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Re: Anthroponymics (was Re: A single font can display ANY alphabet, pictograph, or rune)

From:tomhchappell <tomhchappell@...>
Date:Monday, October 17, 2005, 18:11
--- In, Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@M...> wrote:
> How many first names can people have in different nooks of the > world?
To the best of my knowledge, in America, everybody has (and, FAIK, may be required to have) at least one family name (surname or "last name"), and is not required to have any personal name (given name, "Christian name", or "first name"); nor is there any limit on how many personal names one may have. Gatewood is a famous example of a person who had no personal name. Once he achieved his medical degree and went into practice, he became Dr. Gatewood. Until then, he was just Gatewood. It is fairly common -- or at least much less uncommon than one would expect -- in America for a person to have just an "initial" where a name might be expected. Harry S Truman is the standard example -- it is not Harry S. Truman, it is just Harry S Truman, because the S does not stand for anything. Less frequently, all of a person's "personal names" might be merely "initials", as for instance the soldier J B Jones. This does, however, confuse the hell out of any mechanistic mind. J B Jones's papers had "J (only) B (only) Jones" written on them, so at his very first roll-call his drill sergeant called "Jonly Bonly Jones!" He was called "Jonly Bonly" until he mustered-out. Royalty (of which America doesn't have any) can get along without any family name; but the habit is to give a Royal-born child, or at least one who might become Sovereign, enough personal names that he or she can choose his or her regnal name from among his or her personal names. Certain people, especially fashion models e.g., get along with just one personal name and no family name. Americans usually have three names (a personal name, a family name, and another); often just two, often four; rarely more than four; and, extremely rarely, only one. However the names that aren't the "family name" needn't be what you would naturally guess to be "personal names". My brother-in-law is David Jim Hilliard Dean. Our current president's father is George Herbert Walker Bush. I had a relative named Chappell Grimes. There was a person named Baxter Wilson Grant; upon hearing of him, one person said "How many people is that?" Americans usually go by the first name; but not always. Stephen Grover Cleveland went by Grover. Thomas Woodrow Wilson went by Woodrow. John Calvin Coolidge went by Calvin. As I mentioned to you off-list, Southrons tend to have two personal names, both of which are regarded as significant. Rather than drop one of them, their friends and family tend to diminutivize both. Joseph Robert Something will be called "Joe Bob" -- or, sometimes, "J.R.". If a "Yankee" woman named Kay moves south of the Mason-Dixon line and makes friends, when she is introduced as "Kay", she is likely to be asked "What does it stand for?" ----- Interesting question. Tom H.C. in MI