Personal identifying names are find in every known culture, and they often pass from one language to another. Hence the occurrence of Native American place name throughout the United States and the occurrence.
The use of personal names apparently began at a very early stage in human history. With single names of persons presumably coming into use earlier than double ones.
English surnames developed in the late Middle Ages and, apart from patronymics have a variety of origins; they come from places (Lincoln, Garfield, Cleveland)The Welsh, in translating their patronymic (ap=son of) settled on English forms ending in s. Hence Welsh names such as Davis (from David) and Jones.
In Icelandic the surname is patronymic, and it changes from generation to generation. French de, when written separately, like German von, is deem to mark a noble name.
Although in most European themes the surname follows the given names, Hungarian names tend to reverse this order, as do names in Chinese, Japanese, and other languages. Spanish practice varies by country; one common usage gives a surname combining those of each parent, e.g., Serrano y Domínguez or Serrano Domínguez, for one whose father was a Serrano and mother a Domínguez.
In Russian, the middle name consists of the father’s forename with a patronymic suffix, e.g., Nikolayevich. In the Roman republic three names were use, the forename (praenomen), of which there were fewer than 20; the gens or tribe names; and finally the family name Africanus, for victory in Africa, in the case of Scipio.
Amharic names are concatenations of the child’s given name and the father’s given name. Native American names often referred to elements in nature or attributed special traits to the person.
In the Western world, a woman traditionally adopted the family names of her husband at the time of her marriage. Since the mid-20th cent. women in the United States have increasingly adopted the practice of retaining their maiden, or parental, surname beyond the time of marriage; other women and some couples have adopted surnames that combine those of each partner.
In many cultures, the name is of supernatural significance. Besides animistic commonplaces such as naming a child after a lucky person or a wily animal. There are widespread taboo practices. Such as not naming a child after a living relative or changing the name on the death of a namesake, or avoiding the name of a family totem.
In some icon the name give the child at birth is temporary and is replace with another at puberty, or whenever the individual attains a new age grade.
In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the name has great significance, especially in the case of divine names; thus Jews did not utter the name of God. The ancient Hebrew ben was affix to the father’s given name to form a family name. Although in some religious practices a child was referr to by a formula that substitute the mother’s given name for the fathers.
Christians have traditionally baptized children with an appropriately Christian name, especially the name of a saint, henceforth the patron; an additional name is take at confirmation. The Puritans discouraged the use of any but biblical first names. The practice of changing names by court action is commonly adopte to afford a clear record.
Among proper names, a distinction is made between names of individual entities, such as “Pushkin” or “the author of Titus Andronicus” and names of classes, for example, “humanity” as the proper name of the class of all people. Proper names of classes of entities should be distinguish from common names, for example, “man”. The name of a class applies to the whole class as a single entity but not to each element of the class. Whereas common names may be apply to each element of the appropriate class but not to the class as a whole.
Simple, or elementary, names—that is, names that do not consist of other names or other meaningful linguistic expressions—are distinguished from complex names. That is, names constructed from significant parts. In formalized languages a constant is an analog of a proper name. With individual constants corresponding to proper names of entities and class constants to proper names of classes; variables and terms are analogs of common names.
Proper names in formalized languages are subdivided into primary proper names. Which are given specific meanings, and names, which are constructed from primary names. That is, names whose structure reflects how they refer to entities.