Surname

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A surname is a name added to a given name and is part of a personal name. In many cases, a surname is a family name; the family-name meaning of "surname" first appeared in 1375.[1] Many dictionaries define "surname" as a synonym of "family name". In Western countries, it is also commonly known as a "last name," while in Hungary and in many countries of East Asia, the family name is placed before the individual's given name.

Contents

Order of words

In some cultures, including those of most Western countries, the surname or family name ("last name") is placed after the personal or given name ("first name"). In other cultures the surname is placed first, followed by the given name or names; this is the case in Hungary, South India and countries in the Chinese cultural sphere including Japan, Korea, Vietnam and China.

In Japan and Hong Kong (China), when people of Japanese or Hong Kong Chinese origin, respectively, write their personal name in the Latin alphabet, it is common to reverse the order of the given and family names for the convenience of Westerners. Hungarians do the same when interacting with other Europeans. Reversing the order of names[citation needed] is also somewhat common in Estonian and Finnish, which are Finno-Ugric languages like Hungarian.

Formation

Name etymologists classify European surnames under five categories, depending on their origin: given name, occupational name, location name, nickname, and ornamental name.[2][3] This classification can be extended to surnames originating elsewhere.

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