March 29, 2009 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Which is the surname?

"A. Selmi M’henni" - what's the surname?

i.e. what goes first in an academic citation?
posted by hannahlambda to Grab Bag (5 answers total)
Best answer: M'Henni, A.S. 2009. title..
posted by special-k at 11:53 AM on March 29, 2009

Best answer: Special-k is probably right, but you can't always tell. Your best bet is to refer to something the author wrote him or herself or see how others have cited the author (if indeed this is an academic context).
posted by bluedaisy at 12:30 PM on March 29, 2009

Best answer: Seconding bluedaisy that you'd ideally find an existing reference and use whatever they did, if you can. Or do a bit of research on getting it right.

Different languages or even countries have different rules for this, and those rules sometimes change for context. I did a bit of rummaging a while back for someone I know who was doing genealogical research and going insane over some Portuguese naming. Link is to some of the convoluted collation rules, but scan the whole page(or even just read the first paragraph) for lots more fun.
posted by Su at 2:38 PM on March 29, 2009

Best answer: It's a Maghrebi name, if I'm not mistaken. I believe that M'henni is the surname while Selmi is a name that exists throughout the Arab world and can be both a first and a last name (like many names in English, like Thomas, for instance) but is in this instance a given name. I'm no expert on Maghrebi naming conventions but I believe that surnames aren't all that convoluted.
posted by Kattullus at 3:01 PM on March 29, 2009

If I recall my discussions with my girlfriend regarding our books and CDs, it depends primarily on what A. Selmi M’henni prefers. After that, this is usually the sort of thing that you can find in a styleguide—check whatever one you're using for info on how citations should be handled.
posted by klangklangston at 9:29 PM on March 30, 2009

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