Spanish Naming Conventions – The Fundamentals

Spanish Naming Conventions – The Fundamentals

With all the impact that Spanish tradition has already established across the world, you could well have Spanish origins someplace in your loved ones tree.

For all those not really acquainted with Spanish naming conventions, finding and exploring ancestors can be a small perplexing.

Today we start with component 1 of our Spanish Naming Conventions series – The Principles

We’ll progress beyond that in the following few areas of this show but, as with every things, let’s start in the beginning…

Starting Out

Lots of you will notice that Spanish names are generally much longer than in several other countries. By longer I don’t mean they’ve more letters, i am talking about they will have more words.

Before we enter into why here is the instance it’s crucial to know that the thought of a “Middle Name” doesn’t occur in Spanish naming conventions.

Once you neglect the Middle Name, comprehending the name that is full somewhat easier.

Throughout this post I’ll make use of the present Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and their family members, for instance to describe Spanish tradition naming conventions.

Bear in mind though, that where i take advantage of the term Spain or Spanish, I’m actually talking about Spanish tradition expanding all over the world, not only tradition through the nation of Spain.

First/Given Names

In Spanish countries, individuals either get one or two offered names. By way of example Juan or, such as the Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis.

Remember that, as stated above, Luis just isn’t the Prime Minister’s center title but section of a complete, solitary, given name – Jose Luis.


In Spanish countries, individuals usually have actually 2 surnames.

The first is the paternal surname (apellido paterno), the father’s very very first surname, and also the second could be the maternal surname (apellido materno), the mother’s very first surname.

Because you can have realised, which means that that which we would phone the mother’s maiden title, is handed down a further generation compared to traditional Anglophone cultures.

Returning to our friend Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, utilising the information above we currently realize that Rodriguez is their paternal surname and Zapatero is their maternal surname.

This time in regards to the paternal surname coming first as well as the surname that is maternal 2nd is definitely an essential someone to keep in mind, as we’ll discuss below into the paragraph on how to deal with some body by their surname.

Hitched Names and Children’s Names

In Spanish tradition, females usually do not alter their title whenever hitched.

just What which means is the fact that the mom, daddy and kids in one single household will all, generally, have actually various surnames.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is hitched to Sonsoles Espinosa Diaz (Espinosa is her paternal surname and Diaz is her maternal surname) and their children’s names are Laura Rodriguez Espinosa and Alba Rodriguez Espinosa.

Handling Somebody By Their Surname

Whenever handling some body by their surname in Spanish countries, as a general rule you utilize their paternal surname.

Therefore, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will be referred to as Senor Rodriguez, not Senor Zapatero.

Without wanting to confuse you, you will need to keep in mind that dropping the paternal surname is perhaps perhaps not uncommon when it’s an extremely typical one.

This is actually the situation because of the Prime Minister that is former of, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whom, due to just just exactly how common the surname Rodriguez is, is in fact called Zapatero.

That having been stated, concentrate on the rule that is general you ought to be okay.

Additionally, take into account that it is more popular amongst Hispanic countries when you look at the Americas to hyphenate the 2 surnames. This will be an effort to prevent confusion whenever working with Anglophone countries that aren’t acquainted with Spanish naming conventions.

Let’s leave it there for the time being as this was a exemplary begin and can help those of you not really acquainted with Spanish naming conventions to obtain up to speed on what these conventions will vary to those you may be much more knowledgeable about. Us comment below if you have an interesting Spanish surname, leave.



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