Robert (Bob) and the formation of Names in English

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Ducklet Cat

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Hi,

I have several questions about the formation of names in English.

1- Where can I find a list of nicknames in English? for example Robert is called Bob. Well, are they nicknames or what do you call them?

2- How did these naicknames came? William is nicknamed Bill which has no connection between the two?
And when can I call someone with his/her nickname? Do they have to be close friends or it's OK to do that when I barely know the person?

3- In Arabic we write our names in a chain:
My name, my father's name, my grandfather's name,,,, etc and finally the family name
And the chain can be very long.
Do you have this in English? or is it only the first and the last name?
Does the father's name appear in official papers for instance?


4- Some people in English have their names as:
James N. Thomson
Who is the N? :) Is he the father?

So, Sarah Michelle Geller, who is Michelle?


5- What is the Christian name? is it your first name?


Thanks :-D
 

Anglika

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Hi,

I have several questions about the formation of names in English.

1- Where can I find a list of nicknames in English? for example Robert is called Bob. Well, are they nicknames or what do you call them? This is an abbreviation of a name. Others are Bill for William, Jim or Jamie for James, Jack for John. Female names can also be abbreviated: Betty, Liz, Beth for Elizabeth for example; Nell for Helen or Eleanor.

Nicknames are terms such as "Lanky" for someone who is tall and thin, "Ginger" for someone with red hair, "Paddy" for someone who is Irish. They come from their personal characteristics or something that is individual to them.

2- How did these naicknames came? William is nicknamed Bill which has no connection between the two?
And when can I call someone with his/her nickname? Do they have to be close friends or it's OK to do that when I barely know the person?
You have to judge this on the situation. If everyone calls a person by their nickname or the shortened form of the name, you are safe to do so as well.

3- In Arabic we write our names in a chain:
My name, my father's name, my grandfather's name,,,, etc and finally the family name
And the chain can be very long.
Do you have this in English? or is it only the first and the last name?
Does the father's name appear in official papers for instance? Only if specifically required.

British names are not constructed in this way. Only the surname [family name] is consistent [ie Smith].


4- Some people in English have their names as:
James N. Thomson
Who is the N? :) Is he the father? This is a primarily American construct. Usually the middle initial is another given name {James Nelson Thomson}

So, Sarah Michelle Geller, who is Michelle?It is a given name


5- What is the Christian name? is it your first name? Yes - often referred to as the "given name" to avoid offending those who are not Christian.


Thanks :-D

This is a very complex topic. Babies are often named for parents or grandparents, and in some countries - for example, Greece - there is a strict order for names. First boy is given paternal grandfather's name, first girl is given paternal grandmother's name, and all have their father's name in the genitive form as a second name: Antoni Christou zzzzzzzz.

However, increasingly there is no connection with previous generations.
 

Ducklet Cat

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This is a very complex topic. Babies are often named for parents or grandparents, and in some countries - for example, Greece - there is a strict order for names. First boy is given paternal grandfather's name, first girl is given paternal grandmother's name, and all have their father's name in the genitive form as a second name: Antoni Christou zzzzzzzz.

However, increasingly there is no connection with previous generations.

That's interesting. Thanks for sharing.
I wonder what the situation is for English.

Thanks.
 

Anglika

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Do you mean England?

Generally people call their babies what they want to call them. Some traditionalists will name them for a grandparent, but there is no great tradition to do so.
 

Ducklet Cat

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I'm curious to know the answers to my questions whether in England or the US.

Thanks :)
 

BobK

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This is a very complex topic. Babies are often named for parents or grandparents, and in some countries - for example, Greece - there is a strict order for names. First boy is given paternal grandfather's name, first girl is given paternal grandmother's name, and all have their father's name in the genitive form as a second name: Antoni Christou zzzzzzzz.

However, increasingly there is no connection with previous generations.
:up: Another possible pattern is to alternate first names from generation to generation. My uncle Donald' grandfather was called Donald too, and his father was called Archy; Archy's father was called Donald. (That was in Scotland, but something similar happened in Macondo.) As Anglika says, there's often no connection with previous generations.

As for the middle initial, it can sometimes be a Christian name (mine is J for Joseph, as were all the men in my family; the women all had the middle initial M - guessing the reason for that is left as an exercise for the reader ;-)). But sometimes it's another name entirely; for example my son Sam B. Knowles was given his mother's maiden name.

There's really no fixed pattern. Brooklyn Beckham, for example, was named after his place of conception.

b
 
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