People's names (was Re: sqlite3 error)

Steve Holden steve at
Mon Oct 9 09:22:22 CEST 2006

Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
> 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)?
Don't forget the UK, where the scots are accommodated by filing Mc 
before Mac everywhere except the 'phone book, where IIRC they are 
treated as equivalent.

Steve Holden       +44 150 684 7255  +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC/Ltd
Skype: holdenweb
Recent Ramblings

More information about the Python-list mailing list