[rdfweb-dev] About Names
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
- Name seems to be problematic. Do we really need all of name, nick,
>> givenname, surname, family_name, firstName, title. I'd suggest
>> these to name, title, firstName, lastName and spinning nick out into
>> IRC namespace
> Indeed, names are problematic...
> I wrote a piece  (now at ) on this a few months ago, but we
> 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
> 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  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 
List of personal naming conventions 
Spirituality' among the Inuit and Innu of Labrador, 
One example in Inuit community see below
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:
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)
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.
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