sábado, 10 de dezembro de 2011


"We all come into the world with a name - usually two names. Most people have a first name (given name) and a surname (last name or family name). That much is the same throughout most of the world. But actual names and naming customs are different in different cultures.

In Vietnam, as in many Asian countries, the order of names is the opposite of the order in North America and Europe. Vietnamese people put their family name first, then their middle name, and then their first name.

In the past, most European surnames identified a location (Atwood = near a forest), an occupation (Baker = person who makes bread), or a relationship (Johnson = John's son). Surnames in Scandinavian countries like Norway and Sweden usually provided information about relationships. For example, "sen" means "son of," so the last name Larsen meant "son of Lars."

Hispanic cultures often use two surnames. A child has the surname of both the mother and the father. For example, if the mother's surname was Garcia and the father's surname was Santiago, the child's surname would be Santiago Garcia.

Traditionally, women in North America take their husband's last name and drop their own (maiden) name, and their children have the father's surname only. But often now, women are either adding the man's last name after their own or they are just using their own last name. They then typically give their children both surnames. The child of Bill Smith and Cindy Jones might be Julie Jones-Smith.

Like language and religion, naming traditions are an important part of a person's cultural heritage. You can learn a lot about a person and their culture by learning about their names.

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