Last updateFri, 03 Feb 2023 12pm


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IQ test – Getting Mexican names right

I have had a doctor for the last 14 years and I don’t know for sure what his name is. It’s safest to just call him Doc. If I get his name wrong enough times, I’d understand if he suggested I consider Assisted Living.

Mexicans have too many name variations to keep track of. They have a personal name or names followed by two surnames – the father’s paternal family name and then the mother’s paternal family name, respectively.

Some Mexicans can have two first names. Here’s a typical example: Eduardo Marίa GONZALEZ LÓPEZ (Maria is not a middle name. Maria is Eduardo’s first name, or part of it. Mexico has no middle names, just double (composite) first names. So you could be trying to reach Eduardo Maria Gonzalez at his auction house when you ask for Señor Lopez (which is the name norteamericanos might automatically identify this auction house owner). Somebody then tells you politely, “there’s no Señor Lopez here.” You are mystified and your Eduardo Maria Gonzalez, waiting for you to meet over tea, loses his patience and sells the armario you needed for your bedroom to someone else. And your clothes remain in boxes.

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