Q:

Why do people have names?

A:

People have names for identification purposes and for referencing lineage. In early or primitive societies, people used only one name for identification because populations were small. As populations grew in different areas, inhabitants used a second name or a surname to further identify themselves.

One method to identify someone was to use a descriptive word that referred to the individual or his occupation. For example, "Harold the blacksmith" and "Erik the Red" are names that describe the person's occupation or refer to hair color.

Similarly, the history of surnames or family names refer to an individual's father's name. Usually, a son would be referred to as "his given name" followed by "son of father's name," such as "Leif, son of Eric," or "Leif Erickson." This  practice of taking the father's name to form a son's name is called patronymic naming, which also is a way of conveying lineage.

 

Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What is a matrilineal society?

    A:

    A matrilineal society is a society in which lineage, birthright and social classification are traced through the mother's ancestry rather than the father's, as is common in patriarchal societies. Although there were many ancient matrilineal societies, many of them have since died out.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some common Slovakian last names?

    A:

    According to the University of Pittsburgh's Slovak Studies Program, the most popular Slovakian last names are Horvath, Kovac, Varga, Toth, Nagy, Balaz, Szabo, Molnar, Balog and Lukac.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some Cherokee names for girls?

    A:

    Some Cherokee names for girls and their meanings are as follows; Adsila - blossom, Ama - water, Sequoia - redwood, Immookalee - waterfall, Usdi - baby, Awinita - fawn, Leotie - flower of the prairie, Hialeah - beautiful meadow, Inola - black fox, Ahyoka - she brought happiness and Salali - squirrel. Babies were named according to gender, nature, totem animals and the appearance or features of the baby.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do Kenyan people wear?

    A:

    With more than 70 ethnic groups living within its borders, Kenya does not have one identifiable, traditional style of dress. Modern Kenyans tend to dress in Western clothing. Residents of the country's coast, many of whom are Muslim, dress in a more Arabic fashion.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore