Spanish naming customs are historical traditions for naming children practised in Spain. According to these customs, a person's name consists of a given name (simple or composite) followed by two family names (surnames). Historically, the first surname was the father's first surname, and the second the mother's first surname. In recent years, the order of the surnames in a family is decided when registering the first child, but the traditional order is still largely the choice. Often, the practice is to use one given name and the first surname only most of the time (e.g. "Miguel de Unamuno" for Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo), the complete name being typically reserved for legal, formal, and documentary matters; however, both surnames are sometimes systematically used when the first surname is very common (e.g., Federico García Lorca, Pablo Ruiz Picasso or José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero) so as to get a more customized name. In these cases, it is even common to use only the second surname, as in "Lorca", "Picasso" or "Zapatero". This does not affect alphabetization: discussions of "Lorca", the Spanish poet, must be alphabetized in an index under "García Lorca", never "Lorca".
A composite given name comprises two (or more) single names; for example Juan Pablo is considered not to be a first and a second forename, but a single composite forename.
The two surnames refer to each of the parental families. Traditionally, a person's first surname is the father's first surname (apellido paterno), while their second surname is the mother's first surname (apellido materno). For example, if a man named Eduardo Fernández Garrido marries a woman named María Dolores Martínez Ruiz and they have a child named José, there are several legal options, but their child would most usually be known as José Fernández Martínez.
Spanish gender equality law has allowed surname transposition since 1999, subject to the condition that every sibling must bear the same surname order recorded in the Registro Civil (civil registry), but there have been legal exceptions.
Since 2013, if the parents of a child were unable to agree on the order of surnames, an official would decide which is to come first, with the paternal name being the default option. The only requirement is that every son and daughter must have the same order of the surnames, so they cannot change it separately.
Since June 2017, adopting the paternal name first is no longer the standard method, and parents are required to sign an agreement wherein the name order is expressed explicitly. The law also grants a person the option, upon reaching adulthood, of reversing the order of their surnames. However, this legislation only applies to Spanish citizens; people of other nationalities are issued the surname indicated by the laws of their original country.
Each surname can also be composite, with the parts usually linked by the conjunction y or e (and), by the preposition de (of), or by a hyphen. For example, a person's name might be Juan Pablo Fernández de Calderón García-Iglesias, consisting of a forename (Juan Pablo), a paternal surname (Fernández de Calderón), and a maternal surname (García-Iglesias).
There are times when it is impossible, by inspection of a name, to correctly analyse it. For example, the writer Sebastià Juan Arbó was alphabetised by the Library of Congress for many years under "Arbó", assuming that Sebastià and Juan were both given names. However, "Juan" was actually his first surname. Resolving questions like this, which typically involve very common names ("Juan" is rarely a surname), often requires the consultation of the person involved or legal documents pertaining to them.
A man named José Antonio Gómez Iglesias would normally be addressed as either señor Gómez or señor Gómez Iglesias instead of señor Iglesias, because Gómez is his first surname. Furthermore, Mr. Gómez might be informally addressed as
Very formally, he could be addressed with an honorific such as don José Antonio or don José.
It is not unusual, when the first surname is very common, like García in the example above, for a person to be referred to formally using both family names, or casually by their second surname only. For example, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (elected President of the Spanish Government in the 2004 and 2008 general elections) is often called simply Zapatero, the name he inherited from his mother's family since Rodríguez is a common surname and may be ambiguous. The same occurs with another former Spanish Socialist leader, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, with the poet and dramatist Federico García Lorca, and with the painter Pablo Ruiz Picasso. As these people's paternal surnames are very common, they are often referred to by their maternal surnames (Rubalcaba, Lorca, Picasso). It would nonetheless be a mistake to index José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero under Z as "Zapatero", or Federico García Lorca under L as "Lorca".
In an English-speaking environment, Spanish-named people sometimes hyphenate their surnames to avoid Anglophone confusion or to fill in forms with only one space provided for last name, thus: Mr. José Antonio Gómez-Iglesias. A practical option to spare an explanation is using a single surname composed of two separate words.
Parents choose their child's given name, which must be recorded in the Registro Civil (Civil Registry) to establish his or her legal identity. With few restrictions, parents can now choose any name; common sources of names are the parents' taste, honouring a relative, the General Roman Calendar nomina (nominal register), and traditional Spanish names. Legislation in Spain under Franco legally limited cultural naming customs to only Christian (Jesus, Mary, saints) and typical Spanish names (Álvaro, Jimena, etc.). Although the first part of a composite forename generally reflects the gender of the child, the second personal name need not (e.g. José María Aznar). At present, the only naming limitation is the dignity of the child, who cannot be given an insulting name. Similar limitations applied against diminutive, familiar, and colloquial variants not recognized as names proper, and "those that lead to confusion regarding sex"; however, current law allows registration of diminutive names.
Girls are often named María, honouring the Virgin Mary, by appending either a shrine, place, or religious-concept suffix-name to María. In daily life, such women omit the "Mary of the ..." nominal prefix, and use the suffix portion of their composite names as their public, rather than legal, identity. Hence, women with Marian names such as María de los Ángeles (Mary of the Angels), María del Pilar (Mary of the Pillar), and María de la Luz (Mary of the Light), are normally addressed as Ángeles (Angels), Pilar (Pillar), and Luz (Light); however, each might be addressed as María. Nicknames such as Maricarmen for María del Carmen, Marisol for "María (de la) Soledad" ("Our Lady of Solitude", the Virgin Mary), Dolores or Lola for María de los Dolores ("Our Lady of Sorrows"), Mercedes or Merche for María de las Mercedes ("Our Lady of Mercy"), etc. are often used. Also, parents can simply name a girl María, or Mari without a suffix portion.
It is not unusual for a boy's formal name to include María, preceded by a masculine name, e.g. José María Aznar (Joseph Mary Aznar) or Juan María Vicencio de Ripperdá (John Mary Vicencio de Ripperdá). Equivalently, a girl can be formally named María José (Mary Joseph), e.g. skier María José Rienda, and informally named Marijose, Mariajo, Majo, Ajo, Josefa, Josefina, Fina, Pepa, Pepi, Chepi, Pepita, Marisé or even José in honor of St. Joseph. María as a masculine name is often abbreviated in writing as M. (José M. Aznar), Ma. (José Ma. Aznar), or M.ª (José M.ª Morelos). It is unusual for any names other than the religiously significant María and José to be used in this way except for the name Jesús that is also very common and can be used as "Jesús" or "Jesús María" for a boy and "María Jesús" for a girl, and can be abbreviated as "Sus", "Chus" and other nicknames.
The Registro Civil (Civil Registry) officially records a child's identity as composed of a forename (simple or composite) and the two surnames; however, a child can be religiously baptized with several forenames, e.g. Felipe Juan Froilán de Todos los Santos. Until the 1960s, it was customary to baptize children with three forenames: the first was the main and the only one used by the child; if parents agreed, one of the other two was the name of the day's saint. Nowadays, baptizing with three or more forenames is usually a royal and noble family practice.
In Spain, upon marrying, one does not change one's surname. In some instances, such as high society meetings, the partner's surname can be added after the person's surnames using the preposition de (of). An example would be a Leocadia Blanco Álvarez, married to a Pedro Pérez Montilla, may be addressed as Leocadia Blanco de Pérez or as Leocadia Blanco Álvarez de Pérez. This format is not used in everyday settings and has no legal value.
In the generational transmission of surnames, the paternal surname's precedence eventually eliminates the maternal surnames from the family lineage. Contemporary law (1999) allows the maternal surname to be given precedence, but most people observe the traditional paternal–maternal surname order. Therefore, the daughter and son of Ángela López Sáenz and Tomás Portillo Blanco are usually called Laura Portillo López and Pedro Portillo López but could also be called Laura López Portillo and Pedro López Portillo. The two surnames of all siblings must be in the same order when recorded in the Registro Civil.
Patrilineal surname transmission was not always the norm in Spanish-speaking societies. Prior to the mid-eighteenth century, when the current paternal-maternal surname combination norm was adopted, Hispanophone societies often practiced matrilineal surname transmission, giving children the maternal surname and occasionally giving children a grandparent's surname (borne by neither parent) for prestige – being perceived as gentry – and profit, flattering the matriarch or the patriarch in hope of inheriting land. Spanish naming customs include the orthographic option of conjoining the surnames with the conjunction particle y, or e before a name starting with 'I', 'Hi' or 'Y', (both meaning "and") (e.g., José Ortega y Gasset, Tomás Portillo y Blanco, or Eduardo Dato e Iradier), following an antiquated aristocratic usage.
Not every surname is a single word; such conjoining usage is common with doubled surnames (maternal-paternal), ancestral composite surnames bequeathed to the following generations – especially when the paternal surname is socially undistinguished. José María Álvarez del Manzano y López del Hierro is an example, his name comprising the composite single name José María and two composite surnames, Álvarez del Manzano and López del Hierro. Other examples derive from church place-names such as San José. When a person bears doubled surnames, the means of disambiguation is to insert y between the paternal and maternal surnames.
Occasionally, a person with a common paternal surname and an uncommon maternal surname becomes widely known by the maternal surname. Some examples include the artist Pablo Ruiz Picasso, the poet Federico García Lorca, and the politician José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. With a similar effect, the foreign paternal surname of the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Hughes Galeano (his father was British) is usually omitted. (As a boy, however, he occasionally signed his name as Eduardo Gius, using a Hispanicised approximation of the English pronunciation of "Hughes".) Such use of the second last name by itself is colloquial, however, and may not be applied in legal contexts.
Also rarely, a person may become widely known by both surnames, with an example being a tennis player Arantxa Sánchez Vicario – whereas her older brothers Emilio and Javier, also professional tennis players, are mainly known only by the paternal surname of Sánchez in everyday life, although they would formally be addressed as Sánchez Vicario.
Where Basque and Romance cultures have linguistically long coexisted, the surnames denote the father's name and the (family) house or town/village. Thus the Romance patronymic and the place-name are conjoined with the prepositional particle de ("from"+"provenance"). For example, in the name José Ignacio López de Arriortúa, the composite surname López de Arriortúa is a single surname, despite Arriortúa being the original family name. This can lead to confusion because the Spanish López and the Basque Arriortúa are discrete surnames in Spanish and Basque respectively. This pattern was also in use in other Basque districts, but was phased out in most of the Basque-speaking areas and only remained in place across lands of heavy Romance influence, i.e. some central areas of Navarre and most of Álava. To a lesser extent, this pattern has been also present in Castile, where Basque-Castilian bilingualism was common in northern and eastern areas up to the 13th century.
In Spanish, the preposition particle de ("of") is used as a conjunction in two surname spelling styles, and to disambiguate a surname. The first style is in patronymic and toponymic surname spelling formulæ, e.g. Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, Pedro López de Ayala, and Vasco Núñez de Balboa, as in many conquistador names.
The spellings of surnames containing the prepositional particle de are written in lower-case when they follow the name, thus José Manuel de la Rúa ("of the street") and Cunegunda de la Torre ("of the tower"), otherwise the upper-case spellings doctor De la Rúa and señora De la Torre are used.
Bearing the de particle does not necessarily denote a noble family, especially in eastern Castile, Alava, and western Navarre, the de usually applied to the place-name (town or village) from which the person and his or her ancestors originated. This differs from another practice established in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, i.e. the usage of de following the one's own name as a way of denoting the bearer's noble heritage to avoid the misperception that he or she is either a Jew or a Moor. In that time, many people, regardless of their true origins, used the particle, e.g. Miguel de Cervantes, Lope de Vega, etc.; moreover, following that fashion a high noble such as Francisco Sandoval Rojas called himself Francisco de Sandoval y Rojas. During the eighteenth century, the Spanish nobility fully embraced the French custom of using de as a nobility identifier, however, commoners also bore the de particle, which made the de usages unclear; thus, nobility was emphasised with the surname's lineage.
In the sixteenth century, the Spanish adopted the copulative conjunction y ("and") to distinguish a person's surnames; thus the Andalusian Baroque writer Luis de Góngora y Argote (1561–1627), the Aragonese painter Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828), the Andalusian artist Pablo Diego Ruiz y Picasso (1881–1973), and the Madrilenian liberal philosopher José Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955). In Hispanic America, this spelling convention was common to clergymen (e.g. Salvadoran Bishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez), and sanctioned by the Ley de Registro Civil (Civil Registry Law) of 1870, requiring birth certificates indicating the paternal and maternal surnames conjoined with y – thus, Felipe González y Márquez and José María Aznar y López are the respective true names of the Spanish politicians Felipe González Márquez and José María Aznar López; however, unlike in Catalan, the Spanish usage is infrequent. In the Philippines, y and its associated usages are retained only in formal state documents such as police records, but is otherwise dropped in favour of a more American-influenced naming order.
The conjunction y avoids denominational confusion when the paternal surname might appear to be a (first) name: without it, the physiologist Santiago Ramón y Cajal might appear to be named Santiago Ramón (composite) and surnamed Cajal, likewise the jurist Francisco Tomás y Valiente, and the cleric Vicente Enrique y Tarancón. Without the conjunction, the footballer Rafael Martín Vázquez, when referred to by his surnames Martín Vázquez mistakenly appears to be forenamed Martín rather than Rafael, whilst, to his annoyance, the linguist Fernando Lázaro Carreter occasionally was addressed as Don Lázaro, rather than as Don Fernando (Lázaro can be either forename or surname).
Moreover, when the maternal surname begins with an i vowel sound, written with either the vowel I (Ibarra), the vowel Y (Ybarra archaic spelling) or the combination Hi + consonant (Higueras), Spanish euphony substitutes e in place of y, thus the example of the Spanish statesman Eduardo Dato e Iradier (1856–1921).
To communicate a person's social identity, Spanish naming customs provide orthographic means, such as suffix-letter abbreviations, surname spellings, and place names, which denote and connote the person's place in society.
h. (son of): A man named like his father, might append the lower-case suffix h. (denoting hijo, son) to his surname, thus distinguishing himself, Juan Gómez Marcos, h., from his father, Juan Gómez Marcos; the English analogue is "Jr." (junior).
Following the Visigothic invasion of the Iberian peninsula, the local population adopted to a large extent a patronymic naming system: the Latin genitive suffix -icī, meaning son of would be attached to the name of a man's father. This suffix gradually evolved into different forms, depending on the local language: -ez, -es, -is, -iz, etc.
As such, the son of Sancho would be called:
And the son of Jimeno/Ximeno/Ximen would be called:
Apart from natural spelling variations (such as using Giménez or Ximénez), language contact has brought a number of crossed versions, showing characteristics from multiple languages. It is possible to find the Catalan politician Jordi Sànchez (who has a Spanish surname spelled the Catalan way) or the journalist Vicenç Sanchis (who has a Catalan surname spelled the Spanish way).
Not every similar surname is patronymic. Occasionally the suffix was used to denote a professional or geographical origin, such as in the surnames Claves (son of keys, that is son of a locksmith) or Torres (son of a tower, that is from the tower). Furthermore, due to the letters z and s being pronounced alike in Latin American dialects of Spanish many non-patronymic surnames with an -es have come to be written with an -ez. In Hispano-American Spanish, the -ez spellings of Chávez (Hugo Chávez), Cortez (Alberto Cortez) and Valdez (Nelson Valdez) are not patronymic surnames, but simply variant spellings of the Iberian Spanish spelling with -es, as in the names of Manuel Chaves, Hernán Cortés and Víctor Valdés. For more on the -z surnames in Spanish see Influences on the Spanish language.
A number of the most common surnames with this suffix are:
Anonymous foundlings were a naming problem for civil registrars, but such anonymous children were often named toponymically, after the town where they were found. Because most foundlings were reared in church orphanages, they were often given the surnames Iglesia or Iglesias (church[es]) and Cruz (cross). Blanco (connoting "blank" here, rather than the more usual "white") was another option. A toponymical first surname might be followed by Iglesia or Cruz as the second surname.
Foundlings often were surnamed Expósito/Expósita (Lat. exposĭtus, "exposed", connoting "foundling"), which marked them, and their descendants, as of low caste and social class, people without social pedigree. In the Catalan language, the surname Deulofeu ("made by God") was often given to foundlings. In 1921, Spanish law allowed the surname Expósito to be changed without charge.
In Aragón, anonymous children used to receive the family surname Gracia ("grace") or de Gracia as well, because they were thought to survive by the grace of God.
In Spain, legal and illegal foreign immigrants retain use of their cultural naming customs, yet upon becoming Spanish citizens, they are legally obliged to assume Spanish-style names (a name and two surnames). If the naturalised person is from a one-surname culture, the actual surname is duplicated; therefore, the English name "George Albert Duran" becomes the Spanish name "George Albert Duran Duran", yet the law optionally allows him to adopt his mother's maiden name (her surname) as his maternal (second) surname. Formally, Spanish naming customs conflate his name "George" and his middle-name "Albert" to the composite name "George Albert", and his sole surname, "Duran", is duplicated as his paternal and maternal surnames.
Historically, flamenco artists seldom used their proper names. According to the flamenco guitarist Juan Serrano, this was because flamenco was considered disreputable and they did not want to embarrass their families:
We have to start with the history of the gypsies in Spain. They gained a bad reputation because of the minor crimes they had to commit to survive. They did not have any kind of jobs, they had to do something to live, and of course this created hostility. And Flamenco was the music of the Gypsies, so many high society people did not accept it – they said Flamenco was in the hands of criminals, bandits, et cetera. And the girls, that maybe liked dancing or singing, their parents said, "Oh no, you want to be a prostitute!".— Juan Serrano, interview in Guitar International, Nov 1987
This tradition has persisted to the present day, even though Flamenco is now legitimate. Sometimes the artistic name consists of the home town appended to the first name (Manolo Sanlúcar, Ramón de Algeciras); but many, perhaps most, of such names are more eccentric: Pepe de la Matrona (because his mother was a midwife); Perico del Lunar (because he had a mole); Tomatito (son of a father known as Tomate (tomato) because of his red face); Sabicas (because of his childhood passion for green beans, from niño de las habicas); Paco de Lucía, born Francisco ("Paco") Gustavo Sánchez Gomes, was known from infancy after his Portuguese mother, Lucía Gomes (de Lucía = [son] of Lucía). And many more.
Many Spanish names can be shortened into hypocoristic, affectionate "child-talk" forms using a diminutive suffix, especially -ito and -cito (masculine) and -ita and -cita (feminine). Sometimes longer than the person's name, a nickname is usually derived via linguistic rules. However, in contrast to English use, hypocoristic names in Spanish are only used to address a person in a very familiar environment – the only exception being when the hypocoristic is an artistic name (e.g. Nacho Duato born Juan Ignacio Duato). The common English practice of using a nickname in the press or media, or even on business cards (such as Bill Gates instead of William Gates), is not accepted in Spanish, being considered excessively colloquial. The usages vary by country and region; these are some usual names and their nicknames:
The official recognition of Spain's other written languages – Catalan, Basque, and Galician – legally allowed the autonomous communities to re-establish their vernacular social identity, including the legal use of personal names in the local languages and written traditions – banned since 1938 – sometimes via the re-spelling of names from Castilian Spanish to their original languages.
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The Basque-speaking territories (the Basque Autonomous Community and Navarre) usually follow Spanish naming customs (given names + two family names, the two family names being usually the father's and the mother's).
The given names are officially in one language (Basque or Spanish) but often people use a translated or shortened version. A bilingual Basque-Spanish speaker will not necessarily bear a Basque name, and a monolingual Spanish speaker can use a Basque name or a Basque hypocoristic of an official Spanish name; e.g. a Francisco (official Spanish name) may be known as Patxi (Basque hypocoristic).
Some Basque-language names and surnames are foreign transliterations into the Basque tongue, e.g. Ander (English: "Andrew"; Spanish: Andrés), Mikel (English: "Michael"; Spanish: Miguel), or Ane (English: "Anne"; Spanish: Ana). In some cases, the name's original-language denotation is translated to Basque, e.g., Zutoia and Zedarri denote the Spanish Pilar (English: "Pillar"). Moreover, some originally Basque names, such as Xabier and Eneko (English "Xavier" and "Inigo") have been transliterated into Spanish (Javier and Íñigo).
Recently, Basque names without a direct equivalent in other languages have become popular, e.g. Aitor (a legendary patriarch), Hodei ("cloud"), Iker ("to investigate"), and Amaia ("the end"). Some Basque names without a direct Spanish meaning, are unique to the Basque language, for instance, Eneko, Garikoitz, Urtzi. Basque names, rather than Spanish names, are preponderant in the Basque Country, countering the Spanish-name imposition of the Franco régime requiring people being given only Spanish names at birth. After Franco's death and the restoration of democracy in Spain, many Basque adults changed their Spanish names to the Basque equivalent, e.g. from Miguel to Mikel.
A source for modern Basque names is Sabino Arana's Deun-Ixendegi Euzkotarra ("Basque saint-name collection", published in 1910). Instead of the traditional Basque adaptations of Romance names, he proposed others he made up and that in his opinion were truer to the originals and adapted better to the Basque phonology. For example, his brother Luis became Koldobika, from Frankish Hlodwig. The traditionals Peru (from Spanish "Pedro"), Pello or Piarres (from French "Pierre"), all meaning "Peter", became Kepa from Aramaic כיפא (Kepha). He believed that the suffix -[n]e was inherently feminine, and new names like Nekane ("pain"+ne,"Dolores") or Garbiñe ("clean"+ne, "Immaculate [Conception]") are frequent among Basque females.
Basque surnames usually denote the patronymic house of the bearer; e.g. Etxebarria – "the new house", from etxe (house) + barri (new) + a (the), denotes "related to a so-named farmhouse"; in the same way, Garaikoetxea – "the house in the heights", garai ("height") + etxe ("house") + a (the). Sometimes, surnames denote not the house itself but a characteristic of the place, e.g. Saratxaga – "willow-place", from saratze ("willow") + -aga ("place of"); Loyola, from loi ("mud") + ola ("iron smithery"); Arriortua – "stone orchard", from harri ("stone") + ortua ("orchard"). Before the 20th century all Basque men were considered nobles (indeed, some Basque surnames, e.g. Irujo or Medoza, were related to some of the oldest Spanish noble families), and many of them used their status to emigrate with privileges to other regions of the Spanish Empire, especially the Americas, due to which some Basque surnames became common to the Spanish-American world; e.g. Mendoza – "cold mountain", from mendi ("mountain" + hotza ("cold"); Salazar – "Old hall", from sala ("hall") + zahar ("old"). Until 1978, Spanish was the single official language of the Spanish civil registries and Basque surnames had to be registered according to the Spanish phonetical rules (for example, the Spanish "ch" sound merges the Basque "ts", "tx", and "tz", and someone whose surname in Standard Basque would be "Krutxaga" would have to write it as "Cruchaga", letter "k" also not being used in Spanish). Although the democratic restoration ended this policy, allowing surnames to be officially changed into their Basque phonology, there still are many people who hold Spanish-written Basque surnames, even in the same family: a father born before 1978 would be surnamed "Echepare" and his children, "Etxepare". This policy even changed the usual pronunciation of some Basque surnames. For instance, in Basque, the letter "z" maintained a sibilant "s"-like sound, while Spanish changed it; thus, a surname such as "Zabala" should be properly read similar to "sabala" (Basque pronunciation: [s̻abala]), although in Spanish, because the "z" denotes a "th" sound ([θ]), it would be read as "Tha-bala" (Spanish pronunciation: [θaˈβala]). However, since the letter "z" exists in Spanish, the registries did not force the Zabalas to transliterate their surname.
In the Basque provinces of Biscay and Gipuzkoa, it was uncommon to take a surname from the place (town or village) where one resided, unless one was a foundling; in general, people bearing surnames such as Bilbao (after the Basque city of Bilbao) are descendants of foundlings. However, in the Basque province of Alava and, to a lesser extent, in Navarre, it was common to add one's birth village to the surname using the Spanish particle de to denote a toponymic, particularly when the surname was a common one; for instance, someone whose surname was Lopez and whose family was originally from the valley of Ayala could employ Lopez de Ayala as a surname. This latter practice is also common in Castile.
Basque compound surnames are relatively common, and were created with two discrete surnames, e.g. Elorduizapaterietxe – Elordui + Zapaterietxe, a practice denoting family allegiances or the equal importance of both families. This custom sometimes conduced to incredibly long surnames, for compound surnames could be used to create others; for example, the longest surname recorded in Spain is Basque, Burionagonatotoricagageazcoechea, formed by Buriona+ Gonatar + Totorika + Beazcoetxea.
Finally, the nationalist leader Sabino Arana pioneered a naming custom of transposing the name-surname order to what he thought was the proper Basque language syntax order; e.g. the woman named Miren Zabala would be referred to as Zabalatar Miren – the surname first, plus the -tar suffix denoting "from a place", and then the name. Thus, Zabalatar Miren means "Miren, of the Zabala family". The change in the order is effected because in the Basque tongue, declined words (such as Zabalatar) that apply to a noun are uttered before the noun itself; another example of this would be his pen name, Arana ta Goiritar Sabin. This Basque naming custom was used in nationalist literature, not in formal, official documents wherein the Castilian naming convention is observed.
The Catalan-speaking territories also abide by the Spanish naming customs, yet usually the discrete surnames are joined with the word i ("and"), instead of the Spanish y, and this practice is very common in formal contexts. For example, the former president of the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia) is formally called El Molt Honorable Senyor Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó. Furthermore, the national language policy enumerated in article 19.1 of Law 1/1998 stipulates that "the citizens of Catalonia have the right to use the proper regulation of their Catalan names and surnames and to introduce the conjunction between surnames".
The correction, translation, and surname-change are regulated by the Registro Civil (Civil Registry) with the Decree 138/2007 of 26 June, modifying the Decree 208/1998 of 30 July, which regulates the accration of the linguistic correctness of names. The attributes and functions of Decree 138/2007 of 26 July regulate the issuance of language-correction certificates for translated Catalan names, by the Institut d'Estudis Catalans (Institute of Catalan Studies) in Barcelona. Nevertheless, there are Catalan surnames that conform to neither the current spelling rules nor to the traditionally correct Catalan spelling rules; a language-correction certification can be requested from the institute, for names such as these:
Many Catalan names are shortened to hypocoristic forms using only the final portion of the name (unlike Spanish, which mostly uses only the first portion of the name), and with a diminutive suffix (-et, -eta/-ita). Thus, shortened Catalan names taking the first portion of the name are probably influenced by the Spanish tradition. The influence of Spanish in hypocoristics is recent since it became a general fashion only in the twentieth century and specially since Francisco Franco's dictatorship; example Catalan names are:
The Galician-speaking areas also abide by the Spanish naming customs. Main differences are the usage of Galician given names and surnames.
Most Galician surnames have their origin in local toponymies, being these either Galician regions (Salnés < Salnés, Carnota, Bergantiños), towns (Ferrol, Noia), parishes or villages (as Andrade). Just like elsewhere, many surnames were also generated from jobs or professions (Carpinteiro 'carpenter', Cabaleiro 'Knight', Ferreiro 'Smith', Besteiro 'Crossbowman'), physical characteristics (Gago 'Twangy', Tato 'Stutterer', Couceiro 'Tall and thin', Bugallo 'fat', Pardo 'Swarthy'), or origin of the person (Franco and Francés 'French', Portugués 'Portuguese').
Although many Galician surnames have been historically adapted into Spanish phonetics and orthography, they are still clearly recognizable as Galician words: Freijedo, Spanish adaptation of freixedo 'place with ash-trees'; Seijo from seixo 'stone'; Doval from do Val 'of the Valley'; Rejenjo from Reguengo, Galician evolution of local Latin-Germanic word Regalingo 'Royal property'.
Specially relevant are the Galician surnames originated from medieval patronymics, present in local documentation since the 9th century, and popularized from the 12th century on. Although many of them have been historically adapted into Spanish orthography, phonetics and traditions, many are still characteristically Galician; most common ones are:
Some of them (namely Páez, Méndez, Vázquez) are characteristically Galician due to the drop of intervocalic -l-, -d-, -g- and -n-, but the most present surnames in Galicia could also be of Spanish origin (although Lugo is the only province in Spain with a majority of people surnamed López).
Some common Galician names are:
Nicknames are usually obtained from the end of a given name, or through derivation. Common suffixes include masculine -iño, -ito (as in Sito, from Luisito), -echo (Tonecho, from Antonecho) and -uco (Farruco, from Francisco); and feminine -iña, -ucha/uxa (Maruxa, Carmucha, from Maria and Carme), -uca (Beluca, from Isabeluca), and -ela (Mela, from Carmela).
As the provincial Surname distribution map (above) indicates, Mohamed is an often-occurring surname in the autonomous Merranean North African cities of Ceuta and Melilla (respectively registered 10,410 and 7,982 occurrences), Hispanophone Muslims use the Spanish "Mohamed" spelling for "Muhammad". As such, it is often a component of Arabic names for men; hence, many Ceutan and Melillan Muslims share surnames despite not sharing a common ancestry. Furthermore, Mohamed (Muhammad) is the most popular name for new-born boys, thus it is not unusual to encounter a man named Mohamed Mohamed Mohamed: the first occurrence is the given name, the second occurrence is the paternal surname, and the third occurrence is the maternal surname.
In English, the Chicago Manual of Style recommends that Spanish and Hispanophone names be indexed by the family name. When there are two family names, the indexing is done under the father's family name; this would be the first element of the surname if the father's and mother's or husband's family names are joined by a y. Depending upon the person involved, the particle de may be treated as a part of a family name or it may be separated from a family name. The indexing of Hispanophone names differs from that of Portuguese or Lusophone names, where the final element of the name is indexed because the Portuguese custom is for the father's surname to follow, rather than precede, the mother's. The effect is that the father's surname is the one indexed both for Spanish and Portuguese names.
Puedes usar sólo el primer apellido si es poco frecuente. Ejemplo: Germán Oramas
Articles 53 & 54 (in Spanish)
Si la filiación está determinada por ambas líneas, el padre y la madre de común acuerdo podrán decidir el orden de transmisión de su respectivo primer apellido, antes de la inscripción registral. Si no se ejercita esta opción, regirá lo dispuesto en la ley. El orden de apellidos inscrito para el mayor de los hijos regirá en las inscripciones de nacimiento posteriores de sus hermanos del mismo vínculo. (If the affiliation is determined by both lines, the father and mother may by agreement determine the order of transmission of its respective first name before registration. If this option is not exercised, the provisions of law shall apply. The order of names registered for the eldest sibling governed the registration in subsequent siblings of the same link.)
Para garantizar el derecho de las personas a la libre elección del nombre propio, se deroga la prohibición de inscribir como nombre propio los diminutivos o variantes familiares y coloquiales que no hayan alcanzado sustantividad
En los supuestos de nacimiento con una sola filiación reconocida, ésta determina los apellidos, pudiendo el progenitor que reconozca su condición de tal determinar, al tiempo de la inscripción, el orden de los apellidos. (In those cases where only one affiliation is recognized, it is this affiliation that determines the surnames, being the recognizing parent's right to choose, at the moment of inscription, the order of the surnames.)