[rdfweb-dev] About Names

Karl Dubost karl at la-grange.net
Thu Jul 24 22:52:21 UTC 2003

Le jeudi, 24 juil 2003, à 15:43 America/Montreal, Morten Frederiksen a  
écrit :
- Name seems to be problematic. Do we really need all of name, nick,
>> givenname, surname, family_name, firstName, title. I'd suggest  
>> reducing
>> these to name, title, firstName, lastName and spinning nick out into  
>> an
>> IRC namespace
> Indeed, names are problematic...
> I wrote a piece [1] (now at [2]) on this a few months ago, but we  
> couldn't
> reach a decision based on that, so the "problem" is up for grabs!
> (My updated suggestion would be to get rid of anything but foaf:name  
> and
> foaf:nick, and leave the rest to somebody else...)

In your document, you talked a bit about it

1.8 Cross-cultural issues
Expressing  a  name,  sortable  or  displayable,  for  use in multiple  
cultures  can  be  done  by  means  of  language  tags  (xml:lang  
attributes) on the literal name components - so far there exist no  
conventions for distinquishing between cultures, but languages seem to  
some extent to cover the same concepts...

* Culture and Internationalization

In fact not really, and you have strong differences depending on the  
cultures but as usual, we have a strong bias. Because the majority of  
people working on technologies are often "westernized", so we often  
start from a western model and try to modify it to be able to host  
other cultures more than referencing how each culture specify a topic.

You can read this thread [1] which gives hints but it's not complete :/

* Name changing
In some cultures, people don't have a definitive name until they reach  
a certain age, where they get their definitive name. They change name  
during the history of their life.

In fact, it would be an interesting ontology to create. Names and  
naming convention in all cultures. In Many of the "social issues", we  
are faced when developing these technologies, we need an ethnologist.

Some patterns are explained in
	Naming Patterns for Countries & Cultures [2]
	List of personal naming conventions [3]
	Spirituality' among the Inuit and Innu of Labrador, [4]
		One example in Inuit community see below

* History
Another issue is naming convention which have disappeared because of  
history. For example in Middle Ages in France, countryside people were  
having only a name like:
	Jean (John)
If you had two "Jean", people will choose a name to disambiguate the  
two persons (often a quality or a location.

	Jean du bois (John of wood)
	Jean le chasseur (John the hunter)

What about if you start to create foaf file for people who are part of  
your history like a family tree, or an history project.	

* Work/Civil name
Another issue is real name and name of work, like for example in artist  
	Jean-Philippe Smetz = Johnny Haliday (Singer)
	Romain Gary = Emile Ajar (Writer)

[2] http://genealogy.about.com/cs/namingpractices/
[3] http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_personal_naming_conventions
[4] http://www.innu.ca/tanner1.html

Spirituality' among the Inuit and Innu of Labrador
A more subtle hint of the survival of a traditional Inuit custom is  
indicated in the practice of naming children after a close relative or  
friend. Prior to the adoption of Christianity, parents gave a new-born  
infant the name of the last person dying in their band, regardless of  
sex. They treated the child with the same deference that would have  
given to their namesake, called atitsiak (Hawkes 1916:112), due to a  
belief that the person's character and abilities were transferred with  
their name. Thus, personal names were repeated from one generation to  
another, providing a fundamental continuity over time in the identity  
of individuals and the composition of family groups composing Inuit  

The namesake custom was only slightly modified after Inuit became  
Christian converts by the replacement of traditional names with English  
personal names given to people at their baptism. However, Inuit  
retained knowledge of their original names as one case of a man in Nain  
demonstrates. The person had the personal baptismal name of his  
grandfather but he was also known by a nickname in Inuktitut, which was  
his grandfather's original name before he was baptised.

More information about the foaf-dev mailing list