I think people name in my language is very different from how it is used in English, so please properly explain it so I can use correctly.

In my country, people name usually have 3 parts, if I am named (full name) "A B C", then my child's name will be something like "A X Y" (so I think the first part, A, is family name). People call me by "C", or "B C" if someone else also named "C". We never use "A" to refer someone. Also, my wife doesn't change her first part to "A".

Please explain, in English:

  • How would my name be? (C A B, C B A?)
  • How do you refer me in normal - informal context (say, a classmate) if no one has the same name as mine?
  • The second question in context of me being your lover or very close friend?
  • The second question in context of formal context (Mr. ...)?
  • What would be my son name and my wife name if we move to US?

And one more question: is there any differences about those between English-speaking countries (UK, US, Australia...)?

closed as off-topic by Colin Fine, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Kris, Brian Hooper, MrHen Nov 4 '13 at 15:48

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    This question appears to be off-topic because it not about the English language. – cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Nov 3 '13 at 3:49
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    CBA - C=first name, let's say "John. B=middle name, "David", for example. A=last name, say "Smith". Friends, family, lovers and familiar colleagues will call you "John". Formally, you'll be known as Mr. Smith. Your mail will be addressed to Mr. John D. Smith. Your mother will call you "John David Smith!" when she's angry with you. :-) – Kristina Lopez Nov 3 '13 at 3:58
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    @KristinaLopez Thanks for the angry part! It would be weird for us to use full name in normal context, even if we are angry ;) – DatVM Nov 3 '13 at 4:12

In English your name would be C B A, where A is your family name (what we call a "Last Name" or patronymic) and C is your "first name" or "given name" or even (although it is a more dated term) your "Christian name." B would be called a "middle name" and can be virtually anything--sometimes a parent's last name, some times a first name, and sometimes a woman's last name before she was married.

Informally, I would refer to you as C. If there were two of you with the first name C around, I would not refer to you as C B. More commonly, I would simply call you C and point (seriously), or sometimes "C a" where "a" is the first letter of your last name. For example, "James B" and "James G". In work or classroom settings, the full last name would sometimes be used: C A, not C a.

Close friends refer to each other by first name or even "nicknames" (shortened forms of the first name). Lovers and spouses commonly use "pet names" ("honey" or "dear" or any number of other informal terms) but will usually refer to each other by first name around others.

The formal address form is Mr. A or Ms. A (last name). Sometimes, when introducing one person to another, you might say "please let me introduce Mr. C A."

If your son is A X Y in your language, he would probably be X Y A in English.

There is relatively little variation between British, American, and Australian English on these points. The British use Mr. And Ms. more frequently in public settings, such as an office meeting, whereas Americans and Australians are more apt to use first names. But even in America and Australia, we speak of being "on a first name basis with him" (meaning, you know the person well) and distinguish it as a more intimate relationship than simply "knowing" someone.

  • Did you mean his son would be "Y X A" in English? – Ooker Sep 17 '14 at 8:31

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