名前 description


#1

Edit: Wrong forum, sowwy.

Hello there.

I’m not sure what is better, to report errors here or by mail, but here it is.

The description (and example sentence) says that 名前 means first name (probably because of the second kanji). But since in Japan the names order is reversed compared to ours, it’s more likely that it actually means family name… At least originally. Nowadays I see this word being used for both family and first names, often considered as a synonym to 氏名 outside of official documents and stuff like that.

Here’s the link: https://www.wanikani.com/vocabulary/%E5%90%8D%E5%89%8D


#2

According to my dictionary it either refers to the given name (‘first name’) or full name, but not family name alone. Is it actually commonly used to refer to just a family name alone?


#3

I was confused by this one as well. Put family name a couple of times by deducing that the name in the front should be the family name in Japanese. I  just answer “name” now when I see it.


#4
Noodles said... According to my dictionary it either refers to the given name ('first name') or full name, but not family name alone. Is it actually commonly used to refer to just a family name alone?
I'm not sure (that's what I meant by "at least originally"), but surely it doesn't only mean first name.
When you're talking to a stranger and say 「(失礼しますが、)お名前は?」 for example, he'll most certainly reply with his family name or both. I think this is the most common and used word to ask someone's name.

#5

Here’s what’s written on wikipedia about the structure of japanese names. It seems that 名前 does mean given name, but yes, it also seems like it’s often used very nonspecifically like English speakers use the word ‘name’.

The majority of Japanese people have one surname and one given name with no middle name, except for the Japanese imperial family, whose members bear no surname. The family name - myōji (苗字 or 名字), uji (氏) or sei (姓)[citation needed] - precedes the given name, called the “name” - (名前 namae) or “lower name” (下の名前 shita no namae). The given name may be referred to as the “lower name” because, in vertically written Japanese, the given name appears under the family name.[6] People with mixed Japanese and foreign parentage may have middle names.[7]

Historically, myōjiuji and sei had different meanings. Sei was originally the matrilineal surname. Later it became granted only by the emperor. There were relatively few sei, and most of the medieval noble clans trace their lineage either directly to these sei or to the courtiers of these seiUji was first used to designate patrilineal descent, but later merged with myōji around the same time sei lost its matrilineal significance. Myōji was, simply, what a family chooses to call itself, as opposed to the sei granted by the emperor. While it was passed on patrilineally, one had a certain degree of freedom in changing one’s myōji. See also Kabane.


#6

I think of 名前 as a given name (or full name) and 名字 as a surname. I’ve never heard that 名前 historically meant “family name” and wouldn’t make the assumption that it “originally” meant that based on the kanji alone.

(Also, why is this in API and Third-Party Apps?)


#7

Maybe 前 refers to the right side then :stuck_out_tongue:
Anyway you made me doubt so I had a look at a few documents I had to fill when I was in japan, most of them only have a single field and either use 名前 or 氏名, but I also have one with separate fields which use 名 for the given name and 姓 for the family name.

BreadstickNinja said…(Also, why is this in API and Third-Party Apps?)

 Whoops.

#8
bm01 said...The description (and example sentence) says that 名前 means first name (probably because of the second kanji).
 I'm under the assumption that it says it means first name because first name and given name mean the same thing in English.

#9

I looked up the 語源 and found this:

http://gogen-allguide.com/na/namae.html

【名前の語源・由来】
名前の「名」は、「名前」の意味で古くから使われている。
「名」は人や物などを区別する呼び方であり、声に出して使うものという見方から、「音(ね)」と同じ語源と考えられるが不明である。
名前の「前」は、「名」に敬称として「前」が付けられたと考えられる。
「名前」の語は近世頃から使用例が見られ、明治以降広く使われるようになった。

So it's thought that 前 was added to 名 as a kind of honorific, rather than signifying position. The compound has been used for centuries but only since Meiji has it come into widespread use.

#10

There were no family names in Japan before the Meiji restoration either, only given names.


#11
Noodles said... There were no family names in Japan before the Meiji restoration either, only given names.
 Nobles and samurai did have surnames, some of which were granted by the emperor and some which were selected by the family. But common people only went by one name.

#12

Interesting. So that may be why “first name” became a translation.
Apparently we can say 下の名前 to refer specifically to the given name, which let me to think even more that 名前 is kind of ambiguous.
(nope, 上の名前 doesn’t seem to exist).


#13
BreadstickNinja said...
Noodles said... There were no family names in Japan before the Meiji restoration either, only given names.
 Nobles and samurai did have surnames, some of which were granted by the emperor and some which were selected by the family. But common people only went by one name.
 That's true, there were family names but common people were not allowed one. It's also sort of curious that the emperor has only a given name.

#14
Noodles said...
BreadstickNinja said...
Noodles said... There were no family names in Japan before the Meiji restoration either, only given names.
 Nobles and samurai did have surnames, some of which were granted by the emperor and some which were selected by the family. But common people only went by one name.
 That's true, there were family names but common people were not allowed one. It's also sort of curious that the emperor has only a given name.
 Traditionally, he was considered a god, so folks probably didn't expect him to have to clarify. Other gods don't put up with that.

"Who are you?"
"I'm Zeus."
"Zeus Who?"
*bzzzzzzzt*

#15

Somehow I can’t imagine this guy smiting someone with a thunderbolt though.



#16
Noodles said... Somehow I can't imagine this guy smiting someone with a thunderbolt though.

 That's because he'll burn you with the righteous fire of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. He's fire-type, not thunder-type.