What’s in a name? If a name is a reflection of who we are, then how come we’re given one without our consent, the second we enter the world? Names can be hard to live up to, on occasion utterly ridiculous sounding, and at times clear representations of what are parents were, and were not thinking about upon our arrival. There are a lot of adults walking around out there with names of city and state, and I’d put money on the fact that more than a few of them had to do with the fact that they were conceived there. (Hey I’m not saying they all mean that! Ha!)
Six, a character on the popular 90’s TV show Blossom, may have been fictional, but do I doubt that there are actual children out there with names related to the number of drinks or attempts at baby making their parents went through? Nope. I’d believe it. Number names in general are out there.
Check out this discussion thread: Is it illegal to name your child a number?
Beckham Baby: Why the middle name Seven?
I work two retail jobs and at one I’m constantly amused by two of my coworker’s names.
“It’s spelled like Regina, but the ‘G’ is said like an ‘H’.”
The first time I met her and she explained this I couldn’t help but think what was the letter ‘H’ busy or something? Why didn’t your parents put an ‘H’ there if they want it pronounced it that way??! And later during my introduction to another woman with the name Mane, I was like, your mouth is saying “mo-nay”, but your name tag looks like you spelled Main Street differently or something. Now we treating ‘A’ ‘s are if they’re ‘O’’s….I missed that memo.
**Granted I’m just going to assume there is some purpose related to these spellings, but I don’t know what it is at the moment!**
Meanwhile, at my second job I’m looking at passports all the live long day and scratching my head while repeatedly asking, “What is your name?” and “Can you spell that?” I see all these letters put together in spellings and combinations I’ve never seen or heard before and it’s interesting.
Names are a big deal—for those giving the names, and those on the receiving end.
“You stole my baby name!” (Charlotte on Sex and the City) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s27NprKWiYw
There are lists upon lists of reasons, including but not limited to why we’re identified as we are:
- Gender [The 2012 most popular baby names in the US as confirmed by the American Social Security Department are: Sophia and Jacob. Jacob has been a top 10 male baby name for almost a decade and a half now..]
- Family or cultural heritage [ever notice or ask yourself…Chinese culture: So Many people, so few surnames, East Asian unique Names?, Common Spanish last names and why]
- Marital status [that’s a hot top: Why do bride change their name?, Should you change your name after marriage?]
- Place of residence
- Legal status and identification
- Influences from popular culture [Names influenced by…]
- Honoring a significant person, place or event
- Indication of racial background
- Status symbol For privacy or protection
- Adoption of something or someone
- Professional causes
- Interest creating [stage names anyone?]
Do you like the name you’ve been given? Well if you don’t there are ways to change it. There’s the legal route, or the popular choosing of going by one middle name [why do we have middle names?], or even allowing a nickname to be more dominantly used. I’ve personally spent an equal amount of years now being known solely by my nickname, Maggie, verses my formal birth certificate name, Margaret Elizabeth. I love that I’m named after my mother’s mom Margaret Elizabeth. It’s a honor not only to share with her now memory, but to also share the name with other culturally significant Margaret’s of the past and present. But at the same time I feel Maggie suits me better. That being said, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to making many off hand remarks over the years referring to the (self proclaimed by me!) coolness factor of my younger sister’s name. Also given to honor a grandmother, Grandma Jane. This time my parents took it a step further and gave her the French version of Jane: Jene’e. She ended up with a first and last name combo that suggests international influence and/or possibly a Jewish heritage—neither of which are true. Adding to the fact that my sister’s name practically sings off your tongue, my mother’s orginial signature spells out Wendolyn (Not Gwen!) Renai—how lovely is that? Pretty lovely. Can you blame a gal for moments of boredom at a personal moniker that routinely fills up mass sections of the white pages? On the plus side, monogrammed key chains always have me listed… (that’s exciting right?)
Names are a curiosity that draws us in. Like oh, so we’re replacing ‘y’’s with ‘I’’s now? very nice, very nice. Ex. Andi for a girl, verses Andy for a guy. (I tried that with Maggie, dropping the ‘e’…people were confused.) This accounts for the fact of why there are so many baby naming books and trending topics about celebrity births I suppose. Aside from the unique spellings, fascinating cultural significances, and all that jazz, my personal favorite name related activity involves pursuing name meaning databases. Similar to horoscopes, everyone’s has one, and while they’re decidedly not perfect in describing a person, it’s our individual personalities that bring names to life. How we represent them in ourselves is what gives them their real meaning. Still its fun to note any real life parallels.
Margaret (me)- pearl
Lonnie (my dad)- noble man
Patsy (my stepmom)- noble woman
(interesting how that worked for my dad and stepmom, eh?! And I do like pearls myself…)
What’s your name?
- Chantelle or Shontal? 18 ways to spell girl’s name means it beats Mohammed for diversity (standard.co.uk)
- Be thoughtful when naming your child (suzegeeksout.com)
- English People Suck at Naming Kids: List of Top Baby Names Reveals No Jayden, Aiden, or Mason [Baby Names] (gawker.com)