Lao name


Lao name

Lao names go in Western order, where the family name goes after the first given name.

It was the French colonial government that instituted the use of patronyms in Laos. A decree dated 28 July 1943 by the Governor general of Indochina created the obligation for every Lao person to use a surname, starting from 1st January 1944. In reality, the use of surnames was successfully introduced only among the educated urban middle class, while in rural areas their adoption was much slower. To this day, especially in the more remote areas and among certain ethnic minorities, one may encounter individuals without a surname.

Both first and surname are a mixture of Pali and Lao words. The wording comes from variety of influences. Nature, Animals, Royal titles for example. Lao names are generally made up of 2-3 words, but when translated into English span nearly 10-15 letters, which both Lao and Thai names names are known for.

On official documents, only the first given name and surname are written. Lao People are known by friends and family by nick names. However, in the world of business, people are usually called by their first names, with various honorifics. Nick names are generally one worded names. The names are generally less poetic than official names.

Common words

Vong = specifically means, comes from the lineage of the King, mis-translation as mere bloodline, lineage, or ancestry, is incorrect...

Syha = Leo, Lion, from the Sanskrit word Singh
Chanh/Jan/Tiane (Lao ຈັນ)= Moon. Three common translation, Tiane being an early French translation. Hence: Vientiane
Dao = Star.
Dara = Evening Star.
Pha/Phra = Various meanings. It could translate into English as "Holy". It is a word that gives a more divine definition to any word used after it.
Kham, a common part of Lao names, means gold, or more generally something precious.
Raja = sanscrit for King, or "one that conquers"

References

Thao Nhouy Abhay: "Les noms de personnes", in Présence du Royaume Lao, France-Asie, Tome 12, 1956.


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