OK there are a lot of people with one name (Cher, Madonna, Roseanne). Anyway, I know these people had two names at one time and changed them. (Legally or not I don’t know). I believe it is possible to change your name to just one name. Can you just have one name from birth? Or do you need a given name and a surname?
You can change your name to doorknob if you want. But all of the people you mentioned have more than one name, and I don’t even know if they changed them, it’s just that they became so popular that they BECAME one name. Madonna was born Madonna Ciccione. Roseanne was Roseanne Barr (at least when she broke into prominence as a comic). Cher may have changed her name to Cher legally, I don’t know, but it was soemthing more conventional.
Cher=Cherilyn Sarkisian La Pierre
“Believe those who seek the truth.
Doubt those who find it.” --Andre Gide
A kid living down the hall from me has only one name- Yeshuat’zin. I’m not sure what ethnic group it is; it never really came up when he was kicking my ass in Risk.
So, yeah, some people do.
Miskch’s Law- It’s better to have a horrible ending than horrors without end.
I’ve worked with several people from Southern India, more specifically the region surrounding Madras. They were Tamils.
Every Tamil (from India) that I’ve worked with told me that it is the custom in their region to only have one name. When they came to the USA, they picked their father’s name and used that as their last name.
I’m pretty sure that the custome of having a first name/last name is not a legal requirement in the USA. You could change your name to a single word as long as you can convince a judge you’re not doing it for any shady purpose.
In many european countries, the person at the courthouse that registers newborn names has the authority to reject a name. For example if you wanted to call your son “dipshit” (in the language of that country) it would probably be refused and you would be told to come up with something better.
La franchise ne consiste pas à dire tout ce que l’on pense, mais à penser tout ce que l’on dit.
H. de Livry
Wow. Cher’s real name is “Cherilyn Sarkisian La Pierre” and she ditched it?
If SHE’S not using it, can I have some of it?
– Ike La Pierre Sarkisian von Ukulele
Back to Markxxx’s original post: if you’re parents decided to name you just Markxxx, with no other name, they can legally do that. Remember the goofy names some rock stars gave their kids back in the 70’s? Moon Unit Zappa, Chyna Wilson, and Zoey Bowie are all legal names.
I once read a pop music trivia question: Which of the following performers changed their name when they started in show business? Cher, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Madonna, or Prince.
Prince’s real name is Prince, IIRC. Prince Nelson Rogers III, or something like that.
The answer is, of course, David Bowie.
I don’t think that you can get away with only one name, although this might depend on the jurisdiction. I seem to remember a story (possible urban legend) about two rabid Star Trek fans, and I do mean rabid, who wanted to change their names to James T. Kirk and Spock. James T. pulled it off, but they wouldn’t let Spock do it because of the one-name thing. And, no, they wouldn’t let him change his first name to “Mister”, either.
God is dead. -Nietzsche
Nietzsche is dead. -God
Neitzsche is God. -Dead
I knew a girl once whose name was Li Li. She was always called “Li Li” to her face, so I assume that was her single name. But she was registered with her first name as Li and her last name as Li.
Although these two articles don’t directly answer the question, they indirectly answer it by saying you can do whatever the hell you want to your child in terms of inflicting a name on it, but that you or s/he may well have to pay the price later.
Incidentally, neuro-trash grrrl, the “real” James T. Kirk (the character in the Star Trek universe) also changed his name at least once.
In the pilot episode, his name appeared written as “James R. Kirk”.
I guess what I am getting at is when a baby is born they generally tag it as something like Baby Boy Smith. Could you just leave it as Smith? That is with no given name. Or could you name it Mark and drop the surname Smith?
I pulled a bried stint at the Social Security Office. Seems there was an American Indian who said his name, his one-and-only/no first/no last-name was Face Of Glass.
Uncle Sam didn’t like that.
His card reads: Faceof Glass
But it got too cheesy, so you left?
(I’m sorry, I just couldn’t help myself)
(btw, I just re-read the ubbcodes doc, lot’s of new things there!)
Judges differ. In any case, there are guys with the given first name of Mister (from birth.)