Why is the Turkish president’s surname is spelt in English as Erdogan, with g?

I recently got puzzled as to why American journalists spell the surname of the current Turkish president in articles written in English as Erdogan, with g (see, e.g., this article in New York Times). We spell his surname as エルドアン, which does not include the g sound. In the original language, Turkish, his surname is … Read more

Why isn’t Robert Mueller’s last name pronounced like Ferris Bueller’s?

Mueller, Mueller, Mueller? Why isn’t Robert Mueller’s last name pronounced like “Bueller” of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” fame? Is there a correct pronunciation? I’ve been pronouncing it like Bueller for nearly 2 years. I’ve heard some people on TV pronounce it like I do, but most pronounce it “Muller.” Answer The simple answer is that … Read more

Suffix -smith in surnames

I recall reading once that the “smith” in some surnames stood for something like “the one who works with”. For example: Coppersmith, the one who works with copper or deals with copper; Wordsmith has to with an individual that make a living by dealings with words (a poet?). Is there any evidence on the validity … Read more

Adjective or words to describe a family name evoking a specific origin?

Some last names can be immediately linked to a location or social class, even if they’re not of foreign origin. For example, my family name is evocative of small-time farmers from the south-west of my country. How to describe a name that immediately betrays the geographical and social-economic origins of a person? Answer Occupational Surname … Read more

How to deal with changed surnames

I am working on a history of pioneering tradeswomen in which several women’s last names change during the two-decade time period. What is the best way to deal with this? Should I include both names at the outset? Explain the new last name when first referring to the woman after the marriage? Use both last … Read more

Is it necessary to capitalize the surname if it is used in isolation from the rest of the name (if it is not capitalized within the name itself)?

On the Wikipedia page for Guillermo del Toro, whenever he is referred to as solely “del Toro” (and the name’s not at the beginning of a sentence), the “d” in the name is not capitalized: On May 30, 2010, del Toro left the project due to extend delays brought on by MGM’s financial troubles. However, … Read more

How to translate my name

I have seen many types of translation/transliteration of my Russian first and last names to English by different people. At the current moment I don’t know what to choose when I want to introduce myself. So, my first name is Вячеслав Vyacheslav Viacheslav Vjacheslav My last name is Карбовничий Karbovnichii Karbovnichiy Karbovnichij Karbovnichy What is … Read more

How widespread is the usage of Senior, Junior, III in British English?

Upon asking about the Spanish equivalences of Senior, Junior and III, I got to know that these are commonly used in United States, but not that much in Britain. Talking about the United Kingdom, a user said: (…) I suspect that since we do not have a common solution parents avoid the situation, We did … Read more