On 4 March 2011 17:31, Padraic Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> --- On Fri, 3/4/11, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> > > I had always assumed that French names worked like
> > > English ones with one or
> > > more given names followed by a single family name, but
> > > a Romanian friend
> > > insists that French names work like Romanian names
> > > with the family preceding the given.
> >
> > > Your Romanian friend is simply wrong.
> >
> > No, he is not wrong: he just knows the formal way of doing
> > things. Informally, the order is different.
> The question then becomes, is this really a "naming custom" in France
> (formal or otherwise), or simply an expedient of the burocracy in order to
> make it easier to keep records and file papers?
Definitely a naming custom. It's used in formal settings in speech, and as I
said in letters, even hand-written ones. Maybe it started as a bureaucratic
system to help filing, but it's evolved beyond that.

That said, if I were to introduce myself I would always use the Given,
Family order. That is really the basic word order. The Family, Given word
order is the more restricted one.

> In the US, it is also common for a name to appear with the family name
> preceding the given name(s), but only for matters of alphabetisation. For
> example, on forms and computerised registries.
In France as well. But this word order is also used in places where no form
or registry is involved.

> That way, all the "Grandires" end up in the same filing cabinet, rather
> than all the "Christophes". I don't consider this alternative order a
> naming custom, though, as much as a filing scheme.
To give you an idea, I have my diploma in front of me right now, and on the
diploma I am called "Monsieur Grandsire Christophe" (no comma after the
family name). A diploma is a formal paper, so my name is given in the formal
word order there. Nothing to do with filing cabinets or such, the diploma
was printed only for me to keep.
Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.