On 6 March 2011 18:29, Alex Fink <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> >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.
> >>
> The French will sometimes set the family name in all caps, when deploying
> either order, won't they?

Correct. That's the case on my diploma, for instance.

>  When I came across this it was explained to me
> that this device exists precisely because, in contexts in the marches
> between formal and informal, it may not otherwise be clear which order is
> being invoked, given that there are no commas or anything to tell them
> apart.
> Alex

Usually it's relatively easy to recognise the family name from the given
name, but I've seen weird cases where the family name looks like a given
name, and then it's indeed difficult. Just a few weeks ago I had to contact
a person whose name was on a website, but I couldn't guess which word order
was being used. I kinda expected Family Given word order, but the name was
such that it was unclear, and the family name was not in all caps. I
actually had to hunt for another name used in the same context to find out
that my guess had been right. My Dutch husband was surprised that the word
order was Family Given. He'd never heard about anything like that done
except on forms.
Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.