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December 4, 2015 6:59 pm  #41


Re: Questions about the English language

And it's not just men! http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png

 

December 4, 2015 7:13 pm  #42


Re: Questions about the English language

Liberty wrote:

And it's not just men! http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png

Which is apparent from Sarah's reaction when she overhears John (which I love, btw!). 

Although that reaction makes it even odder that he had to sleep on the sofa... sorry, lilo!


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December 4, 2015 7:52 pm  #43


Re: Questions about the English language

No, certainly not just men.  I apologize for being hetronormative.  *giggle*


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December 4, 2015 8:04 pm  #44


Re: Questions about the English language

Well I was with you Tonnaree and it was one thing I never wanted!

Incidentally, I see Sarah as being coquettish but not 'easy'!


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January 21, 2016 7:59 pm  #45


Re: Questions about the English language

This isn't so much a question about English language as it is about English culture. (Not sure if this relates more to UK or US English culture).

Is it more or less a rule that everybody have a middle name? I've heard questions like "What's your middle name?" as if everyone has one. Sherlock has several names, and John has a middle name. (In tv-series I feel it's often a source of poking fun at people's often weird or funny middle name).

And, of course, both Ben and Martin have like three names each! 

It's normal in Norway with two names (where often the second name won't be a "middle name" but part of your first name. So if your name is, say "Anne Christine", that is what most people would call you, not just "Anne").

I myself have only one name, and I know many who do. Three names are very rare in Norway and is mostly considered "white trash" for those who try to be posher than they are. And even though many people have two names, just as many have only one.

Is it a given that you always give a child a middle name in England? Or US?


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January 21, 2016 8:01 pm  #46


Re: Questions about the English language

No, it' just that some people do and official bodies need to know it, if you have one!


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January 21, 2016 8:07 pm  #47


Re: Questions about the English language

Yeah, same in Norway - all names have to be registered. It's just that the term "middle name" isn't that much used in Norway. Usually you have only one name, or you have two and in most cases both first names are used.


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January 21, 2016 8:19 pm  #48


Re: Questions about the English language

In the US you certainly don't have to have a middle name, but most of the people I know have one.  It's strictly up to the parents.  But yes, if you have one it can be important on official documents.

I see this as gradually changing as we have more and more people born here with parents from different countries and cultures.


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January 21, 2016 8:26 pm  #49


Re: Questions about the English language

I think what fascinates me the most about this concept it that it seems most English-speaking people have a "hidden" name. A name never used or referred to, it's just there. And it's more or less a norm for everyone to have one.

It does happen in Norway too. Both my mum and my aunt (her sister) have a second name they never use. But it's not the norm in Norway as it seems to be in English-speaking countries. And the only people who can get away with giving their children three names in Norway are the royal family!


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January 21, 2016 8:28 pm  #50


Re: Questions about the English language

We're all posh here. Tee Hee.
Incidentally, I am the only one in my birth family who has a middle name.
But hubby and I both have them and insisted on our kids having them!


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January 21, 2016 8:31 pm  #51


Re: Questions about the English language

Both my brotheres have two names, but they aren't middle names. The two names ARE their names, and they are both used. 

I only have one name, but that is because my parents needed to get me baptized urgently at the hospital as I was in chance of dying of my heart condition so they didn't have the time to find my second name (yes, even my bapticism was drama queen style http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/tongue.png
 ).

Last edited by Vhanja (January 21, 2016 8:31 pm)


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January 21, 2016 8:40 pm  #52


Re: Questions about the English language

Fascinating! I have had the same observations as you about English and American names, Vhanja! 

I have a middle name... and I never really use it. I only use it for official papers and on Facebook because without my middle name I have one of the most common name combinations in Denmark. 
I actually get offended if a stranger sees my official name and assumes my first and middle name are all my front name, or even assumes I go by my middle name. 

Recently there has started a culture here in Denmark where children get one parent's lastname as their middle name; to solve the issue when parents aren't married, or get married but both parents keep their own names... That's not the case with me... I got my middle name after a song bird mum heard the first time that year when she realized she was pregnant with me. 

 


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January 21, 2016 8:44 pm  #53


Re: Questions about the English language

Ah, you have a -sen surname too? http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png


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January 21, 2016 8:46 pm  #54


Re: Questions about the English language

My story is this: it was my Dad's turn to name the child
His favourite poet is Robert Burns and Dad wanted to call me Jean after Burns' wife.
But Mum said Jean Taylor was too common.
So she said he could have Jean, as long as she could stick Beverley in front of it.
The biggest irony being I spent most of my life hating the name Beverley and always wishing I'd just been Jean.
But I've kind of got used to the name Beverley over the years.
Not that anybody ever calls me it.
I am almost universally Bev.

Last edited by besleybean (January 21, 2016 8:47 pm)


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January 21, 2016 8:53 pm  #55


Re: Questions about the English language

Yup, Vhanja, no exotic names for me! (other than my first name... I am named after a Goya painting)... My mum who really isn't poetic gave me one of the most poetic names ever. *rolls eyes* 

BB, your story reminds me of my mum's! Her dad insisted on a first name and allowed her mum to pick the rest of it... my mum HATED her first name and no one ever called her by it... she never reacted to it. When she was in her 50s, she actually changed it legally. 

Then there's my friend... she's changed her entire name, only keeping one last name. She has 5 names in total, and wants to add a 6th. That's considered posh here. 


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January 21, 2016 8:55 pm  #56


Re: Questions about the English language

The -sen (son of) surname is a very Scandinavian tradition, and I think we should be proud of it. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/smile.png


Looks like we all have interesting naming stories!


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January 21, 2016 9:55 pm  #57


Re: Questions about the English language

My turn to pipe in! I don't know if my story regarding this is as interesting or as fun as your stories. but anyway here it is.

On my dad's side, I'm not really sure how the naming scheme worked, but like several of you have already mentioned, it really depends on the family and the individual.  My dad and his siblings have a first,middle, and surname.  My dad goes by his middle name, not his first name.

On my mum's side, which is Latvian and some German (my grandmother was born in Latvia and spoke Latvian and calls herself Latvian, but her maiden name is German, not Latvian).  From what I understand, the middle name is your grandmother's first name or mother's first name or at least some person in a generation older than yours.  I'm not exactly sure how it works, but my mum's middle name (I think) is her grandmother's name.  I think my mum explained it to me as such, but I could be getting it wrong, since it was several years ago so I don't remember exactly how it works.  My middle name, also, is my mum's first name.  I'm a little confused about this, since my grandmother's middle initial is the same as mine so I think it might be the same name but I'm not certain (probably is though).

Something kind of nice that my aunt and uncle did when they had their kids was give them each a first name and two middle names to represent both sides of the family (my aunt's is my dad's side of the family's Ukrainian/Lebanese/Scot's Irish and my uncle's is Chinese/Japanese - yes, both).  Each of my couisns have one middle name that would have been chosen from my aunt's side of the family (the first child has the same middle name as my grandmother on that side) and they each have a Japanese second middle name.
My uncle officially has a middle name, but he was an immigrant so I think it's just his original Chinese first name, he goes by a different name than that one.

Sorry if my explanations are confusing, but that's my story.  I've met some people who have a middle name, some who don't.

Last edited by Yitzock (January 21, 2016 9:57 pm)


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January 21, 2016 10:44 pm  #58


Re: Questions about the English language

Here in Aus, at least among the people I know (mostly working class I guess), having a middle name is pretty common. At school you would ask your friends, "what's your middle name?" along with wanting to know their favourite colour etc. If you hated your middle name you'd try and hide it. People would give you a ribbing if you had a funny middle name. Mine was very ordinary, plain Jane, so I didn't care much.

Once you get to the age of having kids and thinking about what names to give them, you become interested in the reasons other people have for giving their kids their name/s. It still seems more common to give a middle name than not. One mum I spoke to said she didn't give her kids middle names because their surname had 4 syllables and it seemed a bit much to add too many more!

I think it used to be more traditional to give a middle name, but people just do whatever they want now.


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January 22, 2016 4:40 am  #59


Re: Questions about the English language

Neat discussion, guys.  I remember growing up and becoming puzzledly aware of other naming practices and how culturally tied-in they were - such as Asian family-lineage-focused names doing the family (last) name first, and the commonality of multiple names in the UK.  Over here, depending on the trends/preferences of the family and their background, it does seem middle names are pretty typical.  I remember my brother dating a girl from a French family and we were curious that none of them used the practice.  It does help to distinguish it a bit, although also interesting how many people do go by their middle, as was mentioned!  Mine is kinda a different story, too!

My dad's paternal side has a lot of Irish in it, and the kind to pass on the same name from eldest son to eldest son.  But instead of the less-unique practice of doing so-and-so the first, the second, etc, the first name is passed down, but they all have a different middle name, going all the way down to my brother.
Part of my mom's side comes from Germany, and the few generations back I remember have middle names… suppose it varies in common practice over there?  But my mom was one of five sisters, so no one to carry on that proud German name.  So she asked my dad if he minded two things - first, that I get the same middle name as her mother, whom she was very close to (one of her sisters also got that middle name, since it was a very pretty one).  Second, that I get to carry on her maiden name.  Thing is, we never bothered with a hyphenated last name (too confusing for records… tends to be a split-family/split-marriage woman type thing), and weren't sure if my middle name would be lumped with my first name, or as two middles with the maiden name, which they did.  And it's usually confusing to figure out how to work it in to paperwork and such (they typically just ask for one middle initial, anyway, and I don't consider it part of my first name, like people with double ones), so I tend to just leave it out.  It still is kinda neat having a more-different four part name, though!
(now I wonder what Brits and others with the tendency to four-part names do with all the parts of theirs!)


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January 23, 2016 3:27 pm  #60


Re: Questions about the English language

In the UK we don't use the ll or lll or whatever if someone has the same name as their father. Also, official documents have stopped using the term 'surname' as this donates a father's (sire's) name and causes problems for many in completing these forms.

My middle name is my paternal grandmother's, my husband's middle name is a paternal uncle's. Not everyone has a middle name and some have more than one middle name/s. My children both have middle names and neither have any family connection (just names we liked and sounded good with their first name). Neither of my children's first names have any family connection either.

Sometimes here people do take the mother's family name as a middle name or hyphenate it with the father's family name to make a new double-barrelled surname. This often seems to be when the mother's family name would otherwise die out.

I loathed my first name when I was young because, frankly, no one seemed to have unusual names then but now I like it. It was actually my mother's middle name...


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