On Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 02:11, Philip Newton <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> (And in more formal
> Indian contexts, he could become "W X Y" or "R S T U V W X Y", etc.,
> as desired.) has an even
more elaborate practice, with names including things like son's name,
profession, clan name, place (at some point in ancestral history)
name, religious events (Hajj), etc.

I wonder how much of that is tracked; I'd expect if it's the same as
in the US, they must have drastically more name changes than we do.

On Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 08:44, BPJ <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Incidentally my father also did a first
> -> middle address swap, requested to do so at work
> because there were already three colleagues with the
> same first name.

My father, it turns out (I had no idea), attempted to change his last
name at one point (to his mother's maiden name), but couldn't get it
observed and so dropped it.

Probably helps for his accepting mine, if simply as "an attempt to
brand myself". :-P

> You are probably among the runners-up for the title of
> "shortest legal mononym". You beat Cher by one letter but
> have a tie with her by syllable count -- and can't go lower
> there except by becoming anonymous!

You can, it seems. I've added a cite to that page of a Chinese child
named @. No, I'm not kidding.

As a contrasting legal commentary, there's this gem by Robert Rains,
from the legal humor journal Green Bag, regarding the decision


When You Wish to Be an R
Or, Some Requests Are Too Extreme

with apologies to Ned Washington, Leigh Harline and, of course, Jiminy Cricket

Robert Rains

comment on In  re:  Change  of  Name  of Mary Ravitch, 754 A.2d 1287
(Pa. Super. 2000), in which the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld the
trial court’s refusal to allow Mary to change her last name to the
“nice and simple” letter “R.”

With perhaps a touch of hyperbole, the trial court opined that, “Our
society’s … concept of law and order would dissipate into chaos and
confusion,” if Mary’s unopposed petition were to be granted.
Characterizing the proposed name change as “bizarre,” the Superior
Court noted that, “if courts were to permit initialized official names
as a matter of course, we would invite surname replication at an
exponential rate, greatly in excess of what is currently experienced
with common surnames, so as to make informal identiÕcation burdensome
at best.”  Moral:  it’s  better  to  have  10,000  Mary Smiths than
one Mary R.

Robert E. Rains is a professor at The Dickinson School of Law of the
Pennsylvania State University. He denies
reports that he is reverting to his childhood.

Mary Ravitch went to court
To have her name cut very short.
When you wish to be an “R”
Dreams don’t come true.

The judge she tried hard to convince,
She’d be like the artist formerly known as Prince,
Except she wished to be an “R”
As dreamers do.

Fate unkind
Denied her what she’d love –
The sweet ful llment of
Initial longing.

Like a bolt out of the blue,
Courts responded, “No can do –
’Cause the letter of the law
Is not for you.”


There are precedential decisions both pro and con allowing mononymy in
various US states.

> In Sweden it's AFAIK a legal requirement to have a surname.

To change / create a name, or merely to continue to exist?

I could see imposing the requirement on name change or births, but I
don't see how the country could do so under international law on
people who already have a mononym.

> Singh/Kaur can be viewed as more of a title than a name.
> I wonder how they feel on the issue, or if that varies.

*nod* Likewise U is an honorific, as in U Thant, 3rd UN

I should hope that Sweden wouldn't disallow his continued existence
under the mononym Thant if he'd chosen to visit?

> BTW it's interesting how names borrowed/inherited from
> foreign/classical/ancestral/sacred languages seem to
> everywhere tend to be abbreviated in daily use without
> reference to their (original) meaning or morphology.

Another example is Arabic _Abd ullah_ ("servant of Allah") et al
getting shortened improperly to _Abdul_ ("servant of…"), which doesn't
make grammatical sense. But, y'know, people assume that a space means
that you're done with the "first name", and that a given
name-component can't be composed of more than one word… :-P

See also

On Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 08:43, Charlie <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> There are people who do not like to be on a first name basis until a deeper relationship has been established.  Informality does not suit everyone.

Certainly - I respect the formality of others' names, addressing them
however they please.

> I also believe that being on a first name basis with someone implies a relationship that may not exist.  Does this person then assume that I, too, wish to be addressed by my first name?

For me at least: definitely not. I simply prefer not to be titled myself.

> In light of this quandary I have decided that I would address a mononymous person as "Sir" or "Ma'am" until a friendship had developed.

Honestly? I laugh when people "sir" me. :-P (Not mockingly, just that
I find it silly.)

I appreciate the thought, and try to be as polite to others as they
are to me, but I just can't take myself that seriously. It's
incongruous. :-P

- Sai