Mongolian names are melodious

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Mongolian names are symbolic, melodious and, for the western mind, a little confusing. Instead of using a given first name followed by a family surname, Mongolians use a system called patronymics, which denotes lineage through the father.

This explains why married Mongolian couples and even mothers and children can have different last names.

For example, if a man in Mongolia named Joseph had a son named Michael, the child's full name would be possessive: Joseph's Michael. But when that same name is expressed in English, it is reversed and becomes Michael Joseph.

Most Mongolians, however, tend to use only their given name in their daily lives, so a member of the Church like Bumbagerel Norov (Norov's Bumbagerel in Mongolian) is known simply as Brother Bumbagerel.

In addition, Mongolians may abbreviate their names, add extra vowels, or attach suffixes to convey special meanings. A name like "Enkhzul," can become simply "Zulaa" by dropping the first syllable and adding vowels to the end.

This Article, by Page Johnson, appeared in the LDS Church News, weekend April 24, 2010