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Subject: Re: Legitimacy
Author: তন্ময় ভ   (guest, 168.103.119.104)
Date: May 8, 2010 at 11:22:10 AM
Reply to: Re: Legitimacy by Lumia
Thank you for the lucid explanation.

I do see this concept existing in some cultural contexts in India like a, largely old-fashioned, bengali hindu community that would insist there is a proper (usually, but not exclusively, Sanskrit derived) spelling for a name. In other contexts, including the largest section of the current urban bengali generations, at least in Indian Bengal, the concept would seem rather odd: they will insist like CKE that names do not have standardized spellings, simply more common and less common ones. In practice, I can see that despite this insistence, the vast majority of them do follow the spellings of the names `legitimate' according to the older generation for those names which would be recognizable to them. But, they freely use other names, with non-standardized spellings, and do not bother about the legitimacy either of these names or of these spellings.

Everything I said above I meant to apply only to the spellings in Bengali: the English spellings have never been standardized, even for those expatriate Bengalis who could not spell their name in Bengali, and even though in modern urban India people often use English and the Roman script as the only means of communication in a wide circle. (With exceptions: the Calcutta University and a few other institutions used to `standardize' the English spellings of the traditional forenames and last names in the graduation etc. certificates issued by them, to the utter confusion of all legal bodies, Indian and foreign, unfamiliar with this custom. I do not know if they still do it. The telephone directories, similarly, often arbitrarily standardize the English spellings to a bizarre standards varying according to individual vagaries.)

I focused on Hindu Bengali communities specifically because details differ, but many of the remarks above do apply to other religions and regions as well.

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