Re: "lastname" and "firstname" are not culturally neutral

On Wednesday, April 2, 2003, 3:52:22 PM, Jonathan wrote:

JR> So, I would suggest  "full presentation name"  vs. "culturally dependant
JR> sortable name".

That has the advantage of being highly precise and the disadvantage
of requiring a couple of paragraphs of explanations and examples for
anyone to understand it. It also has the disadvantage of throwing away
useful information for those cultures that do use it.

I gave the example at the recent Unicode conference where Inuit
children might change the 'family' part of their name every six months
to a year depending on which family they are currently living with;
thus any governmental record system that picks the 'family name' at
some point in time to use as primary key is not going to work. I also
pointed out that just because this happens for those people, it does
not mean that the family name concept looses allvalue for everyone.

Its surely possible to have a system which has value for 95% of the
sample and the other 5% lists the exceptions. Something does not have
to be 100% applicable for it to be useful, provided the remaining few
percent are treated as valid but exceptional cases, rather than


Received on Wednesday, 2 April 2003 08:08:54 UTC