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Subject: Re: A question about surnames used on their own vs. in combination with a given name
Author: Jim Young   (guest)
Date: August 17, 2018 at 12:41:36 PM
Reply to: Re: A question about surnames used on their own vs. in combination with a given name by thegriffon
In France the particle with a lower case initial - e.g., Michel de Montaigne - denotes noble status; upper case initial - e.g., Charles De Gaulle - denotes non-noble status.
It should be added that the majority of bearers of the lower case particle have adopted it without right. France, being a republic, ignores such conceits, and snobs and social climbers take advantage of the lack of regulation.
I once read that Beethoven's friends tried to persuade him to change the 'van' spelling of his Dutch surname to 'von', thus pretending to membership of the nobility, but the composer refused to do so.
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