Subject: A question about surnames used on their own vs. in combination with a given name
Author: Mar   (Authenticated as X-Mar)
Date: August 6, 2018 at 6:46 AM

In Dutch a surname with 'de' or 'van' in front of it has different rules about the use of capital letter, depending on whether or not the given name is there or not.

It's: "Vincent van Gogh", but if you drop the "Vincent", it becomes "Van Gogh". The V is a capital letter now, so it's clear it's part of the surname.

I've read several English news paper stories where I've repeatedly seen Dutch surnames listed like "van Gogh", without the capital.

Because it happens regularly it got me wondering this. Is the difference in the use of capitals only done in Dutch?

More languages have "de" or other small parts commonly used in surnames (these are listed on the site for example: French DE LA FONTAINE, Spanish DE LA FUENTE, Irish MACK AN BAIRD, German VON ESSEN, Arabic AL-HASHIM, Italian DI ANTONIO). How do they deal with the capital letters. Are all parts of names written with a capital? Are some parts never with a capital regardless of the use of the given name? Or do they also use the Dutch system?

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