What do you get when you cross a Spaniard and a Portuguese?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2010/07/05 07:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2010/07/05/10032020.aspx

No, this is not a riddle!

I mean what do you get, name-wise?

Back in August of 2008 when I wrote What's in a name?, I forgot to include one of the more interesting language name issues.

The one about the difference between Spanish and Portuguese.

Several people have pointed it out to me though I think Jan Roelof pointed it out first:

Btw, you probably know that the double naming of “Latin names” like Gerardo Villarreal Guzman is married to Hortensia Ortiz Roffe is slightly different between Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries?  In Spanish speaking places, the male part is first, hence David Villarreal Ortiz, in Portuguese speaking places the male part of the name is still inherited from both parents, but at the end.  Hence the name would have been David Roffe Guzman.

Indeed, quite interesting!

Now of course in this example he is talking about if Gerardo and Hortensia were Portuguese, in which case one would make assumptions about lineage and names.

My mind immediately jumped to the (in my mind) obvious anomaly -- what if two people are married and one is Spanish while the other is Portuguese?

There is of course an "obvious" answer of always going with the male name, but this could cause the name construction to seem odd to people who were just seeing the names of everyone in the family and trying to understand how the names of the children came to be.

This can't be an entirely theoretical problem; surely in the whole history of the whole history there must have been some Spanish/Portuguese marriages.

How were they handled? How are they handled?

And, thinking about computers and family tree programs....

Would any of them be able to handle this case with a sensible default or would programs just always require users to override the default name choice?

If anyone knows, please feel free to share....

John Cowan on 5 Jul 2010 7:49 AM:

What do you get?  The same as when you cross a Litvak and a Poylisher -- a Galitzianer!

Edson on 5 Jul 2010 8:08 AM:

Naming usually is made according to the local laws. If I were a Portuguese man and married a Spaniard, but lived in Spain, my son would be named using the Spanish rule. If I lived in Portugal, Brazil, U.S.  or other non-Spanish speaking country, my son would be named using the local rules. Some countries even forbid giving the children names that aren't in an "allowed names book", for example.

Michael S. Kaplan on 5 Jul 2010 8:14 AM:

Okay, but assume they could have their choice and didn't want to completely upset their parents -- which taking the mother's name (when it traditionally would have been the father's name taken) might do.

Every time I think about this one it gets more complicated!

go to newer or older post, or back to index or month or day