¿Cuál es su nombre?

I love the name conventions used here in Mexico, I think it is the same for Spain as well.

1st, I really appreciate that women don’t change their last names when they get married.

Each person has 2 last names (apellido), no hyphens to confuse you either –

  • the 1st last name is the 1st last name from the father, and 2nd last name is the 1st last name of the mother.
  • so if Enrique Iglesias Madero married Maricela Perez Rosado their kids last names would be Iglesias Perez.
  • and Maricela can, if she chooses could use, Marisela Perez Rosado de Iglesias.

Because of this however, things get very confusing for extranjeros (people not from here), for example I am quite accustomed now to using and being addressed Debra Jolleen, rather than Debra Karn.  My middle name has become my first last name here in Mexico.

Oh, and when addressing or referring to a Mexican man or woman, and you don’t want to use their full name always use the first last name, never just the second last name.  For instance Maricela Perez Rosado could be called Maricela Perez, but never Maricela Rosado

for those of you that don’t know spanish ¿Cuál es su nombre? = What is your name?

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About Debi in Merida

I moved from Colorado Springs, Colorado USA to Merida, Yucatan, MX in January 2006. I love to read, garden, travel, and hang out with friends.
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6 Responses to ¿Cuál es su nombre?

  1. Foreigners can really screw things up when they decide to go along with the tradition of FirstName PatrilnealSurname MatrilinealSurname instead of the name that appears on their passports. This is one instance where you shouldn’t try to fit in, explaining to whomever’s asking instead that you have no second surname, holding your ground. Not once in more than thirty years of dealing with Mexican bureaucracy has anyone ever refused to go along with what I’ve asked, once given the explanation.

  2. Marjorie Ratcliffe says:

    Hi Debi Joyce. You’re right about Spain. Try being Marjorie Ratcliffe there! unpronounceable on both counts, And to confuse in Portugal it is back to front (mother’s second apellido comes first, then father’s) which creates problems with “mixed” marriages near the long border.

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