Библиографическое описание:

Нурметов Ж. Н., Жуманиёзова Ф. Т. Personal names as realia in a language // Молодой ученый. — 2015. — №13. — С. 811-813.

The following article particularly deals with the clarification personal names.

Key words: culture-specific words, realia, personal names


The one who is not well-educated culturally is not a translator!

Jasur Nurmetov

Personal names account for the vast majority of culture-specific words (Realia) in any language and in this paper we are going to make some clarifications on them.

To begin with, we define the notion of culture-specific words. According to Florin, realia give a source-cultural flavor to a text by expressing local and/or historical color. He has defined the term in the following way: Realia (from the Latin realis) are words and combinations of words denoting objects and concepts characteristic of the way of life, the culture, and the social and historical development of one nation and alien to another. Since they express local or historical color they have no exact equivalents in other languages. [1, p.122–128]

Many scholars have conducted a number of researches on culture specific words, their features, their translation problems and strategies and they usually give different terms to describe realia.

Such as, Nida (1945) defines them as “cultural foreign words”, Vlakhov and Florin (1970) “realia”, Nida and Reyburn (1981) “presuppositions”, Newmark (1988) “cultural words, Oksaar (1988) “cultureme”, Newmark (1991) “cultural terms”, Baker (1992, 1995) “culture-specific concepts”, Foreman (1992) “cultural references”, Florin (1993) “realia”, Nedergaard-Larsen (1993) “culture-bound problems” or Nedergaard-Larsen (1993) “culture-bound elements”, Leppihalme (1995) “cultural bumps”, Franco Aixela (1996) “culture-specific items”, Robinson (1997) “realia”, or Robinson (1997) “culture-bound phenomena”, Mayoral and Munoz (1997) “culturally marked segments”, Leppihalme (1997) “allusions”, Schaffner, Wiesemann (2001) culture-bound phenomena and terms or culture-specific items”, Davies (2003) “Culture-specific items”, Hagfors (2003) “culture-bound elements”, Lungu Badea (2004) “cultureme”, Pedersen (2005, 2007, 2010) “extralinguistic cultural references”, or Pedersen (2005 and 2007) “extralinguistic culture-bound references (ECR)” Ramiere (2006) “culture-specific references”, Diaz Cintas and Remael (2007) “culture-bound terms”.

In this article we are going to suggest another term to describe realia as “culturally consumed words”. However, in linguistics we should try to shorten the terms and should accept one term to describe culture specific words on a global scale. If we call one single object in different ways and with different terms, they may cause misunderstanding between scholars.

For instance, Davies (2003) and Franco Aixela (1996) gave the term “Culture-specific items” but from our perspective, they are partially wrong here since the word “item” is a little bit hard to comprehend and it means the following.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English 5th Edition suggests the following definitions of the term:

Item-a single thing, especially one thing in a list, group, or set of things:

Item-a single, usually short, piece of news in a newspaper or magazine, or on television:

Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary-3rd Edition gives the following definitions of the term:

Item- something this is part of a list or group of things:

Item- one of several subjects to be considered:

Macmillan English Dictionary-American v1.1 defines

Item as an individual thing, usually one of several things in a group or on a list:

Item as an article in a newspaper or magazine:

As we can see the word “item” is not a good word to describe all types of realia or not all types of realia can be an item.

Taking aforementioned statement into account, we would prefer to use the term “realia” in my paper.

Classification of personal names

In Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English 5th Edition, personal names are given as following.

First name -the name chosen for you by your parents

Christian name-first name

Last name/family name/surname-the name that you share with your family or husband

Middle name- the name between your first and last names

Full name -your first name, middle name, and last name

Maiden name- a woman’s family name before she married and began using her husband’s name

Married name- a woman’s family name after she gets married, if she uses her husband’s name

Nickname- a name that people call you because of your appearance, personality etc, which is not your real name

Stage name -the name that an actor uses which is not their real name

Pen name (pseudonym)-a name that a writer uses which is not their real name

Under an assumed name- using a false name in order to hide your real name alias- a false name, especially one used by a criminal

Appellation-a name which describes something — a very formal use

Sobriquet- a nickname — a very formal use

In Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary-3rd Edition:

Christian name-in Western countries, the first name and not the family name

Code name-a special word or name which is used instead of the real name of someone or something to keep the real name secret

Double-barrelled name-a family name with two joined parts

Family name-a surname

First name-the name that was given to you when you were born and that comes before your family name

Given name (first name) -the name which is chosen for you at birth and which is not your family name

Last name-your family name that you use in formal situations or with people you do not know well

Maiden name-A woman's maiden name is the family name she has before she gets married.

Married name-A woman's married name is the family name of her husband

Middle name- the name some people have between their first name and their last name

Pen name-a name chosen by a writer to use instead of using their real name when publishing books

Pet name-an informal name given to someone by their family or friends

Second name-surname (= the name that you share with other members of your family)

Stage name-the name by which an actor or performer is publicly known and which is different from their real name.

Campbell (n.d.) divides personal names into various categories. He defines them as follows: [2]

Table 1


Type of Personal Name



Given name

A given name is a name that is assumed by a person at or after birth. As opposed to a family name, it is generally not inherited.


First name or Christian name

In Europe and North America, where the given name precedes the family name, given names are called first names or forenames.



The praenomen (plural praenomina) was the ancient Roman given name. With a nomen and a cognomen it formed a complete Roman name. In Roman documents the praenomen was often abbreviated to one or two letters.


Middle name

In the English-speaking world, the middle name is a secondary given name. When the full name is presented, it is placed between the first name and the surname. People can have more than one middle name, though it is unusual to have none. Many people include their middle name as an initial in their usual name, for example George W. Bush. Others prefer their middle name and use it instead of their first name.


Family name or last name

or surname

It is a name passed from one generation to the next. In many cultures a woman adopts her husband's family name when they are married.



The nomen (plural nomina) was the Roman gens's (that is clan's) name. In the typical Roman name it was preceded by the praenomen and followed by the cognomen



The cognomen (plural cognomina) was one of the three parts of the typical Roman name. It followed the praenomen and nomen. Originally cognomina were nicknames, but by the time of the Roman Empire they were inherited from father to son. Thus the cognomen in combination with the nomen functioned as a surname, breaking families into smaller groups than just the nomen alone.



A nickname is a substitute for a person's real name. It may be used because it is more familiar, more descriptive, or shorter than the real name. For example, Sue is the nickname of Susan.



The agnomen (plural agnomina) formed an additional part of some Roman names, usually following the cognomen. Usually they were nicknames acquired at some point during the lifetime, but, rarely, some agnomnia were inherited.


Pet name

A pet name of a given name is a short and/or affectionate form. Often they are only used by friends and relatives.



It is the same as a pet name. They can be formed through various methods in different languages. Two of most typical ways in English are presented here: a) are those that are short forms of the original name, very often from the first syllable or sound of the name. For example, Alex is from Alexander; b) they can also obtained by adding a suffix, to the original name or short form of a name. In English, the -y/-ie suffix make diminutives such as, Debbie, Charlie, Johnny, and Abby.



A byname is a secondary name used to further identify a person. They were often nicknames (for example Erik the Red) or patronyms (for example John, son of William). Bynames can be considered surnames when they are inherited from one generation to the next.


Generation name

The generation name is used by some Chinese and Korean families. It is a name given to all newborns of the same generation of an extended family.



A patronym (or patronymic) is a name derived from the name of the father or another paternal ancestor. Some surnames are patronymic in origin, like Peterson = «Peter's son». Some cultures, such as Iceland, use uninherited patronyms instead of surnames.



A matronym (also matronymic) is a name derived from the name of the mother or another maternal ancestor.



A filiation attached to a name describes the bearer's paternal descent. The complete Roman name sometimes had a filiation.


In a nutshell, we would like to state that personal names have an important part in the course of translation in all languages because as we mentioned above they make up the overwhelming majority of realia. So it is always vital for translators (interpreters) to have a good command of personal names in the target language.




1.      Florin, Sider 1993. “Realia in translation.” I.n Zlateva, Palma (ed.), Translation as Social Action. Russian and Bulgarian Perspectives. London: Routledge,, 122–128.

2.      http://www.behindthename.com/glossary/view/name)


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