Ladies first? How to write your French surname.

//Ladies first? How to write your French surname.

Ladies first? How to write your French surname.

I discovered a little quirk recently that I thought I should share with you.  It concerns the application of double-barrelled or maiden-name with married-name surnames.

In France it is common place for women to retain their maiden name after marriage.  This, one assumes, is primarily to leave a paper-trail as to their new-found identity and whereabouts, not least on the doorbell of their love-nest. Now, in Britain a married couple would normally put the husband’s surname second place on the doorbell, with or without hyphen, but in France the reverse is true.

I discovered this when the local distributor of sacs de tri came knocking to deposit our annual allowance of recycling sacks.  He had made note of all the names on the door-buzzers and so when it came to crossing me off of the list – he looked terribly confused as to why my surname was not on it.  He had, quite simply, written down what he thought were all the married (male) names of the families in the building.  However, because we had written our names on the buzzer Anglo-style he thought that my surname was actually that of my wife … if you see what I mean?

I shall be changing the label on our doorbell forthwith…

By | 2011-11-29T17:05:13+00:00 November 29th, 2011|Life in France|1 Comment

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  1. Englishman November 30, 2011 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    To be clear:

    In France it goes: hisname-hername
    In Britain: hername-hisname

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