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Subject: Re: [docbook] Rename firstname and surname?

Dave Pawson <davep@dpawson.co.uk>, 2007-08-10 07:54 +0100:

> Michael(tm) Smith wrote:
>> What exactly is wrong with "sur" from a multi-cultural POV?
> Think of any foreign languages you know Mike?

In Japanese, the words commonly used to refer to the parts of
names that are not given names/personal names are seimei (姓名)
and myouji (名字 or sometimes 苗字). None of those contains the
equivalent of "family", and it seems to me at least that the most
closest accurate translation for any of those words into English
is "surname", not "family name".

> Even I could translate family, it's in the low level vocab.

I don't think the point of choosing a name for this particular
element is to find the words whose literal meanings can themselves
most easily be translated into other languages.

> 'sur' just plain isn't IMHO.

It doesn't need to be. I don't think the word part "姓" (sei) in
Japanese is in the "low-level vocab" either. As a word part, it
seems to me there is no simple translation of the meaning of "姓"
into English. In that way, it's much like the "sur" from "surname".

> That's how I judge which words to use to be understood.

I don't think anybody has trouble understanding what "surname"
means, an nobody so far in this discussion has made a clear case
for it being inaccurate or deficient as far as multi-cultural
naming goes -- in the way that "firstname" clearly is.

All that I'm saying is, If we are going to change an element name,
we should have a very compelling reason for doing it. And for that
case of surname, it seems to me at least that we don't.


Michael(tm) Smith


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