People's names (was Re: sqlite3 error)

Lawrence D'Oliveiro ldo at geek-central.gen.new_zealand
Mon Oct 9 00:07:14 CEST 2006

In message <1160266138.599325.270290 at>, John
Machin wrote:

> Two problems so far:
> (1) If you then assume that you should print the phone directory in
> order of family name, that's not appropriate in some places e.g.
> Iceland; neither is addressing Jon Jonsson as "Mr Jonsson", and BTW it
> can be their mother's name e.g. if she has more fame or recognition
> than their father.

Your bringing up the phone directory is a good point. That's probably the
most widely-consulted list of people's names around, so it's worthwhile
following whatever conventions are laid out in each country/region's phone
books. (There's also the electoral roll, I suppose, but I would assume that
follows the same sorts of conventions as the phone book.)

> (2) Arabic names: you may or may not have their father's name. You
> might not even have the [usually only one] given name. For example: the
> person who was known as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi: this means "father of
> Musab, the man from Zarqa [a city in Jordan]". You may have the family
> name as well as the father's and grandfather's given name. You can have
> the occupation, honorifics, nicknames. For a brief overview, read this:

The question for me is: which part of his name would he share in common with
his brothers and sisters? That's the part I would call the "family name".

One might raise the issue of using names to trace genealogies, origins etc,
but that's not my concern here. I'm just trying to come up with a way to
represent names of individuals, in such a way that they can easily be found
(as in, for example, the local phone book).

>> I wonder if we need another "middle" field for holding the "bin/binte"
>> part (could also hold, e.g. "Van" for those names that use this).
> Not a good idea, IMHO. Consider "Nguyen Van Tran" vs 'Rembrandt van
> Rijn". Would you peel the Da off Da Costa but not the D' off
> D'Oliveiro? What do you do with the bod who fills in a form as Dermot
> O'Sullivan one month and Diarmaid Ó Súilleabháin the next?

The obvious question is, what does the local phone book do? How do the Dutch
phone books deal with all the "vans", and the Irish ones with all the "O"
or "O'"s? Do they put them under V and O respectively, or do they ignore
that part and look at the rest of the family name (which would make mor
sense to me)?

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