Originally Posted by Carlo Giovanni Colussi
As often in your replies to some of my posts you are condescending and wrong, Benhur.
You are behaving as such since the beginning when I told you that 1977 doesn’t CLEARLY belong to Vilas as you claim
My examples aren’t preposterous
and I maintain that whenever anyone wanna slightly change his name into a so-called more noble patronymic it is snobbish.
In other words I don’t see why “Gonzales” had to be changed because in principle it isn’t a pejorative name.
Given that I read somewhere that Gonzalez was supposed to be more noble than Gonzales then I rightly thought it was snobbish to change this name because I don’t understand why Gonzales would be pejorative and so I don’t see the reason to change it into Gonzalez with a z.
So on the substance I was and still am right and unlike what you say I’m not snobbish at all.
However since your answer I have tried to find where I had previously read this supposed difference of nobleness between Gonzales and Gonzalez
but without success
so perhaps my memory was wrong and I have no competence at all in Spanish so I can’t claim if that difference is a reality or not.
Nevertheless I found something else about Gonzales’s motivations :
in a book called “Richard “Pancho” Gonzalez Tennis Champion” written by Doreen Gonzales who has no family connection with the tennis player.
Pages 9-10 it reads like this :
“… Manuel Gonzales (Richard’s father). In Mexico his name was spelled with a z at the end – Gonzalez. In the United States, though the spelling became Gonzales. Manuel Gonzales used the new spelling his entire life and passed down to each of his children. Richard, therefore grew up spelling his last name Gonzales. But around 1970, Richard returned to the Spanish version of his name as an expression of pride in his heritage”
So apparently (but I’m not so sure) Richard Gonzales decided to recover his father’s name before the latter was “americanized”.
I also discovered that Gonzales changed his name to Gonzalez at least in 1966 if not earlier
(and not around 1970 as claimed by Doreen Gonzales)
And about what Ali asked Patterson I don’t know and frankly I don’t mind because Ali wasn’t the best spirited human being on earth, far from that.
Sorry, I hadn't seen this. Look, Carlo, I think it's totally silly to accuse someone of snobbery or vanity for simply correcting the spelling of his name to its standard form. If Pancho G had changed his name to Alexander Magnus Braveheart, or something like that, you might have a small point. As it is, you have none. (The referrence to Ali vs Patterson is about when Patterson had refused to call Ali by his new name, and Ali kept punching him mercilessly and asking him "what's my name?" He did the same to Ernie Terrell)
As I told you before, the notion that Gonzalez is more “noble” than Gonzales is just sheer nonsense. Gonzales is simply a variant misspelling that occurred by transcribing the name by ear (the pronunciation is the same; so if you are an immigrant somewhere, and they ask you to tell them your name, the person might write it down with an s at the end if he doesn't know how it's spelled). The standard spelling is Gonzalez, probably by 1000 to 1 or more.
The above link lists the most common surnames in various Spanish-speaking countries. You can see that Gonzalez is the most frequent family name in at least 4 countries, and it's in the top 5 in most of them. And you will also see that Gonzales doesn’t even appear in any of these lists.
Not surprisingly, because it's relatively uncommon (and it's uncommon because it's a misspelling). So, someone correcting his name to its standard spelling is supposed to be snobbish? Come on!
Rank of Gonzalez among most frequent family names in various countries (from the link above)
Costa Rica 4
El Salvador 9