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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sign Language Saturday: Feeding My Addiction To Names

Along with shoes, cows, and books, I've been sort of obsessed with Names since I was a child. I've written about Names quite a bit here at the Dept., and I've mentioned more than once how I feel disappointed with my own. My given Name, Nancy, has never suited me; I shortened it to Nance early on and have gone by it professionally and personally for decades. I'm not excited about that Name, either, but oh well.

Having a boring and unsuitable Name has made me a noticer and coveter and collector of Names. I love beautiful Names (like Annabelle), unusual Names (like Barkevious), melodious Names (Vivienne), evocative Names (Tristan), and am fascinated by trends in Names. Lucky for me, there is a Sign that feeds my Name Addiction, and I pass by it at least once a week. It is on the grounds of an elementary school not very far at all from where I live, and it lists the Names of all its weekly Pride Award Winners. Here are this week's:

(I've blacked out surnames and the name of the school for privacy/security reasons. These are, after all, elementary kids.)

This is quite a hoity-toity, high-tea-in-the-drawing-room-sounding collection of Names, is it not?  I feel like Victoria, Cameron, and Elizabeth are probably sitting there, backs nice and straight, politely applauding with gloved hands whilst Caleb collects his Pride Award, hoping that their Good Example is followed by the rest of the class.

Those Names are a bit of a departure from the previous week, when the Pride Awards went to Dallas, Raven, Liam, and Aniyah.  These Winners probably had to take an hour off from their MTv reality show or maybe from taping "4ForRock", a KidzChannel show about four elementary school kids who are in an after-school rock band and yes, each one is a fashion doll, available now!

Previous to that week, Jordan, Amari, Marissa, and Ciara collected Awards.  Each of them likely used their acceptance speech as a platform for his or her work with International Charitable Organizations, a couple of which they personally founded.  I bet a short personal video from Angelina Jolie was shown, including an original song sung by native children they inspired.

I love Names!  I love them all, and I love the character they seem to convey.  Names are fun and interesting.  This sign gives me a little boost every week.  I think I'll add its list of first Names to my sidebar just in case anyone else likes to check in on Names.

21 comments:

  1. My best friend all thought grade and high school was named Nancy. She moved after that and we've managed to stay in contact first through letters and now through email. I have nothing but good memories that come along with the name Nancy. You might not think it's special but I do.

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    1. Jean--I'm glad you have a special Nancy in your life. Name associations are powerful, aren't they? Lots of names were Off The Table when Rick and I were naming the boys. I had too many students who ruined some names for me.

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  2. I think I want to gag when I hear some of the "New" baby names from the past 20 years or so. My pet peeves - names I will ban when I'm queen of the world - are, names of cities and other geographical points. "Brooklyn", "Madison", "Bronx", "Cheyenne", are just a few that I hate. AND, if you ARE going to name your kid after a department of France, please, at least spell it correctly. It's "Brittany", NOT "Britini" or "Britanie", etc.

    It I was queen of the world, I'd make everybody name their kids either "John" or "Mary", with a number attached. I have two sons, "Jeff" and "Andy". Their wives are "Grace" and "Emily". Andy has two daughters, "Eleanor" and "Lillian" and Jeff has one son, "Nicholas" (called "Nico"). Jeff and Grace are due for a second child next April - a girl - and they didn't "get it" when I suggested "Alexandra" for a name...

    If I had ever had a daughter - and a different husband - I'd have named her "India Jane", which is the coolest name in the world. My boys and their wives have rudely dismissed that name when I - timidly - suggested it...

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    1. Jill--I don't get as annoyed as you do about Place Names for babies, but the goofy spellings do annoy me once in a while. Naming girls with boy names strikes me as odd. I saw a girl named Noah the other day, and all I could think of was "why?"

      I love the idea of a Nicholas and Alexandra! I do that all the time, and I am also ignored. It's okay. The names of your in-laws and grands remind me of another Name Trend, that of returning to old-fashioned names. Sometimes it sounds like couples didn't have babies so much as they adopted senior citizens from a local nursing home. In my own family I have similar Eldernames for grandnieces and grandnephews, although no Ethels, Berthas, or Gertrudes. YET.

      When I hear the name India, I think of the Wilkes sister in Gone with the Wind. I've never known anyone named India!

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    2. Jill, funnily enough I am a Mary and as a teen I worked at a lodge in the summers where there were three Marys in a staff of seven. We went for double names though, not numbers.

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  3. In my line of work I get to see ALL KINDS of names - and they are always fascinating to me. I never (or rarely) get to actually see the person with the name, so I’m often trying to imagine why their parents gave them the name & what kind of personality they have. For example, from last week, Hepzibah! Isn’t that fabulous? We also had a Mufyn one time.

    I tend to like old-fashioned names best. Although perhaps not this one from my family: Gory (a woman).

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    1. Bug--Wow! Hepzibah is a very, very old name. Perhaps Gory was a surname? Short for something? Yikes.

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  4. I love the names on the sign, they are great names. Some personal favorites from my lifetime are:

    Brielle - This was a name my mom's business partner considered for her first daughter, though it wasn't chosen. I loved it and swore for about 10 years that that would be my daughter's name, though it didn't stick. Ted and his family were all a little shocked when I didn't want Brielle, but there were too many Briannas by then, and it sounded too similar. How was I to know that Maya would be popular, too?

    Samanda - Maya named her baby doll this. I loved it. It also didn't stick, because she fell in love with a friend's REAL baby, Kendra, and Samanda's name was changed to Kendra.

    Ananda Lily - This was the name I had in mind in case we had another baby girl. Anand is the male name, and both Ted and his brothers have variations of it as their middle names. Lily would be for my mom, whose first name was Lilith (she went by her middle name), and my Great Grandma, Lillian. Ted was never fond of the name Lily, though perhaps I could have convinced him. Or perhaps it would have gone the way of Brielle and Samanda, and been replaced by something else.

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    1. J@jj--I remember the popularity of Brianna, too. Samanda and Ananda are both pretty and have nice nods to Ted's heritage/nationality.

      Of course, none of us has a single bit of control over what our children's names turn into once they get nicknames or their names get shortened, either by themselves or by their friends. Gorgeous and storied names that we agonized over are reduced to something much different in a moment.

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  5. I think the character traits each of us associates with names is highly individual and can differ considerably from one another. When I stop to think about a name, my perception of it plus whether or not I like it, i find my reasons can be interesting. Often they’re based on people I’ve known, read about with that same name, or other.

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    1. joared--Oh, that goes without saying, I think. In my case, lots of name perceptions can be based upon former students, as I said above. Everyone brings his or her own baggage to names, good or bad. That's the fun part.

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  6. I'm fascinated by names, too. I like mine, both my legal name and my nickname, well enough. The thing that I have difficulty with is the alternative spelling of names. Not like the French versus the English spelling of a standard name, but just the weirdo made-up ways in which normal people spell a normal name like... Crystal spelled as Christyal. Why?

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    1. Ally Bean--Oh, good for you! Liking your name is like always wearing comfy shoes and clothes. You just feel good all the time. Not liking it...well, you can imagine from there.

      I don't mind a few variations on spelling here and there. But for a while there, it seemed like parents were adding Y's to every name in every place they could. It was nuts. Alyvya, Kamryn, Ryver, Sylvya, Krystle, etc.

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  7. I LOVE names too! I have two current faves.

    1. A transcript I was asked to pull a few years ago, for someone whose names was E Pluribus Allen (my co-worker said, "Out of many, Allen.")

    2. A player on the Notre Dame football team is named Equanimeous St. Brown. Equanimeous is one thing, but "St" Brown???

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    1. Bridget--I love both of these. And may I add Quintez Cephus from Wisconsin?

      Here is the reason for that wonderful Equanimeous St Brown name (after a bit of googling), and I am thrilled to find out that he has brothers with also-fantastic names:

      “No offense, but Jim Brown, John Brown—what is that? There’s too many of them,” John says. “I’ve got the option to use any name I want, I’m going to pick a slave name?”

      There is, of course, an endless spectrum of possibilities between “John Brown” and “Equanimeous Tristan Imhotep J. St. Brown,” “Osiris Adrian Amon-Ra J. St. Brown,” and “Amon-Ra Julian Heru J. St. Brown.” Brown was active in the early 1990s in what he describes as “an underground black consciousness movement” when he learned of the power of traditional African names; Egyptian nomenclature intrigued him even more. With the exception of Equanimeous, a name he plucked from a character in a friend’s novel, the boys’ first and middle names follow a formula: An Egyptian name, a traditional name chosen by Miriam, a second Egyptian name and a “J” for John. (After Miriam delivered Equanimeous, John told her he was also adding a flourish to their surname. “Brown doesn’t look good on the back of a jersey,” he explained. Thus, St. Brown—which John says narrowly edged Von Brown.)

      Source article found here. I am thoroughly impressed. Rick and I did not do nearly this amount of homework when naming Jared and Sam. We are lightweights. These names are outstanding.

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  8. Me too. I love losts of names for your baby and name clouds and all of your picks and comments. The only peeve I have is parents who don't think through what the initial letters of the names they choose will spell. My otherwise wonderful parents produced MPH for my initials and I was called Speedy all through highschool. Luckily the game of knicknaming (?) from initials was over by the time I married a man whose last name started with G. I hate to think what Miles per Gallon would have brought me. Mary was my grandmother's name too and I quite like it,

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    1. Mary--First of all, I love the name Mary. I would have loved to have been named Mary rather than my name.

      I have to give your classmates credit for coming up with Speedy, which with all due consideration to your feelings, is still a great and creative nickname. At least they didn't just pronounce your initials phonetically and call you Umph.

      Nicknames for MPG is a great challenge for the commenters here. I'll think about it and see if I come up with anything. I hope someone here does!

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  9. My daughter's name is Megan Elizabeth, which I think is quite beautiful. She hated it for years b/c there were too many Megan's in her class. I of course didn't realize that when I choose it; I had read a book while pregnant about a young woman named Megan O'Malley who came to the U.S. from Ireland. Typical story: poor Irish girl employed as a maid. The difference was that she worked long and hard and became an incredibly successful businesswoman, which was unheard of back in those days (especially for both women and Irishmen, who were terribly ostracized). (And Elizabeth b/c I thought it sounded so regal.) And the funny thing is that my Megan has become all of those things I loved about the character: ambitious, driven, beautiful, and successful. I can't remember what I did yesterday, but I can still vividly remember reading that story 26 years ago and just knowing that I was going to have my own Megan.

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    1. Elle--I have two nieces named Megan, though one is the traditional spelling Meghan. One was directly inspired by the book The Thornbirds. Elizabeth was always a favourite name of mine, and I named so many of my paperdolls Elizabeth. I also liked its diminutives, Betsy and Beth.

      I love that you were able to name your own child a name that you loved and held dear for so long, and that she lived up to the spirit of that name.

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  10. My pet peeve about names is the habit of calling someone by his or her middle name. My first name is also Nancy, but I was called my middle name (Carolyn) from birth. It gave me plenty of grief to have to constantly correct teachers and others who assumed I was called by my first name. Having worked in health care, I knew how confusing it was to have one's Social Security and Medicare name be one that is not the name one is known by. All my medical history, and every important paper (except the SS card) used my middle name. So I went to an attorney, paid him handsomely, and got Nancy removed as part of my name. Too bad I didn't do it before 9-11-2001. Changing one's legal name after that became much more complicated. And expensive.

    We named our daughter "Amy" after her great-grandmother. I didn't think the name was so common when she was born. But her kindergarten class had five little white girls and three of them were named Amy. And each of the three spelled the name differently.

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    1. NCmountainwoman--I don't understand that whole deal, either. I know several people who named their children (usually male) with the purposeful intent of using the Middle Name as the First Name. It seems so goofy to me. And unnecessary.

      My mother keeps taking offense at my dislike of my name and sometimes gets a little snotty and says, "Then why didn't you just change it?" Well, at what point would I do that and not seem odd? By the time I would be old enough to change it as a legal adult, just getting the money to do it would have been tough, let alone learning of the process and finding the resources. Once I was much older, it was really Too Late.

      Amy is a lovely name, and I remember when it became popular in all its incarnations: Aime, Aimee, Ami, Amie, Aimie. I had a class one year invaded by Sara, Sarah, and Sarah. I still shudder thinking about The Jason Years.

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