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Bewegte und bewegende Namen

Lebensabschnittsnamen als Marker biografischer Transition

Damaris Nübling


Pages 17 - 40



Abstract: From a typological perspective, the change of the official name in a person’s life is rather common. Name changes are often part of a ‚rite de passage‘, they mark and at the same time perform important biographic transitions, e. g. from childhood to adulthood, from an unmarried to a married status, from a profane to a clerical person. They can even mark the change of a person’s gender gender (transgender) or a person’s religion, and sometimes the transition from life to death (cf. posthumous names in Japan). This article decribes different cases of name changes all over the world and finally presents a core definition of name change. One relevant criterion in this definition is that the whole name (and not only some parts) must be replaced. In addition, the former name should disappear completely. In some societies, using the former name is even forbidden or taboo. A further requirement is that the phonological distance between old and new name should be as big as possible. The new name is obligatory in all contexts.

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