General Question

sferik's avatar

Are there any cultures that don't have patronymic last names?

Asked by sferik (6121points) January 3rd, 2009

For example:
many Scottish last names begin with “Mac-”,
many Irish last names begin with “Mc-”,
many Hebrew last names begin with “Ben-”,
many Arab last names begin with “Bin-”,
many Dutch last names begin with “Van-”,
many Nordic last names end in ”-son” or ”-sen”,
and almost all Armenian last names end in ”-ian” or ”-yan”.

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14 Answers

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Chinese or Asian cultures, perhaps?

andrew's avatar

Oh, and I meant to correct this on the other question.. Mc/Mac has nothing to do with Scottish/Irish distinction (though O’- is more prevalently Irish). I just depends on which way you got ground up on Ellis.

AstroChuck's avatar

What’s an American last name?

sferik's avatar

@andrew I was under the impression that “Mac-” was more prevalent in Scottish names and “Mc-” in Irish but I’ll defer to you on that point, since you’re a human counterexample. However, I don’t believe any names were changed at Ellis Island.

andrew's avatar

Yes! What a myth!

Edit: Is just depends on how the names changed as time progressed. McLain, McLaine, McClain, McLane, MacLane, MacLaine, et al. are all Clan MacLaine of Lochbuie.

laureth's avatar

Lots of surnames are more related to an ancestor’s profession, rather than a given name. Names like Fletcher, Cooper, Smith/Schmidt/Kuznetsov (those last two are “Smith” in German and Russian), Fuller, Miller, and Taylor fall into this category, and it’s common in German at least.

My name means “Hostage taker” or “Slavedriver” in its original language. Ick.

Vincentt's avatar

“Van” in Dutch doesn’t refer to an ancestor’s banem but to a location. For example, some people are named “Van Kesteren” which translates ti “From Kesteren” referring to the city of Kesteren.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t make the Netherlands a country without patronymic last names, since we do have e.g. “Janszoon” which means “Jan’s son”.

@laureth – I believe Kovacs was Hungarian for smith :).

sferik's avatar

@Vincentt I’m learning so much about names!

mrdh's avatar

Chinese surnames are either from which country they’re from (before the unification), what race they are (China has like 52 different ethnicities) or what profession.
I don’t think there are any patronymic last names.

russellsouza's avatar

Indian surnames aren’t patronymic for the most part; they represent professions, caste and land-holding status. They can also signify geographic background. The exception to this is Kerala, however.

90s_kid's avatar

Arabian “bar-”
Maybe like… Swahilian…I have no idea!! Good question. german?

Vincentt's avatar

@sferik – I know, and Fluther’s the ideal place :). Too bad you can’t remember everything…

Strauss's avatar

@sferik I know a family whose oral history says their name was changed from “Sealy” to “Seeley” at Ellis. I asked an uncle who know several generations, and he said it is more likely their name was changed at the steel mill where they came to work.

dizzydvl85's avatar

asian culture as well as some native american

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