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Help with article for Swedish magazine?!
September 22, 2013
7:30 pm
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September 22, 2013
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Hello everyone:

I'm a Swedish journalist based in Stockholm. I am currently doing research for an article for a popular science journal about language and writing.

I would like to investigate and write about what we call people when they have the same first name, to separate one from the other. In Sweden, when people are called the same, we usually refer to the person with his or her first name, followed by the first letter in their last name (for example Anna K, Anna H, and Anna S). Historically, we used the last names to distinguish people. This of course depends a little on the context, but in schools and at most workplaces we usually do it the way mentioned above.

I want to do a comparison between Swedish and other languages and was wondering how you do this in the UK? I have a feeling that you might do it differently? Are middle names involved to separate two people with the same first name?

Has anyone investigated or written anything about this?

All input would be helpful, looking forward to hearing from you!


Karin Skagerberg

September 23, 2013
10:13 pm
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September 22, 2013
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feel free to e-mail me, any thoughts would be helpful! Thank you!
[email protected]

// Karin

September 24, 2013
10:50 pm
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October 4, 2012
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Hi Karin,

I have done some research which might be relevant to your question. I don't know if I can speak for all of the UK, because in my experience different strategies can be used in different communities of people. In some contexts it could be as simple as using the surname or middle name as well as (or instead of) the first name, but there could also be nicknames used replacing the forename entirely. I will send you an email anyway and give you some more info.


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