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popular / widespread surname

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Saluton, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. Saluton Senior Member

    Moscow, Russia
    Russian
    Can the word combination popular surname be used as a synonym of common surname?

    I made up the following examples:
    This surname is one of the most popular in Russia.
    This surname is one of the most common in Russia.
    This surname is one of the most widespread in Russia.


    Are all of these sentences synonymous?
     
  2. GMF1991 Senior Member

    Cork, Ireland
    English (UK, Suffolk)
    Not sure that "popular" can be used for surnames as it infers a certain choice, which, unless I'm mistaken, does not occur when receiving a surname (or I'd have chosen Hanks or Cruise, for my first name of Tom... :p).

    Common is the way that surnames are rated in England, however popular can be used for first names.

    I hope that this is useful :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
  3. Saluton Senior Member

    Moscow, Russia
    Russian
    Uh?
     
  4. GMF1991 Senior Member

    Cork, Ireland
    English (UK, Suffolk)
    I have just noticed the error, and I apologise, using "common" is how we explain the number of people/families that have a certain surname... (I've just seen the lack of quotation marks in my original comment, I think this may also have caused confusion, I will change it).

    :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
  5. Saluton Senior Member

    Moscow, Russia
    Russian
  6. GMF1991 Senior Member

    Cork, Ireland
    English (UK, Suffolk)
  7. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    Popular usually means chosen by large numbers of people. Surnames cannot therefore be popular in countries where they are long-established and inherited from parents.

    However, in countries where the entire name is given to a child at birth, I suppose some will be more popular (= more often chosen) than others. Likewise at moments in history when surnames became established (English surnames in the late Middle Ages; Jewish surnames in Europe in the 19th century...) pleasant names would doubtless be more popular than insulting ones, if the recipient had a choice in the matter.
     
  8. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    So, based on what others have said, if you're talking about contemporary Russia, use the 2nd and 3rd sentences, not the 1st sentence.
     
  9. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    Absolutely.

    There is of course, another difference in meaning between common and widespread. A surname that is common in Moscow may not be widespread throughout Muscovia, Tacharstan, Nenetsia, Primorye, Siberia...
     
  10. Saluton Senior Member

    Moscow, Russia
    Russian
    Thanks, but I didn't quite get the distinction between common and widespread.
    So it's incorrect to say 'widespread in a city'?
     
  11. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    Common is mathematical: it means that there is a high average number of people with the name.
    Widespread is geographical: it means that the name is not limited to one particular place.

    A name may be widespread in a city, if it is not limited to one area.

    I can't find the data for names, but for example: Buddists are widespread in England (found in many places), but not common (0.3% of the population); Muslims are more common (4.6%) but less widespread (found mainly in a few big cities).

    See http://www.publicprofiler.org/#
     

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