Why are Spanish surnames so long | Language Institute Regina Coeli (2023)

Spanish surnames are often impressively long. That is because a child is given the surnames of both parents at birth. The first surname is that of the father, the second of the mother. In principle, then, children never have exactly the same surnames as their parents.

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In Spain, your surname never changes as it can do in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands when you get married. However, if a Spanish girl marries somebody from the United Kingdom or the Netherlands, then she can take on her husband’s name, too.

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FAQs

Why are Spanish surnames so long? ›

Spanish surnames are often impressively long. That is because a child is given the surnames of both parents at birth. The first surname is that of the father, the second of the mother. In principle, then, children never have exactly the same surnames as their parents.

Why are so many Hispanic last names hyphenated? ›

The two surnames names are ancestral, with the father's family name followed by the mother's family name. In Colombia, for example, “Ernesto Escobar Vega” uses two surnames (“Escobar Vega ”) as his legal name, with “Escobar” coming from his father and “Vega” coming from his mother.

How do long Spanish names work? ›

Spaniards have a personal name(s) followed by two surnames – the father's paternal family name and then the mother's paternal family name. For example: Hector Marίa GONZALEZ LÓPEZ. People may have two personal names (e.g. Hector Marίa).

Why are last names important in Hispanic families? ›

The reason is that people carry their father's last name their entire lives as part of their identity. So when Hispanic women marry, they simply keep their names as they always are. Hispanic families identify each other in society through the family name, which is the father's.

Why do Spanish have 2 surnames? ›

In Spain and Spanish American countries, except Argentina, each person has two surnames. Traditionally, the first surname is paternal and comes from the father, while the second surname is maternal and comes from the mother.

Why do Spanish people have 3 last names? ›

Once you become Spanish, you will be issued with a DNI. As Spaniards must have two surnames, you will have to come up with an extra surname. Many foreigners choose their middle name as first surname or use their mother's maiden name as second surname.

Why do Puerto Ricans have 2 last names? ›

Puerto Rico used the Spanish practice of using the last names of both parents. A child born would be given a first and middle name and then the first last name of the father followed by the first last name of the mother. (e.g. Maria Luisa Rivera Garcia.)

Is hyphenating your last name disrespectful? ›

Absolutely not! Although >80% of spouses end up changing their last name after marriage, there has been a recent uptick of spouses choosing to keep their maiden name – either by not changing their last name at all or hyphenating.

Can you legally have two last names without a hyphen? ›

Married Last Name Arrangements in California

Both partners can adopt a longer last name that includes both last names without the hyphen. Couples can combine both of their last names into a unique, different last name. Individuals can choose to keep their last name exactly as it was before the marriage.

How do Spanish surnames work when married? ›

Marriage. 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).

How do Mexican last names work when you get married? ›

Within the Hispanic tradition, the woman does not change her surnames when she gets married. Instead, the combination of our parents' first surnames represents the unity of two families and the formation of a new one. Hence, both surnames carry great value for many Hispanics.

What is the importance of last name? ›

They carry deep personal, cultural, familial, and historical connections. They also give us a sense of who we are, the communities in which we belong, and our place in the world.

Why don t hispanics have middle names? ›

The concept of a middle name is foreign to most Hispanic cultures.” Given names can also cause confusion, Kirsch adds. “The given name of 'Juan Carlos Vargas Blanco ' is not 'Juan,' but 'Juan Carlos. '” Some first names are simple, such as Ana, while others are compound, such as Ana Teresa, he adds.

Why titles are important in Hispanic culture? ›

In Mexico, on the other hand, using titles - whether professional or not - is a way of showing respect. Whether speaking with acquaintances, teachers, neighbors, shopkeepers, or folks we pass on the street, we need to use the appropriate title.

Do Spanish people have 3 last names? ›

In Spanish cultures, people traditionally have 2 surnames. The first is the paternal surname (apellido paterno), the father's first surname, and the second is the maternal surname (apellido materno), the mother's first surname.

How do you address a Spanish person with two last names? ›

This is usually the first of the two surnames as they appear in writing, meaning that Anna Martínez García would usually be referred to as señora Martínez, and her partner Luis Sanchez Pérez would be referred to as señor Sanchez.

Why do some Mexicans have 4 names? ›

Mexicans have a personal name(s) followed by two surnames – the father's paternal family name and then the mother's paternal family name. For example: Hector Marίa GONZALEZ LÓPEZ.

Why does Spain have a lisp? ›

The story goes like this: a medieval king of Spain spoke with a lisp. Wanting to imitate royalty, courtiers picked it up. The resulting th sound wormed its way into the Spanish language.

What is a cool Spanish name? ›

Baby boy names popular in Spain and Latin America include Hugo, Pablo, Alvaro, Mario, Manuel, and Javier. Unique Spanish names attracting attention in Spain and Latin America include Alba, Carmen, Laia, and Triana for girls, along with Dario, Thiago, Gonzalo, and Izan for boys.

What is the most common Puerto Rican name? ›

Popular names for births in Puerto Rico
RankMaleFemale
NameName
1LuisMia
2AngelKamila
3IanCamila
88 more rows

What is the most common Puerto Rican last name? ›

List of the most common surnames in Puerto Rico:
  • Sanchez - 128,384.
  • Rivera - 114,777.
  • Diaz - 107,640.
  • Rodriguez- 102,137.
  • Narvaez - 70,764.
  • Burgos - 68,522.
  • Colón - 64,692.
  • Vázquez - 62,659.

What are some Taino last names? ›

Surmanes in Taino
There are in TainoSurname
54.97Berrini
52.58Ghiringhelli
43.02Bielli
26.29Giraldo
6 more rows

Which last name goes first? ›

You can go the "traditional" route and list your "maiden" name first, or you could choose to list your new last name first, followed by your original last name. Some couples decide to have both partners change to the hyphenated last name, as a show of unity and equality.

Why do females take the man's last name? ›

The tradition of women changing their last names to match their husbands' has its origins in the property transfer that took place upon marriage, Scheuble said. Essentially, women went from being part of their parents' family to becoming their husbands' property.

Should a woman keep her last name when getting married? ›

Whether a woman keeps her name or uses her partner's after marriage is a matter of personal preference, and today, there are no legal issues with doing either.

Can you add your husband's last name to yours? ›

In most states, you have the option to take your spouse's last name, hyphenate your last name, use two last names without a hyphen, or move your maiden name to your middle name and take your spouse's last name.

When having two last names which one do you use? ›

For example, Sarah Smith marries Adam Jones. A hyphenated last name would be Smith-Jones or Jones-Smith. It's your choice which name comes first.

Do I have to take both of my husband's last names? ›

In many cases, when a woman is engaged to a man, people start asking: “So, are you changing your name?” And while taking your husband's name is traditional, it's not the only option! You can keep your maiden name, hyphenate or come up with a new name that combines both of your last names.

Do Spanish people lose their last name when they get married? ›

It is custom in the Spanish-speaking world for women to keep their name, which will already be made up of two surnames — one from their mother and one from their father. When a couple marry, they usually take the first of each of their surnames to give to their child.

Can you pick your surname when you get married? ›

A marriage certificate simply records the names of the couple who are marrying. After your marriage, it is your own personal choice what you want your surname to be.

Can you take your wife last name when you get married? ›

Changing Your Name Regardless

Even though it may be more expensive, anyone can choose to take his or her wife's last name by petitioning for a legal name change. Each state and local court may have a different form for the petition, and yes, there will be filing fees.

What is the genetic makeup of the average Mexican? ›

A Mexico City autosomal ancestry study found that the European ancestry of Mexicans was 52 percent; the remainder was primarily Amerindian, with a small African contribution. Maternal ancestry was also analyzed, with 47 percent of European origin.

What is the most Mexican boy name? ›

Most common Mexican boys' names
  • Santiago.
  • Mateo.
  • Leonardo.
  • Matías.
  • Sebastián.
  • Emiliano.
  • Diego.
  • Daniel.

What is the most common male name in Mexico? ›

1. Daniel. Originally from Hebrew, this name means “God is my judge.” It's a powerful and traditional name that's not only the most popular Mexican boy name but is also a popular name in many other places and cultures.

What is a rare Hispanic last name? ›

Uncommon Spanish last names

Alcaraz - cherry. Barbero - beard, barber. Cabrera - a place of goats. Candella - chandler, candlemaker.

What is the royal Spanish last name? ›

What is the Spanish Royal Family's last name? The Spanish Royal Family's last name is Borbón.

What is the longest Hispanic name? ›

What is the longest Hispanic name in the world? His full name is "Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso." Hispanic names tell a story.

Why do people have son at the end of their last name? ›

Scandinavian immigrants to the United States in the 1860s were required to have permanent surnames and could no longer identify themselves as “the son of Ole” or “the son of Fredrick.” Thus, many of their names have some derivative of “son” at the end.

What is the most used last name in the world? ›

Yet there's no doubt about which surname is the most popular in the world: Wang. More than 106 million people have the surname Wang, a Mandarin term for prince or king. It's not too surprising that the top surname is Chinese, as China has the world's largest population.

Why do we inherit our father's last name? ›

People usually take their father's last name because it's a tradition that has existed since the beginning of time. Not just because of a patriarchal society but also because of declaration of paternity. Those days, it was disgraceful for both mother and child, if the child didn't know their father's name.

Why do Mexicans have 2 middle names? ›

How do Mexican middle names work? In México we don't have “middle” names or “last" names. We follow the Spanish naming convention, which consists in having one or more given names, followed by a paternal family name and a maternal family name.

Why do Mexicans have so few last names? ›

Why Do Mexicans Have Two Last Names? Mexicans are given two first names for a variety of reasons that range from religious to cultural and family reasons. However, when it comes to the last names, there is a traditional system for passing down a surname, or “apellido.”

Can my child have both parents last name? ›

Can a baby have both parents last name if not married? With a few exceptions, most states allow parents to choose their child's name, without restriction. Unmarried partners can decide to choose one parent's last name, hyphenate both last names, or create a new last name that combines both parents' names.

Why do Hispanics have 2 surnames? ›

In Spain and Spanish American countries, except Argentina, each person has two surnames. Traditionally, the first surname is paternal and comes from the father, while the second surname is maternal and comes from the mother.

Why do Hispanic have long names? ›

You may wonder why people from Spanish speaking countries have such long names. This is because we have usually two family names (surnames), when not more. Following an ancient tradition, when a child is born, he/she receives the first surname from the father and the second surname is the first surname of the mother.

How do you show respect in Hispanic culture? ›

Show heightened respect to those that are noticeably older than yourself. Give way to them in public, and allow them to be served first or take your seat if all are full. Do not toss someone an object to pass it to them. Hand it to them directly and respectfully.

What is the longest surname in the world? ›

Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff Sr. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.

What is the most common surname in Spain? ›

The most common Spanish surnames

The most common surname in Spain is García. This is followed by Martínez, Fernández, and Rodríguez… As you may have noticed, many Spanish surnames end in -ez.

What are the royal Spanish surnames? ›

What is the Spanish Royal Family's last name? The Spanish Royal Family's last name is Borbón.

What's the most common Mexican last name? ›

List of the most common surnames in Mexico:
  • Hernández – 5,526,929.
  • García – 4,129,360.
  • Martínez – 3,886,887.
  • González – 3,188,693.
  • López – 3,148,024.
  • Rodríguez – 2,744,179.
  • Pérez – 2,746,468.
  • Sánchez – 2,234,625.

What is the longest white person name? ›

Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff Sr. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff Jr.

Can last names go extinct? ›

As offsprings of each generation can be either male or female and only the males carry on family names, the family name becomes extinct if male descendants die out. This is also related to the Y chromosome transmission in genetics.

What is the most popular last name in the United States? ›

Quick…what's the most common last name in the U.S? If you guessed Smith you are correct. According to an analysis by 24/7 Wall Street, the surname Smith occurs slightly more than 828 times per 100,000 people in the U.S., or about 2.442 million times. The name's usage has grown almost 3 percent since 2000.

Does the wife take the husband's last name in Spain? ›

Spanish women do not change their name when they marry, and offspring are given the first surname of both their parents – regardless of whether their parents are married or not.

What is the most famous name in Spain? ›

According to data from Spain's National Institute of Statistics, María, Carmen (or María Carmen), and Josefa were the most popular names in Spain for girls born during of the first half of the 20th century.
...
1990s and the new century.
Rank1990sSince 2000
1DavidAlejandro
2AlejandroDaniel
3DanielDavid
4JavierPablo
6 more rows

What is the most common surname on earth? ›

Yet there's no doubt about which surname is the most popular in the world: Wang. More than 106 million people have the surname Wang, a Mandarin term for prince or king. It's not too surprising that the top surname is Chinese, as China has the world's largest population.

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