I have recently been told by a Londoner that "second name" is the most common way of referring to one's surname. She explained that it arose from the fact that most people just use their first and last names, therefore "second name" and "last name" became synonyms.
This has given me some food for thought and I've become curious on a couple of points:
- Is this practice in use elsewhere?
- Does it cause misunderstandings when a person happens to have a middle name and, therefore, second and last name aren't coincident?
- So, in this fictitious name, what could be called what?
- Mary (first name)
- Sue (middle name / ?second name? or ?second given name?)
- Smith (surname / family name / last name / ?second name?)
On a slightly different note, when non-English names that have multiple surnames are involved, how would one refer to them? For example: Ana Maria Silva dos Santos Pereira, where "Ana Maria" correspond to 2 given names and "Silva dos Santos Pereira" correspond to 3 family names (typically inherited from both mother and father's side).
4) Would everything in between "Ana" and "Pereira" be considered middle names?