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May 17, 2017

What’s in a Name? Cultural Variations in Name Order

Chelsea blog 2 by Chelsea Lee

This post is part of a series on author names. Other posts in the series will be linked at the bottom of this post as they are published.

Most people have one or more given names and a surname. However, the order of these names varies across cultures. This can create confusion when a writer is figuring out how to cite an author from a culture with different naming practices than the writer’s own.

To help you resolve questions regarding name order, do a little detective work.

  1. Look at how the author has been cited in other works and follow that presentation of the name.
  2. Authors usually use the default name order for the language in which they are publishing, so take your cues for name order from the language in which the article is written. For example, Yi-Chun Chang may publish as Yi-Chun Chang in an English journal but as Chang Yi-Chun in a Chinese journal. In either case, the APA Style format for the name is Chang, Y.-C., in the reference list entry and Chang (2016) in the in-text citation.
  3. Sometimes the surname is presented in all-capital letters on the source to distinguish it from the given name(s), for example, CHANG Yi-Chun or Yi-Chun CHANG. Do not retain the all-caps style for the reference; still write this name as Chang, Y.-C., in the reference list entry and as Chang (2016) in the text citation.

Other Questions

Do you have more questions on author names in APA Style? See these other posts, or leave a comment below:

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