Chilean Culture

Naming

  • In Chilean culture, it is typical for people to trace their ancestry back through the paternal lines of both their mother and father. This is reflected in their name, as they usually have two surnames (e.g. Maria SILVA VARGAS). The father’s family name appears first, which is followed by the mother’s family name.
  • Wives generally do not adopt their husband’s surname upon marriage. Some women in social settings may use the marital conjunction ‘de’ (e.g. Maria SILVA de ORTIZ). This format is becoming less common.
  • Among friends and family, Chileans often use nicknames to refer to one another. Commonly, Chileans will create nicknames based on an easily noticeable personal characteristic or as a shorter form of one’s first name. For example, one’s nickname might be ‘el gordito’ (‘the fat one’) or ‘Pato’ (a shorter form of ‘Patricio’).
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