognize those prefixes and collate them with the surname. But not all of them! I have a friend named Rip Van Winkle--name changed to protect the innocent--and his bank records all insist that he is Mr. Winkle.)

    When we got married in 1977, my wife dithered about how to write her new name. So she has received paychecks made out to Sweetiepie Oldname, Sweetipie Fraggle, Sweetiepie Fraggle Oldname, Sweetiepie Fraggle-Oldname, Sweetiepie Oldname Fraggle and Sweetiepie Oldname-Fraggle. When she turned 65 she filed for Social Security benefits. Does anyone want to guess how many times she had to go to the Social Security Administration office in person, how many different people she had to explain this to (from the beginning), and how many weeks, months or years it took before she got her first check?
    In Iceland it's the rule, rather than the exception, for women to keep their names after marriage. Back before the Sexual Revolution this was often a stumbling block for couples registering in hotels in less enlightened countries.

    It's also quite common in Iceland for women to be named matronymically: Solveig Kristinsdottir rather than Solveig Ericsdottir. Men who are the sons of prominent women often take a matronym: Jorgen Kristinsson rather than Jorgen Ericsson. The "modern" system of passing a surname down through multiple generations is starting to catch on in Iceland, especially if one is descended from a famous historical figure, but the old ways are still widely practiced.
    In some jurisdictions in the United States, marriage gives a woman an opportunity to completely change her name. If you're Suzy Smith and you marry John Jones, you don't necessarily have to become Suzy Jones (or Suzy Jones-Smith or any of the other permutations). You can become Suzy Flowerbud or Suzy Givepeaceachance. You could even become Moonbeam Harvest Celebration, if the judge is in the right mood.

    It's usually much harder for a man to take a new name, even just a surname. The judge wants to make sure you're not trying to escape from an old life and elude creditors or criminal charges, and he doesn't even want you to take a frivolous name, thinking (with some justification, to be fair) that you'll wake up one day and regret it.

    When legendary rock musician Frank Zappa's first son was born, he and his wife Gail named him Dweezil. Their other children are Moon, Ahmet and Diva, so this was not a passing fancy. The hospital refused to allow that name on one of their birth certificates, so the Zappas wrote Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa to give their recordkeepers a headache, and continued to call the boy Dweezil. When he turned five and began to read and to understand the world around him, he discovered that his name of record was not Dweezil, and demanded that this be rectified. The family hired a lawyer, the judge listened sympathetically to the boy's passionate argument, and changed his name.
     
  20. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    22,087
    Wish I had a von Den in my name. Could have been nice to be a tempestuous baron in a lighting-relief castle somewhere in a misbegotten reach of the Alps. One could ride horses and shoot peasants. I don't know.
     
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    Well... maybe pheasants, anyway.
     
  22. EmilyC-D Registered Member

    Messages:
    1
    First of all, it is not pretentious for someone to obtain two last names. For some people, the mother decided to keep their last name. Therefore, the kid gets both- legally this is what's appropriate. Secondly, you are doctors, so it shouldn't be that hard to understand you simply file the name under the FIRST letter that appears in the last name. You're obviously smart enough, so I call it lazy on your part to not file it properly and also lazy on your part to not educate the people who don't understand; just plain ignorance. This is the kind of judgment hat has us in this economic state. So, buck up and find some real problems to talk about.
     
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    In the USA there are several problems that bear on this issue.
    • The distinction between a surname and a given name in our population is not obvious. If a Spaniard is named Juan Pedro Molina, everyone knows that Pedro is a given name so that must be his middle name. Converselly if a Bolivian is named Jorge Acuña Guzman, everyone knows that Acuña is a surname so that must be the first half of his two-part last name. But if an American is named Loquatia Hoxha Dimitriadis we have no idea if any of those are given names or surnames, so we might alphabetize her under either H or D.
    • Furthermore, in America it's common for venerable old surnames to be given as middle names or even first names, to both boys and girls. Many people are given the complete names of historial figures as their first and middle names. So if you meet a man named George Washington Carver, is Washington his middle name, or is Washington Carver his two-part last name? I used to work with a fellow named Franklin Delano Roosevelt Green. I'm sure somewhere on the boundary between the Northern and Southern states there's a couple with roots on both sides of the Maxon-Dixon line who wryly named their son Thomas Jefferson Davis.
    • Therefore, in the USA, the only way to clearly identify a two-part last name is to hyphenate it. George Washington-Carver goes under W, but George Washington Carver is under C. Unfortunately this custom has not been established. Old British families with double-names usually hyphenate them, but new American families don't. As for women who combine their name with their husband's name: they have way too many things to think about during their wedding planning, to even realize that they have a choice to make regarding the hyphen.
    • Of course computer software makes this choice for us now, as it does in so many other areas. It works back from the final letter in the name until it hits a space, and defines that block of letters as your surname. If it encounters a hyphen it keeps going. It's that simple and it's easy to understand and remember, but it doesn't make a lot of people happy.
    • Of course these programs have all been given the logic to recognize common prefixes like Van, de, von, di, etc., and they include those in the surname, space and all. This is so ironic that it makes linguists laugh. In the countries where those names originate, the prefix is most often not counted when alphabetizing the name!
    I hope that now perhaps you will understand that it has nothing to do with laziness or ignorance. It has everything to do with convention, and since two-part surnames were rare in the USA until the 1960s and the civil-rights-for-women movement, we have never established a convention for writing and sorting them.
    Nonetheless as one of the oldest people here, I went to college when they didn't offer "remedial English" to incoming freshmen. If your reading, writing, speech and comprehension weren't at what we called "the high school graduate level" in those days, then the colleges simply told you to join a union and go get a lucrative blue-collar job. So I certainly join you in lamenting the trend toward illiteracy in my people. Today's average university graduate reads at what my generation called the sixth-grade level. And this is not a swipe at our expanding immigrant population, many of whom have better reading comprehension than some of my native anglophone brothers and sisters.

    Fortunately the Information Age is changing that. Americans spend half their time typing and reading messages, so their literacy level is rising--even if they have a new language called Texpeak that requires a lot of cutesy abbreviations. But unfortunately the spread of computers has ruined their numeracy. Today they can't make change for a dollar without a POS terminal.

    It's the latter phenomenon to which you refer, perhaps without realizing it. These people, who have no intuition regarding basic arithmetic, much less orders of magnitude, and goddess forbid anything to do with probabilities, have risen to positions of power, even within the financial sector. It was they who believed their own propaganda about the subprime mortgage and didn't recognize it as just the latest form of Ponzi Scheme. It was they who are responsible for the 2008 economic collapse. and they still don't know it!

    Regarding my comment on being completely flummoxed by probability, why else are they spending trillions of dollars to fight terrorism, which kills about the same number of Americans as peanut allergies, while almost ignoring the scourge of drunk driving, which kills fifty times as many of us and would be much cheaper to address? (Install a breathalyzer igntion interlock in every car at the factory.)
    Hey hey, this is the Linguistics subforum after all. This is what qualifies as a "real problem" over here. If you want to talk about the threats of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, global warming and nuclear holy war, we've got other subfora for all of that stuff. People come here to sit with their dogs in their laps, munch on chocolates, listen to Mozart or Sheryl Crow, and argue about the role of the pluperfect subjunctive. (And please don't share the chocolates with the dogs. Theobromine is an elixir for humans but it's poisonous to dogs and occasionally kills one.)
     

Share This Page