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f.pier
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Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 5:44 am

I was looking at the American election and I realized that all candidates have two names

Donald J. Trump
Joseph R. Biden
Michael R. Pence
Kamala D. Harris

Is this normal, do all Americans have two names?
Here in Italy someone has but the most of the people doesn't.

Thank you
 
Virtual737
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 5:49 am

J for John is his middle name I believe. A very common trait in England too. Many others, including the US, have multiple middle names.

Semantics possibly, but he has one first name, one middle name and one family name.
 
NIKV69
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 5:49 am

Yep except for Madonna and Bono :duck:
 
Virtual737
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 5:52 am

NIKV69 wrote:
Yep except for Madonna and Bono :duck:


Bono "Tax Evasion" Hewson shares a middle name with many other high net worth individuals ;)
 
luckyone
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 6:08 am

NIKV69 wrote:
Yep except for Madonna and Bono :duck:

Madonna’s legal name is Madonna Louise Ciccone.
Cher, on the other hand, did indeed change her name legally in the 1970s to simply “Cher” from Cherilyn Sarkisian.
 
flyguy89
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 7:58 am

f.pier wrote:
I was looking at the American election and I realized that all candidates have two names

Donald J. Trump
Joseph R. Biden
Michael R. Pence
Kamala D. Harris

Is this normal, do all Americans have two names?
Here in Italy someone has but the most of the people doesn't.

Thank you

They’re “middle names.” It’s a widespread practice in the English-speaking world as well as some other cultures. A person’s middle name can be whatever their parent’s choose really but is typically derived from a relative or ancestor’s given name or sometimes the mother’s maiden name. For example, my own middle name is my father’s given name, and my brother’s is my great-grandfather’s given name.
 
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DarkSnowyNight
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:56 am

flyguy89 wrote:
They’re “middle names.” It’s a widespread practice in the English-speaking world as well as some other cultures. A person’s middle name can be whatever their parent’s choose really but is typically derived from a relative or ancestor’s given name or sometimes the mother’s maiden name. For example, my own middle name is my father’s given name, and my brother’s is my great-grandfather’s given name.



This is true. But there is a certain pretentiousness to the and insistent and consistent use. Doubly so for hyphenated family names. Triply so for those that attempt to cultivate the use of their initials in lieu.

NIKV69 wrote:
Yep except for Madonna and Bono :duck:


The Irishman has a family name. And that is a Bono Fide fact.



I will get my coat.
 
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cjg225
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:57 pm

DarkSnowyNight wrote:
This is true. But there is a certain pretentiousness to the and insistent and consistent use. Doubly so for hyphenated family names. Triply so for those that attempt to cultivate the use of their initials in lieu.

I always sign formal documents with my middle initial included, but in everyday practice I use my shortened first name.

What I always find odd is people who use their first initial but full middle name, like J. Edgar Hoover.

Hyphenated family names can be dicey. Sometimes it does reek of pretentiousness, but other times there are more legit reasons for it.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:03 pm

f.pier wrote:
I was looking at the American election and I realized that all candidates have two names

Donald J. Trump
Joseph R. Biden
Michael R. Pence
Kamala D. Harris

Is this normal, do all Americans have two names?
Here in Italy someone has but the most of the people doesn't.

Thank you


In The Netherlands, it is quite common practice to have one or two middle names. Traditionally the firstborn son is named after the father of the father, the second son after the father of the mother, and so on, the first daughter after the mother of the mother etc.

But nobody will refer to him- or herself with first name initials the last name. The middle names is something for official documentation.
 
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Kiwirob
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:03 pm

NIKV69 wrote:
Yep except for Madonna and Bono :duck:


Sure they do.

Madonna Louise Ciccone

Paul David Hewson

luckyone wrote:
Cher, on the other hand, did indeed change her name legally in the 1970s to simply “Cher” from Cherilyn Sarkisian.


Cher changed her name from Cherilyn Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman to simply Cher.

She added all her husbands names to her name, before deciding it was all too much and simplified to Cher.

In NZ almost everyone will have first, middle and surnames. In Norway most people have two first names, a lot of Norwegians use both, then there are the double banger surnames, since most couples don't marry their bastard children carry both surnames.
 
bennett123
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:24 pm

I have a middle name, but it is used in formal situations like passport and job applications.

Most people outside the family would not know what it is.

Probably the same would apply for most people in the UK.
 
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Aesma
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:46 pm

Something that annoys me greatly on en.wikipedia is that French people are treated as if they had middle names, when in fact the practice in France is totally different, people have several first names, of which one is used (almost always the first one).

For example : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmanuel_Macron "Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron"
or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7ois_Hollande "François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande"

This is totally wrong. These second and third and fourth names are not supposed to be used like that. Calling Trump "Donald J Trump" is totally normal, "Donald John Trump" too, whereas people might not even realize you're referring to them if you were to call them "François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande".

On French ID/passport they're like this :
Nom : Macron
Prénom(s) : Emmanuel, Jean-Michel, Frédéric
And there is no middle name.

You can legally be called Emmanuel Macron, or Jean-Michel Macron, or Frédéric Macron, it's your choice. On the other hand having anything changed (name change) is really cumbersome.
 
cledaybuck
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:40 pm

NIKV69 wrote:
Yep except for Madonna and Bono :duck:

Bono isn't American.
 
chimborazo
Posts: 445
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:55 pm

“H. Norman Schwarzkopf (FIO)” is what they put him down as at West Point induction. Maybe not written in that order- it’s a long time since I read his biography.
First Initial Only... he didn’t actually have a first name, just an initial. Strange!
 
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Moose135
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:55 pm

Without a middle name, how will you know when your mother is mad at you?
"Jacob Anthony..."
 
chimborazo
Posts: 445
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:58 pm

Top of my head, must people I know have two pre and one surname. It’s very common in UK. My gf is from Northern Europe and has only first and last name.

It’s very noticeable on American film/show credits that the middle name letters are there. Tends not to happen so much here... just first and last name even though as far as I’m aware the majority do have middle names.
 
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casinterest
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:07 pm

Moose135 wrote:
Without a middle name, how will you know when your mother is mad at you?
"Jacob Anthony..."



Exactly.
But seriously, in the US you will find many that go by their middle names. Due to family politics and honoring mechanisms, sometimes first names are chosen that are a bit out of fashion. So the person goes by their middle name growing up.
 
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Aesma
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:49 pm

casinterest wrote:
Moose135 wrote:
Without a middle name, how will you know when your mother is mad at you?
"Jacob Anthony..."


Exactly.
But seriously, in the US you will find many that go by their middle names. Due to family politics and honoring mechanisms, sometimes first names are chosen that are a bit out of fashion. So the person goes by their middle name growing up.


Yeah like having 5 generations of men with the same name. Makes very little sense seen from here. Here it's the "secondary" first names that are often old fashioned, sometimes even wrong genred : female surname for a man, male surname for a woman. That's why I'm saying they really shouldn't be displayed as they were not intended to be used. My siblings and me, we just have other surnames my parents liked, I could totally go by mine, it's not old-fashioned or embarrassing (and noone in the family is called like that, unlike my "main" surname that is also worn by several cousins...).
 
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DocLightning
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 4:07 pm

Most of us have three. First, Middle, and Last. The first and middle names are usually both appropriate for a first name, but not always. "Michael Anthony," "Elizabeth Amy," etc. The last name is the family name. That said, my middle name is my mother's maiden name.

In addition, some Americans don't like their first name, so they use their middle name. Hence, "G. Gordon Liddy." His first name is George, but he doesn't use it in his day to day life.
 
luckyone
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 4:13 pm

Aesma wrote:
casinterest wrote:
Moose135 wrote:
Without a middle name, how will you know when your mother is mad at you?
"Jacob Anthony..."


Exactly.
But seriously, in the US you will find many that go by their middle names. Due to family politics and honoring mechanisms, sometimes first names are chosen that are a bit out of fashion. So the person goes by their middle name growing up.


Yeah like having 5 generations of men with the same name. Makes very little sense seen from here. Here it's the "secondary" first names that are often old fashioned, sometimes even wrong genred : female surname for a man, male surname for a woman. That's why I'm saying they really shouldn't be displayed as they were not intended to be used. My siblings and me, we just have other surnames my parents liked, I could totally go by mine, it's not old-fashioned or embarrassing (and noone in the family is called like that, unlike my "main" surname that is also worn by several cousins...).

I am one of those. The story is rather convoluted but I'm from the South and can spin a yarn so here we go.

My father is named after my grandfather's army nickname, which has nothing to do with his legal name. My grandfather's family called him by his middle name, but in his adult life he chose to go by his first name. I am named exactly for my father, so technically I'm a junior. My mother all but hates my legal name and I've only ever received the full name treatment once -- I guess that means I was a good kid. But I've had a slightly different name ever since I was born, and never really go by my legal name outside of official purposes. EVERY first day of school, every roll call, I would have to clarify that. Now, half my colleagues call me one thing, and the other half another. At times I don't really mind it because my long name, Junior, MD looks really good on official stuff. I've sworn I won't do this to my kid should I have a boy, but just name him something "inspired" by the family name.
 
QF7
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 7:21 pm

As has been established above most Americans have three names.

And as has also been established many people go by different versions of their given names. For example, my father went his whole life by a shortened version of his middle name and I go by by a shortened version of my first name.

Other people go by nicknames, i.e., Jimmy Carter vs. James Earl Carter.

An interesting situation occurs when a woman gets married. Traditionally she would take her husband’s surname. I.e., Sarah May Jones upon marrying John Philip Smith would become Sarah May Smith. But not always and especially in recent years. Nowadays it is just as likely she will opt for a hyphenated surname of Jones-Smith or just keep Jones.

It becomes more interesting if the woman gets divorced. I know women who have reverted to their former surname, and others who have kept their former husband’s surname. I know one woman who got remarried and still kept her former husband’s surname because it was too much trouble to change it and too many people knew her by that name.

Personally, I am in favor of women just keeping their born names.
 
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Kiwirob
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Fri Jan 15, 2021 7:31 pm

Moose135 wrote:
Without a middle name, how will you know when your mother is mad at you?
"Jacob Anthony..."


My mum always calls me Rob, it’s Robert when she’s angry.
 
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Pellegrine
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:18 am

My legal name is six names and a suffix. **oh well emoji**
 
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peterlewis
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:25 am

Well, middle names are quite common in other parts of the world too. They are mostly ancestral names, I guess
 
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cjg225
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Sat Jan 16, 2021 4:39 pm

Kiwirob wrote:
My mum always calls me Rob, it’s Robert when she’s angry.

My family always uses my full first name. No one I know outside of my family uses my full first name; just the shortened version. It sounds really weird to me when a non-family member calls me by my full first name.
 
Kent350787
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Sun Jan 17, 2021 2:11 am

Maybe with the higher population than other western countries there is a higher likelihood of someone else having the same first and last name, so using your middle name is the differentiator?

Most people I know in Australia have at least first middle and last name - each of my kids has two middle names.

None of us regularly uses more than first and last.
 
Kiwiandrew
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Sun Jan 17, 2021 4:21 am

Non-American here. I'm from Aotearoa/New Zealand, of Scots parents. My mother had a middle name, my father did not. I'm the youngest of four siblings, three ( including myself) have middle names, one does not ( actually, that's not entirely true, she gave herself a middle name a couple of decades ago ) I never gave the reasons for any of our middle names much thought, and it's too late to ask my parents now as they both died a few years ago.
 
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MrHMSH
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Sun Jan 17, 2021 5:59 am

It's pretty normal for English language names. I have 'H' as my first name, 'M' middle name and 'SH' surname, but due to a quirk of how I was named, I am referred to by the 'M' instead of 'H', though all documents and in most formal settings people use 'H'.
 
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CrimsonNL
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Sun Jan 17, 2021 7:34 pm

I sometimes wonder why certain politicians or celebrities names are always named with their middle letter, while others are not?

People always say;

John F Kennedy,
Franklin D Roosevelt,
Samuel L Jackson

As opposed to for example Donald Trump, Tom Hanks or Joe Biden where a lot of people don't know their middle letter. I don't think many people will even know what the middle letter stands for in the examples I gave..
 
flyguy89
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:45 am

CrimsonNL wrote:
I sometimes wonder why certain politicians or celebrities names are always named with their middle letter, while others are not?

People always say;

John F Kennedy,
Franklin D Roosevelt,
Samuel L Jackson

As opposed to for example Donald Trump, Tom Hanks or Joe Biden where a lot of people don't know their middle letter. I don't think many people will even know what the middle letter stands for in the examples I gave..

It’s more just a style choice I think. Some may perceive the inclusion of the middle initial or middle name as adding more gravitas or distinction. I could be wrong, but for JFK, Kennedy is not an uncommon last name so simply John Kennedy may have been seen as too pedestrian. For FDR, since there was a previous Roosevelt president the “D” may have perhaps been included to better distinguish the two.
 
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hawaiian717
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:38 pm

For actors, many unions including the Screen Actors Guild in the US and the British Actors Equity Association have rules that no two members can have the same working name. So some use their middle initial, like Michael J. Fox, since there was already another actor named Michael Fox.
 
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casinterest
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Re: Do all Americans have two names?

Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:45 pm

hawaiian717 wrote:
For actors, many unions including the Screen Actors Guild in the US and the British Actors Equity Association have rules that no two members can have the same working name. So some use their middle initial, like Michael J. Fox, since there was already another actor named Michael Fox.


Yep,
And interesting Point, Michael Keaton(... Batman, Spider-Man- Honecoming, Mr. Mom, Gung Ho, ) was born as Michael Douglas, but ....guess what.

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