linguoboy wrote:[*]Disambiguating sex. It’s not unusual to see individuals with an epicene first given name (like “Dana”) and an unambiguously gendered second given name. I’ve seen the same convention in other languages, such as Vietnamese.[/list]
And disambiguating individuals
, in general. We have such a limited pool of names, and most of the family names are practically useless for differentiating people, that it's just more helpful to have 3 or 4 components to your name instead of just 2.
Even then, there's still loads and loads of Vietnamese guys who have the very same family name, middle name and "calling name" (the last syllable) as mine. My sister has 4 syllables in her name and that helps distinguishing her from the crowd a bit more.
Of course this has a historical factor to it. Vietnam inherited the 2-syllable and 3-syllable name layouts from ancient China. Same story with Korea. But we did innovate a bit and came up with 4-syllable names or more.