Why Spaniards have such a long name? –you might be asking yourself. Or we hope so–.
The vast majority of names in Spanish have either a Latin or Barbarian origin, due to their settlement throughout Europe back to the 5th century. The procedence of all names is now clear, but why the heck do you, guys, have 20 names and surnames? Well, maybe that was a little bit exaggerated.
Generally speaking, Spanish speakers tend to have 1 name (or 2) plus 2 surnames. Let’s inspect these names:
Enrique Rodríguez Vázquez
María José González Blanco
On this first example we can clearly see that the first person has 1 name and 2 surnames. The name is given by your parents and it’s free to choose. Unlike surnames, which are imposed.
Where do these surnames come from?
The origin of our surnames is a direct product of the evolution of private property. Back to the Middle Ages, when population was rising higher and higher people started to get confused while giving names to kids. Is he Felipe, or Felipe number 20 in this village? In order to avoid putting numbers with the names surnames came. As you can see, many surnames in Spanish have a familiar ending, specially -guez. This particular ending tells us “son of”, that’s all we need. So when we saw a name like Felipe, we’d be Felipe Rodriguez, which literally means Felipe, the son of Rodrigo.
As a result of civilization’s growing, one name wasn’t enough and so that’s how we developped two surnames. Now, the next question is: How is it possible that surnames are imposed?
Well, that’s a pretty simple question to answer. Since all our parents have two surnames, the system works like this: Once a child is born he/she’s given a name, for example Enrique, but in order not to mix it with another 200 million of Felipe’s all over the world we take the first surname on both, mother’s and father’s side. That way Enrique Rodríguez Vázquez means that:
- Name: Parents felt fancy about that name so they picked it.
- Surname 1: Father’s first surname.
- Surname 2: Mother’s first surname.
On second hand, María José Gónzalez Blanco means that their parents felt fancy about giving her not only 1, but two names and 2 imposed surnames.
But this system is not perfect and nowadays there’s a dispute on equality matters, on which society proclaim that their female surnames are always lost, as it is. But that’s another topic we’ll be discussing on our next post.
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Credits and pictures
Vector de Fondo creado por macrovector - www.freepik.es