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17:58 Jan 27, 2003
French to English translations [PRO] Social Sciences - Linguistics / order of names
French term or phrase:first and second name
I know that in documents in France (and Belgium?) the given name normally follows the family name. I am translating a Congolese birth certificate. The person in question is called (I've changed the names) ABRAKADABRA JEANNE (the second name is recognisably a French given name) but the father is called AMELA ABRAKADABRA. Now is it possible that the father's given name becomes the daughter's family name? Or can you think of another explanation for the order?
Explanation: Après vérification, il s'avère qu'il n'est pas rare du tout que le prénom du père devienne le nom de famille du fils ou de la fille. D'autant plus que le nom de famille n'est devenu obligatoire que très récemment dans certains pays d'Afrique. L'alternative étant une construction du style "fille de" ou "fils de" + prénom comme le bon vieux Johnson en anglais.
My difficulty is that up till then I had been helpfully reversing the name orders to comply with British order (as my British audience often does not recognise French given names) but unless someone tells me the nomenclature system in Congo, I'll have to put the order back as it was in case this is a case of inconsistency. Help!
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Explanation: My guess is that the same name is always the faimly name as French speakers often invert them. There must be a French-speaking Belgian out there somewhere who can help.
Jim Collis Spain Local time: 16:08 Native speaker of: English