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Observations on the Spelling of Surnames

The spelling of Catalan surnames has been set before the current orthography system was in place. Many do not match current spelling norms but do follow traditional, old, genuine norms (e.g. Antich, Prohens, Reynés or Thomàs).

In other instances, this traditional spelling was changed more recently by civil servants (often not from Catalan-speaking areas) who were unaware of traditional Catalan orthography (e.g. Farré, Caballé or Sardá) and introduced Castilian spelling norms (e.g. Piña or Rusiñol). Nonetheless, it should be said that the collection of surnames in the Balearic Islands remains less changed than in other Catalan-speaking areas.

Two situations should be clearly differentiated: those surnames whose spelling is not due to Castilian interference and those whose spelling has undergone interference. In the first instance, it is equally valid to keep the traditional spelling normally linked to family identity (Antich, Prohens, Reynés,Thomàs) or adapt and update it to current norms (Antic, Proenç, Reiners, Tomàs). In the second, correcting the changes is recommended (Pinya, Rossinyol). As with everything, there will be many instances that fall between the two examples and where a prudent combination of good judgment and adaptation to current linguistic regulations is advisable.

We advise only making those changes that do not lead to phonetic changes and, therefore, avoiding those that do (e.g. Planici for Planícia, Busquets for Bosquets, Villalonga for Vilallonga or Marroig for Masroig).

In passing, we would like to point out that in the case of anthroponyms (place names formed by using surnames) the Language Service recommends full normalisation (Son Lledó, Son Arboç, Can Maçanet).