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Dear Sirs,

My mother tongue is Malayalam, a language spoken in the southen state of India.
In our language we do not split the name of a person into First name, Last name etc.
As such I have some difficuly in understanding this concept of name classification in English.

For example, my name is Dileep kumar K.G - is my first name 'Dileep' or is it 'Kumar' .
Where I have to put my Initials K.G ? is it Middle?

Thank you for you help.

-dileep.
New Member35
Is one of your names shared by everyone in your family, and passed on to the children? That is the last name or surname.

Any individual names picked out just for you by your parents, they are your first and middle names. Use whichever you are called on a day to day basis as your first name.

I'm a bit confused by the initials - do they stand for anything?
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Thank you very much nona the brit.

Your explanation is simple and excellent.

Natuarly, there are certain difference between languages and caltures. For example, in our family we do not share any one name. Does it mean that we do not have any last name or surname ? but unfortuantly every form on the internet insist for a last name.

The initials stand for fathers's name and house name.

Wish you a happy Christmas !

-dileep
Hi Dileepk,

My two cents on this topic. In India, people generally don't use last name, rather they form names in a different way.

For example, 'John' is son of 'Smith'. ( John--> Son; Smith--> Father). In India, name of John would be S. John (Here, S is the first letter of first name of John's father). But, in USA-not sure about other countries,though-John's name would be 'John Smith', where 'John' is first name , and 'Smith' is last name.
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I can see your dilemma then Dileepk.

I think you have two choices. Create a westernised version of your name, using your fathers name as surname and not just his initial, or just pick one of your names as a surname.When people are addressing you in a formal way with the equivalant of 'Mr.' which name do they use? That would be the one to use as your surname.
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I think in the UK someoneone in your situation would use Dileep as their first/given name and Kumar as their surname. Kumar is an 'Indian' surname over here. We even have a TV show called 'The Kumars at number 42' which features a family with the surname Kumar.
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Dileep - I know different cultures have different customs regarding names, but I didn't realize that India was so different. Didn't all those years of British influence establish the custom of first names and last names? I agree with Nona - Kumar sounds like a last name to me. (I know Indian people in the U.S. who have the last name Kumar.) Could you tell us a little more about how names are used in your family? What is your father's complete name? What are the complete names of your brothers or sisters? What do your friends call you? What do your friends call your father? First and last names are so natural to most of us that we can hardly imagine a different system! Thanks for discussing this with us.

Also -- what do you mean by "house name"??
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Hello Khoff and Nona,

I appreciate your interest on this topic. The confusion about 'last name' of Indians arises because the 'first name' of Indians can have two words/names. In US, it is very common that a 'first name' would have only one name, but in the case an Indian first name, there can be two words/names. For example,

Ram Kumar, Ravi Kumar, Mohan Kumar ..etc. Here, 'Kumar' is not last name, but only part of first name. Even in the case of Dileep Kumar, still 'Kumar' is part of the first name and his father's name might start with an alphabet 'K'.However, let us wait for Dileep's response.Emotion: smile
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For example, 'John' is son of 'Smith'. ( John--> Son; Smith--> Father). In India, name of John would be S. John (Here, S is the first letter of first name of John's father). But, in USA-not sure about other countries,though-John's name would be 'John Smith', where 'John' is first name , and 'Smith' is last name.


Krish -- I think this example is a bit confusing, because "Smith" is generally a last name. John Smith's father's name is probably something like Charles Smith. They have the same last name; John does not have his father's first name as his last name. Are you saying that in India, if John was the son of Charles he would be called C. John??

Ram Kumar, Ravi Kumar, Mohan Kumar ..etc. Here, 'Kumar' is not last name, but only part of first name. Even in the case of Dileep Kumar, still 'Kumar' is part of the first name and his father's name might start with an alphabet 'K'.However, let us wait for Dileep's response

Krish, while we're waiting for Dileep would you explain this more? If someone's name is, for example, Ran Kumar, and you say those are both "first names" - is there no other name? Do family members share any common name? Here's how a typical family would be named in the U.S. -- could you give us a chart like this for India?

father -- Robert David Jones. His wife and his friends call him "Bob" (nickname for Robert.) He is a doctor. His patients call him "Dr. Jones."

mother -- Elizabeth Ann Jones. Before marriage, her name was Elizabeth Ann Smith. (Nowadays, some women keep their original name, but most take the husband's surname. Some women use their former last name as a new middle name, like Elizabeth Smith Jones, or possibly Elizabeth Ann Smith Jones.) Her nickname might be either Liz or Betty, or she might just prefer Elizabethand not have a nickname. She is a teacher. Her pupils call her "Mrs. Jones." (If she had kept her original name, she would be "Ms. Smith.")

Children: Brittany Sue Jones, Ashley Jordan Jones, Thomas Edward Jones. (In some families, the oldest boy might be named "Robert Jones, Junior." He would probably be called "Bobby" to distinguish him from his father.)

As you can see, everyone in this family has the same surname -- Jones. In some families ther might be more than one surname -- for example, if Elizabeth Jones divorces Robert Jones and marries Joe Shmoe, her children would probably choose to keep Jones as their last name. But usually everyone in a family has the same last name, which is why it is called the "family name."

Middle names are optional -- most people have them, but not everyone. In some cases, especially in the South of the U.S., the first name and middle name are always used together, so that Mary Lou Stevens would be called "Mary Lou," but most people are just called by their first name. You would not know if Mary Lou Stevens wanted to be called "Mary" or "Mary Lou" unless she told you.

If you could give an explanation like this for how things work in India, I would be very interested. And please explain what is a "house name"??
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