Thai people and their longlastnames

It’s not enough that they have non-conventional alphabet. They also have to have long names, particularly surnames. What. In The. World.

I’m sure you’ve noticed how among Filipinos, Americans, Chinese, British or whatnot, many of them share the same last names. You have your Cruz, Santos, and Reyes; Smith, William, and Brown; Li/Lee, Chen, and Wang; and Jones, Taylor, and Robinson.  But if you’ve been exposed to Thai people or know a few of them personally, unless they belong to the same immediate family,  chances are, none of them share the same last name. And man, are they long.

Not your most reliable source but Wikipedia offers some explanation and for now, I’ll take it. [In brackets are my comments]

Thai names, both given name and family, are often long and there are a great many of them. The diversity of family names is because they are required to be unique to a family, and they are a recent introduction. Further, Thai people change their family names relatively frequently (this practice being virtually unknown in many other countries outside of marriage).

Last names became legally required of Thai citizens in 1913: before then, most Thais used only a first or individual name. The names generally convey positive attributes. Under Thai law, only one family can use any given surname: thus any two people of the same surname must be related.

That they can change their family names relatively frequently reminds me of Friends. And Princess Consuela Bananahammock and her fiance, Crap Bag. I miss watching Friends.

Wiki writes further:

Thai surnames are often long, particularly among those of upper-class families and also among Thais of Chinese descent, whose lengthy names stem from an attempt to translate Chinese names into Thai equivalents… According to the current law, to create a new Thai surname, it must not be longer than ten Thai letters, vowel symbols and diacritics are not counted.

That’s your amazing randomness for the day. And good luck remembering their names.


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