Your favourite names (in any language)

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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Varislintu » 2017-04-20, 16:36

Aurinĭa wrote:I didn't realise that number, Sr, or Jr was an actual part of the name; if I ever thought about it, I thought it was just something people added for convenience's sake, rather than an official part of the name.


Yeah, I didn't know that either. I would have guessed it was part of the given name if anything.

The funny thing is, this couple was having a son, and the Finnish mother was wondering what they would do with that boy's surname. Because they wanted to continue the tradition of male naming ( :roll: ), but in Finland the child must get the same last name that the parent has. So she was wondering if the son would be 'Smith V' or 'Smith IV', officially. :lol: I find this a bit hilarious because she never apparently noticed that her last name is not the same as her husband's (being just 'Smith'). Actually I wonder how that works, can you just technically take any last name for yourself at marriage? Or should she technically have taken 'Smith IV' if they got married in Finland? :lol: What a mess!

And future siblings must get the same last name as previous siblings, so if the boy had been 'Smith V' officially, would the next, say a daughter, also be 'Smith V'?

The whole thing is ridiculous, I don't think the Finnish officials should ever have incorporated the ordinal into the man's Finnish offical identity.
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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby linguoboy » 2017-04-20, 17:03

I'm not totally sure what the current status is of these names here. Traditionally the numbers etc. were simply something added for the sake of convenience and had no official status. Furthermore, those in a direct line moved up following the death of a progenitor. For instance, my father was a "Jr", but he didn't name any of us after him, so when my grandfather died, he simply dropped the suffix. (Until this discussion, I'd actually forgotten he'd ever used it.)

Nowadays, it seems people often keep the designation. My college roommate, for instance, used "III" after his name even though his grandfather was no longer living. This makes me wonder if databases and other pseudo-official records are increasingly treating these suffixes as part of the name proper rather than an adjunct. I know that our current standard for bibliographical description, RDA, now considers them integral and allows their incorporation into established forms. (Previously, established forms would be distinguished by birth/death/flourished dates alone.)
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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Aurinĭa » 2017-04-20, 17:26

Varislintu wrote:The funny thing is, this couple was having a son, and the Finnish mother was wondering what they would do with that boy's surname. Because they wanted to continue the tradition of male naming ( :roll: ), but in Finland the child must get the same last name that the parent has. So she was wondering if the son would be 'Smith V' or 'Smith IV', officially. :lol:

Does the child have to get the same name as the father, or the same name as a parent? If the latter, they could give the son the mother's married name and just add a V unoffically.

I find this a bit hilarious because she never apparently noticed that her last name is not the same as her husband's (being just 'Smith'). Actually I wonder how that works, can you just technically take any last name for yourself at marriage? Or should she technically have taken 'Smith IV' if they got married in Finland? :lol: What a mess!

What are the rules in Finland for changing your name when you get married? Does the woman's name automatically get changed upon marriage, or does she have to apply for it specifically? If she doesn't want to, would that be frowned upon? Would a husband be allowed to change his name to his wife's? Could both change their name to a third name? How does it work for same-sex couples?

There are so many things I don't understand about this custom.

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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Varislintu » 2017-04-20, 18:17

Aurinĭa wrote:
Varislintu wrote:The funny thing is, this couple was having a son, and the Finnish mother was wondering what they would do with that boy's surname. Because they wanted to continue the tradition of male naming ( :roll: ), but in Finland the child must get the same last name that the parent has. So she was wondering if the son would be 'Smith V' or 'Smith IV', officially. :lol:

Does the child have to get the same name as the father, or the same name as a parent? If the latter, they could give the son the mother's married name and just add a V unoffically.


Parent. Our son got my last name, for instance. :) (Although we're not married, but it's the same process for cohabitants.) And yeah, that would seem like the easiest solution to me, too. But I don't think the woman realised this at all, and I didn't want to actually comment in that discussion. :P

Aurinĭa wrote:What are the rules in Finland for changing your name when you get married? Does the woman's name automatically get changed upon marriage, or does she have to apply for it specifically? If she doesn't want to, would that be frowned upon? Would a husband be allowed to change his name to his wife's? Could both change their name to a third name? How does it work for same-sex couples?


No, oh god, thankfully über-patriarchal naming laws have been dropped here a few decades ago (but note, only a few decades ago! Like 1985 or something). A common name needs to be applied for before marriage, otherwise both retain their old names. Husbands are allowed to change to the woman's name as well. I don't think it's frowned upon if the woman keeps her old name, but I live in a liberal bubble. I'm sure some conservative families and mental dinosaurs can still whip up butthurt over such a case in their family, but I think it's starting to be really marginal. Both could change their name to a third name (I've heard of such a case), but I think only after the marriage through mundane name-changing processes.

Aurinĭa wrote:There are so many things I don't understand about this custom.


Why, is it traditionally different in Belgium? :o
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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Aurinĭa » 2017-04-20, 18:56

Yes. It's just not done. At least among Dutch-speaking Belgians; I'm not entirely sure, but I think a woman changing her name upon marriage is (or used to be?) more common among French-speaking Belgians. As a child, I found it strange that married people in the English children's books I read (in translation) always had the same surname, like they'd specifically looked for someone with the same name to get married or something? :lol:
If you get married in Belgium and you do want to change your name, you have to go through the standard name-changing process.

Edit: Yserenhart pointed out I forgot to include books from the Netherlands, where women (and even same-sex couples) also change their name upon marriage.

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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Varislintu » 2017-04-21, 18:49

Aurinĭa wrote:Yes. It's just not done. At least among Dutch-speaking Belgians; I'm not entirely sure, but I think a woman changing her name upon marriage is (or used to be?) more common among French-speaking Belgians. As a child, I found it strange that married people in the English children's books I read (in translation) always had the same surname, like they'd specifically looked for someone with the same name to get married or something? :lol:
If you get married in Belgium and you do want to change your name, you have to go through the standard name-changing process.

Edit: Yserenhart pointed out I forgot to include books from the Netherlands, where women (and even same-sex couples) also change their name upon marriage.


Nice to hear that it's been like that. :yep: I recently read in an article that even in Finland, it didn't use to be the rule for women to change their names when getting married. But then a law forcing them to was created in the beginning of the 1900s, and it wasn't repealed until 1985. By that time everybody of course only remembered that 'it's always been like that', meaning that women change their names.

Everybody needs to make their own decisions, but my opinion is that women should keep their old names at marriage, and that it makes the most sense that children get their mother's last name. But my son is still an oddity, getting my name, and I have gotten weird comments about it already. :roll:
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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Aurinĭa » 2017-04-21, 22:33

Varislintu wrote:Nice to hear that it's been like that. :yep: I recently read in an article that even in Finland, it didn't use to be the rule for women to change their names when getting married. But then a law forcing them to was created in the beginning of the 1900s, and it wasn't repealed until 1985. By that time everybody of course only remembered that 'it's always been like that', meaning that women change their names.

I seem to remember that that's the case in Sweden too, but I'm not sure I'm remembering correctly.
Do you know why that law was created in 1900?

Varislintu wrote:Everybody needs to make their own decisions, but my opinion is (...) that it makes the most sense that children get their mother's last name. But my son is still an oddity, getting my name, and I have gotten weird comments about it already. :roll:

Why do you think that?

Please read this only after you've explained your reasons.
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The law was changed here two years ago to allow parents to choose the mother's name, the father's name, the combination mother's name-father's name, or the combination father's name-mother's name. If the parents disagree, the law first specified the father's name would be given to the child, but that was taken to court on the grounds of being discrimination and the court agreed, so then the law was changed to prescribe the combination of both names in alphabetical order. Siblings have to have the same name. Most couples still go with tradition and just take the father's name, though.

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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Varislintu » 2017-04-22, 7:57

Aurinĭa wrote:Do you know why that law was created in 1900?


No. It's on my list of things to investigate, but I haven't gotten to it yet. :yep:

Aurinĭa wrote:
Varislintu wrote:Everybody needs to make their own decisions, but my opinion is (...) that it makes the most sense that children get their mother's last name. But my son is still an oddity, getting my name, and I have gotten weird comments about it already. :roll:

Why do you think that?

Please read this only after you've explained your reasons.


Okay! I think it makes most sense to go with the mother's name because:

1. I think matrilinear societies make more sense in the first place. It's usually clear who gives birth to someone, while biological fatherhood can always fall under doubt. The patrilinear naming that came with patriarchal society and family structures in my view led to a huge insecurity about biological lineages, and the women were the ones who suffered for this as men and the society working for the patrilinear system felt the need to increasingly control them and the access to their reproductive systems. We're still trying to recover from the eons of this misery even in our culture. Of course, biological lineage is not that important anymore (not like it used to be), so one can argue that this is irrelevant already. But... how many children get their names from their mother again? We still live with this ghost, and the only way to dispel it is to normalise the opposite custom. Okay, this ended up being two separate reasons in one, kind of like two shades of the same issue.

2. The mother makes the baby, almost literally (the fetus of course is the most active instigator of the process -- the mother's body mostly tries to fight the whole process, interestingly). It grows literally from her body, her body's building blocks.

3. Related to the previous, being a mother is an extremely physical experience in the first months, in a way that it is not for the father. The intensity and duration of this physical involvement depends on things like how does the breastfeeding work out, who stays how long with the baby, how laid back is the baby, and how involved the father wants to get. But in the typical setting, where the mother stays home in the beginning and brestfeeds, or pumps milk, etc, the degree to which your body as a mother is not yours but both yours and the baby's cannot be compared to the father's involvement in the beginning. And yet, it is so essential for the new little person. Taking into account this and reason 2 above, the father will never catch up. The sheer, crude biological investment is mainly the woman's, and it affects her biology the rest of her life. I think that's a very good reason to go for the mother's name.

I haven't mentioned this before here, but our baby fits pretty well into what is described as the high needs temperament. It has required me to invest physically even more than an average, easier baby requires. I haven't, for example, slept a longer stretch than two hours more than a handful of times in the last 8 months. This will affect my health long term. I'm wearing the baby in a manduca right now because he can't sleep without my physical presense. (This is actually a huge improvement -- until 6 months of age he didn't like the manduca and was not able to sleep in a sling either. :P ) I know this will sound like I'm bemoaning my fate (a no-no for mothers if ever there was one), but I'm aiming for an actual point :P : I'd love to have three more babies if I'd get to be the father! As it is now I'll need to seriously recuperate before deciding whether to have even one more and risk it being another high needs one. And if I'd get to be the father, I'd absolutely feel that those babies should get the hypothetical mother's last name, if the mother just wants to give it. I would not be able to match her sheer physical investment, and I'd be so ridiculously grateful to get to have children without having to make the investment myself. :) These are of course just my personal experiences, but I am only talking about my opinion here, too.

Aurinĭa wrote:I agree that everybody needs to make their own decisions, but I think it makes sense to give a child the father's name. After all, the mother carried the child, which is a connection the father (or non-carrying other mother) can't have, so giving his (her) name to the child name would be an extra connection between father and child.


I think that's admirable. :yep: This was the main reason that I considered giving up my wish for the baby to have my last name. I think it's a good and valid reason. It's like a gift. One thing that I realised when mulling these things over, was that nobody else will see it as a gift. They won't even notice, or think about it. The baby getting the father's name is just the father's unquestioned privilege in this society, he will just be getting his due, because of course babies are named after the father. This wasn't the reason we ended up choosing my name, but it did make me feel a bit sad. You can't give a privileged person a gift related to that privilege in society's eyes. On a personal level of course, the receiver may realise what the other one gave up in giving it. It's a bit like male authors of PhDs or novels, thanking in the acknowlegements theirs wives for running the household and kids and typing up their manuscripts and proofreading them so they themselves could focus on other things. Like, I'm sure on the personal level the wife feels warm inside being thanked, because she may know the husband actually knows what she sacrificed, but on a societal level it's more of the same structural sexism. :hmm:

Aurinĭa wrote:Other reasons to choose one name over the other could include: one name is nicer, easier to spell, rarer, sounds better in combination with the given name, etc.


Yeah, these would have weighed heavily in our case, but as it happens, we both have simple, easy, internationally similarly easy-to-pronounce names. :lol: I almost wish I was called Äyskäröinen or something, just so it had been easier to decide. :P
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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby mōdgethanc » 2017-04-22, 23:00

Interesting. I've never thought about those reasons for matrilinear naming. I have to say it's a better case for it than the other way around, which is "children take the father's name because he is a man and men are the head of the family and superior to women, who are like children".

Another way to look at it, from a genetic perspective: the zygote always gets at least one X chromosome from the mother, but does not need a Y chromosome. There are genetic disorders that result in aneuploidies like X0, XXX, XXXX, and XYY, but it is impossible to have Y0. In the XX/XY sex determination system, female is the default until the ovum is fertilized with a Y to make it otherwise. The Y chromosome, incidentally, is extremely small.


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