Here is Québec, when a (straight) couple marries, the wife does not take her husband’s last name. I suppose she could if she really wanted to jump through many legal hoops, but even there it would be a lengthy process. This is primarily because Québec is a civil law jurisdiction, unlike the rest of Canada which relies on common law principles. But a spinoff is that “Jeanne Tremblay” ‘s file with the government will always be a variation of her name at birth and her birthdate.
Hence, many children here have compound last names (in either order — mother’s-father’s or father’s-mother’s), unless the parents decide to only give one name (the mother’s or the father’s). In a way, that’s not such a big deal. In Spanish-speaking countries, the norm is to have your father’s and mother’s last name (in that order), with the father’s name being used in day-to-day dealings.
My brother sent me this list of unfortunate last name combinations that could happen in Québec. Alas, a lot of you who don’t speak French or aren’t familiar with Québec slang won’t get the jokes, so I’m providing rough English translations. In most cases, it’s not that the combos really mean that, but they SOUND like they do.
Unfortunate Last Names
- Labelle-Binette (the cute face)
- Lavoie-Ferré (the railroad track)
- Desjardins-Fleury (gardens in flower)
- Dupont-D’Avignon (from d’Avignon bridge)
- Buisson-Desfossés (bush from the ditches)
- Jetté-Lapierre ([I] threw the stone)
- Morand-Voyer ([they] sent me back/fired me)
- Tétreault-Cauchon (you’re too piggy)
- Lalumière-Dufour (the oven light)
- Sanschagrin-D’Amours (without love-sickness)
- Legros-Ratté (the big loser)
- Laporte-Barré (the locked door)
- Lebeau-Fyfe (the big fag)
- Legrand-Brûlé (the big burn [victim])
- Beausoleil-Brillant (nice bright sun)
- Leboeuf-Haché (the ground beef)
- Parent-D’Ostie (parent of a motherfucker)
- Viens-Sansregrets (come with no regret)
- Lemoyne-Allaire (dick in the air)
- Hétu-Guay (are you gay)
Meanwhile, from the unbelievable-but-true, an old French name that’s never given anymore for a female is Victime. And yes, it means the same thing as in English. It really happened, in our lifetime, that a young girl was given that name with the second family name in Number 16 above. She obviously had grounds, pardon the pun, as a (very traumatized) adult, to legally change her first name to Vicky.
In another case, I won’t give you her actual name because she’s a real person whom I don’t know. But, when she says her full name in French really fast, it’s sounds like she’s saying, “It’s the stomach.”
And, I don’t know if it’s true or urban legend, but when I was growing up in Moncton, there apparently was a woman named Candy who married a guy with the last name of Kane and — you got it! — she took his name!
What are some people thinking, huh?!
ADDENDUM: The choice of image for this post is not meant to be a slight against Québec or parents or Québec parents. It’s just a cute mom-and-kid picture, okay?!