Introduction to Proper Names

  • Bertrand Lisbach
  • Victoria Meyer


A proper name can refer to any unique entity. In the context of identity matching, the proper names of individuals, organisations and other entities, such as ships, are the most relevant. Throughout this book, the term “proper name” is used in a restricted sense to refer to these classes of names.

This chapter looks in particular at the proper names of natural persons. It considers the basics of what makes up a person’s name, together with the historical and cultural development of naming practices around the world. This lays the foundation for understanding the different features of proper names that are important for identity matching purposes and which will be considered in more detail in later chapters.

This book uses the term “naming system” to describe the structure of proper names and the function of the different parts within them, as well as the cultural norms and legal processes that might see a name changing over time. With language and culture playing such a huge role in the development of proper names, there are obviously very many different naming systems in use around the world. To highlight the differences in global naming systems, this chapter uses examples from four of the most widely used: the Western, Russian, Arabic and Chinese.


Chinese Character Naming System Naming Structure Naming Convention Identity Match 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FreiburgGermany
  2. 2.ZurichSwitzerland

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