Longest Name

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jewish_scientist
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Longest Name

Postby jewish_scientist » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:15 pm UTC

What is the longest name, in terms of syllables, someone can have? Before you post some dude from the 1200's with a dozen title, there is a qualifier. By name, I mean how the person is referred to in regular conversation. For example, Franklin Delaware Roosevelt may be 8 syllables, but FDR is only 3. Given names, shortened names, and nicknames count. My guess that the limit is 5 syllables before a shortened version is make. My only example of this is the Pokemon Feraligatr (there should be an -er at the end, but the game could not hold that many characters).

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Re: Longest Name

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:47 pm UTC

There's no reason to expect any answer to your "can" question. As for how long the names are that people do use (as opposed to can use), I expect the number is a lot more than 5.

(Incidentally FDR's middle name was not Delaware.)
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Re: Longest Name

Postby HES » Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:09 pm UTC

Sixtus Dominic Boniface Christopher Rees-Mogg is, currently, refereed to as such in "regular conversation".
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Re: Longest Name

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:47 pm UTC

Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo's name was famously never to be abbreviated.

But seriously, I don't think this question has a meaningful answer.

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Re: Longest Name

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:09 am UTC

It'll depend massively on cultural context. How much brevity in speech is valued, the structure of the language itself. In the West we presently abbreviate a fair bit more than we did a century ago in writing, and I think that's true to a lesser extent in speech as well. English has a lot of information per syllable and is spoken slowly; languages that leave all syllables open are often spoken more quickly, like moras in Japanese. Probably goes even further in that direction in languages with a limited palette of phonemes, etc.
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Re: Longest Name

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:46 pm UTC

Do we really abbreviate more now than a century ago, if you control for register?

Sure, a tweet from today is more abbreviated than a longhand letter from a hundred years ago, but it's also more abbreviated than a longhand letter from today, as is a telegram from a hundred years ago.

A much bigger change has been the increase in how much writing is now informal.
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Re: Longest Name

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:04 pm UTC

Yeah, you're right, and even if there is any difference, it'd be nearly impossible to filter out from all of the other much less subtle factors like that.
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Re: Longest Name

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:24 pm UTC

I don't know if there is any trend toward abbreviations in general, but we certainly recognize a much broader array of initialisms than our ancestors did a century ago.

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Re: Longest Name

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:43 pm UTC

Johann Gambolputty de-von-Ausfern-schplenden-schlitter-crasscrenbon-fried-digger-dingle-dangle-dongle-dungle-burstein-von- knackerthrasher-apple-banger-horowitz-ticolensic-granderknotty-spelltinkle-grandlich-grumblemeyer-spelterwasser-kurstlich-himbleeisen-bahnwagen-gutenabend-bitte-ein-nürnburger-bratwustle-gerspurten-mitz-weimache-luber-hundsfut-gumberaber- shönedanker-kalbsfleischmittleraucher-von-Hautkopft of Ulm..?

(Or my friend Huw. Huw Llanfairpwchgwyngychgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Not his real name. He's not actually a 'Huw'. That's just a joke, because he looks like Huw Edwards...)

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Re: Longest Name

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:19 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:I don't know if there is any trend toward abbreviations in general, but we certainly recognize a much broader array of initialisms than our ancestors did a century ago.
Even that I'd want to see some evidence for.
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Re: Longest Name

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:24 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:I don't know if there is any trend toward abbreviations in general, but we certainly recognize a much broader array of initialisms than our ancestors did a century ago.
Even that I'd want to see some evidence for.

I don't have any evidence, but it seems apparent that initialisms are widely used on the internet and in text messages for a variety of phrases, and that this was not done to the same degree in the past.

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Re: Longest Name

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:30 pm UTC

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Re: Longest Name

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:50 pm UTC

That is an article about telegraph operators. I never said more abbreviations existed today than in 1900 (though that's almost certainly true due to the increase in English-speaking population, if nothing else), but that they were more widely recognized. Do you think a typical person would understand telegraph abbreviations the way they understand text abbreviations today?

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Re: Longest Name

Postby eSOANEM » Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:02 am UTC

But then you're not controlling for register which depends strongly on the medium and, as gmal said, the main effect is simply the change in the sorts of register people predominantly communicate in
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Re: Longest Name

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:28 am UTC

Well people have always communicated predominantly in a casual manner, but in the past, that was almost exclusively through speech. I don't see how that changes my point. Apart from that, is there any register in which abbreviations used to be common in the past the way they are now? "Telegraphese" is not a register.

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Re: Longest Name

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:32 am UTC

The TLA particularly seems like a nineteenth and twentieth century fixation. Like, was there a point in history where newspapers were writing stories about the EIC?
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Re: Longest Name

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:34 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:The TLA particularly seems like a nineteenth and twentieth century fixation. Like, was there a point in history where newspapers were writing stories about the EIC?
You may be right, but we were only talking about the 20th and 21st centuries in any case.

Eebster the Great wrote:Well people have always communicated predominantly in a casual manner, but in the past, that was almost exclusively through speech. I don't see how that changes my point. Apart from that, is there any register in which abbreviations used to be common in the past the way they are now? "Telegraphese" is not a register.
If we can't count telegrams then you can't count tweets or texts.
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Re: Longest Name

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:11 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:Well people have always communicated predominantly in a casual manner, but in the past, that was almost exclusively through speech. I don't see how that changes my point. Apart from that, is there any register in which abbreviations used to be common in the past the way they are now? "Telegraphese" is not a register.
If we can't count telegrams then you can't count tweets or texts.

The telegrams weren't written using these acronyms, they were just transmitted using them. Telegrams were shortened sometimes, of course, but not in that way, especially because the companies charged by the word, making much of that abbreviation pointless.

In other words, only an extremely tiny subset of people―telegraph operators―would recognize or use any of those abbreviations. But when people send text messages, they actually use them themselves, and the recipients have to recognize them. It's not the same thing at all.

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Re: Longest Name

Postby eSOANEM » Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:09 pm UTC

And people who don't text or tweet don't recognise lots of the initialisms used in them, it's an identical sitch to telegrams except you just have more people sending them
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Re: Longest Name

Postby Eebster the Great » Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:30 pm UTC

The fact that so many more people use and recognize them is pretty much the point. Texting is not a niche activity.

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Re: Longest Name

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:41 am UTC

Yeah, the original question we're talking about here was how much people abbreviate. Telegraph operators certainly" count", and are also a very small and not very significant number of instances in that tally.
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Re: Longest Name

Postby mathmannix » Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:31 pm UTC

My two cents: I think longer names are primarily used in order to distinguish names that are the same when shorter.

So "The" Bach has to be Johann Sebastian Bach because he had relatives named Johann Nicolaus Bach, Johann Christoph Bach, Johann Snagglepuss Bach, etc... and when you click on the Wikipedia article on "Johann Sebastian Bach", the first thing it says is, basically, if you meant his grandson, you should click on "Johann Sebastian Bach (painter)." While obviously "(painter)" was not part of his name, and I doubt he was ever called that four-word "name", he could have been, and that's how longer names come about. If he had another grandson who was a painter, they might be "Johann Sebastian Bach (oil painter)" and "Johann Sebastian Bach (house painter)" or something.

In summary, there is practically no limit as long as people keep having similar names that need to be further distinguished.
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Re: Longest Name

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:44 am UTC

You never mentioned P D Q Bach. I am disappoint!


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