Think Before Naming Your Child

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TommyTumnus
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby TommyTumnus » Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:31 am UTC

Not a name, but my parents didn't realize the initials they were giving me when I was born. I've started to shy away from including my middle initial when initialing papers, because I don't like scrawling "JAP" all over the place.

Yes, my initials are a racial slur. Go me.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Bobber » Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:10 pm UTC

It occurred to me, whilst I was looking out of my classroom window, waiting for this day of pure mandatory electrical engineering education to end, that this thread features nominal prescriptivism.
That is, in some of the cases here where one or more people argue against using a specific name, the objections to the name usage take root in the spelling of the name in question.
It further occurred to me that both the pronunciation and spelling of names, as with all other words, change over time.
Names are used a lot. Whether you're conversing with family or a friend, their name is probably going to make up a certain percentage of the words you utter. Names are thus prone to exactly the same processes which would make them pronounced differently as other words.
Some names, like the names of cities, change a lot. The etymology of London is subject to a lot of doubts and disagreement. In contrast to this, I present the following example: I live near the city of Århus, which has its roots in the medieval word Áros; an Old Norse word with a meaning akin to river delta or estuary. This is a very clear nominal etymology which is questioned by few, if not none.

People's names, though, seem to undergo different changes.
"Michael" has barely changed from its ancient Greek form, which is only a hyphen away from its Hebrew counterpart.
Similar examples are easy to find.

Why do different names evolve so differently? Some names, like the Michael family, has a lot of different forms and variants. Many of these were birthed hundreds of years ago. Michael, Mikhael, Michel, Mitchell and so on... All forms of the same root name, influenced by the orthography of different languages and pronunciations of different peoples.

Just a stray thought.
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby theurbanmapper » Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:34 am UTC

I would caution against naming your children in such a way that overly shows your spiritual evolution:I knew a family with three daughters, oldest: Elizabeth, second, Faith, third, Chastity. There were no more children after that one.

My Fiancée's last name is Wright. Therefore, when we hyphenate, I'll get to add the phonetic equivalent of "correct" to the beginning of my last name. How awesome is that? Of course, our children will have this as well. Therefore, my friends and I have thought about such names as "Religious" or "Radical." Unfortunately, the gf isn't going for these.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Madge » Sat Oct 24, 2009 6:31 am UTC

There is a student at my university who has 4 middle names. One of them is LeBlake, the other two are pretty normal, and the fourth one is CHEWBACCA. The kid was born in 1990 or 1991, I forget which.

But seriously, how awesome must those parents have been? And since it's a fourth middle name it's not like it'll really get noticed. Except by me.

I also once met a guy named Jack Daniels. He was the fourth or fifth child in his family. He said his Dad wanted to name him Jack because he thought it'd be funny, and that when he was 12 his Dad offered to pay for the name change papers if he really hated it. Jack apparently decided to keep it.

Also, I'm wondering - given you want to give your kid a quirky name and call them by it, unless they decide they hate it in which case you have their other, more normal name to fall back on, do you think it's better to give a kid a normal first name and a quirky middle name, or a quirky first name but a normal middle name?
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Monika » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:20 pm UTC

Watching the credits to a movie it dawned on my that naming your child Melvin if your last name is Bourne might not be the wisest decision. But evidently he liked it so much that he goes by Mel only: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0100080/awards
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby hermaj » Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:04 am UTC

Madge wrote:Also, I'm wondering - given you want to give your kid a quirky name and call them by it, unless they decide they hate it in which case you have their other, more normal name to fall back on, do you think it's better to give a kid a normal first name and a quirky middle name, or a quirky first name but a normal middle name?


My parents did this - our names aren't exactly "quirky", but they're not common. We were each given unusual first names which we each use, but we have standard, common middle names which we could have chosen to go by instead. Another family I know did the same thing with their children, who all also go by their first names. When it's your name, you get used to it, and people around you get used to it too. There's a perfect example of that even on the forums, calling people by their handles. After a while, there's nothing weird about it.

Worst example of a name I have ever heard: Birth notice placed by parents with the surname Monk, to announce the birth of their son Christian.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Bobber » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:40 am UTC

hermaj wrote: After a while, there's nothing weird about it.
hermaj wrote:Worst example of a name I have ever heard:[Christian Monk]
Your earlier point still stands - I am from Denmark, where Christian is a really common name, and I don't find Christian Monk all that strange, although I do appreciate the play on words :D
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby The Locutus of Borgnine » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:42 am UTC

My last name is Cave and I really want to have a boy and girl named Iona and Bear.

Also, I know an Alice Cooper
Last edited by The Locutus of Borgnine on Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:24 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby hermaj » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:11 am UTC

Bobber wrote:
hermaj wrote:Worst example of a name I have ever heard:[Christian Monk]
Your earlier point still stands - I am from Denmark, where Christian is a really common name, and I don't find Christian Monk all that strange, although I do appreciate the play on words :D


Yeah, both names are common here too, but they're amusing in combination.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby alitheiapsis » Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:00 am UTC

alitheiapsis wrote:I am also reminded of my geography teacher, who told me a student, when asked, said her mother's name was Shanice (or something), spelled "Shoney's". I wasn't inclined to believe him, but he was being totally serious, so I guess it's legit. Plus, he's taught at some pretty crazy schools, so I guess it's possible.


I asked my geography teacher if he was completely serious, and he said he was. He said when he first heard the student spell her mother's name, he said, "No, your mother's name, not where she works." And the girl confirmed it was her mom's name. Pretty ridiculous...

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Eebster the Great » Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:14 am UTC

I'm pretty sure I win this thread.

I once saw a high school musical where one of the actresses was named Lilly White (she was black). Several more had names I could not pronounce. Although they were not on stage, the class had multiple girls named Sheneequah. And on stage was . . . Anita Oueenie. Now, I never asked Anita how to pronounce her last name, but I cannot imagine it isn't /wini/. That's a pretty damn bad name.

Of course, hearsay is somewhat less reliable, but I can at least verify that there are people in the U.S. named Benjamin Dover. Much worse, I have it on pretty good authority that my grandmother met a woman whose name was pronounced something like gu-NOR-ee-ah. Which sounds all right, until you realize that it is spelled Gonorrhea.

There is a somewhat famous case of two sisters named something like Oranjello and Lemonjello. I'm not sure about the exact spellings, but they were apparently the mother's favorite flavors of Jell-O.

But the worst is . . . drum roll please . . .

Bittis Peckerhoff

My father actually saw the name in a phone book, and, not believing it could be real, actually called the man at home, asking for confirmation that his name was, in fact, Bittis Peckerhoff. I am certain I have never seen a worse name.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Velifer » Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:33 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:I'm pretty sure I win this thread.

I'm pretty sure you have 20 pages to backread. Pay close attention to the parts about extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs, and the bits about urban legends.
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:46 am UTC

Velifer wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:I'm pretty sure I win this thread.

I'm pretty sure you have 20 pages to backread. Pay close attention to the parts about extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs, and the bits about urban legends

I didn't say people would recognize that I won the thread, or that I could demonstrate that I won the thread, or that I expect you to be sure that I won the thread. I didn't even say I was totally sure I won the thread. But I'm pretty sure I did.

Yeah, I didn't come here to prove this to people, but I can be reasonably sure it is true, and I thought it was funny and on topic. You really don't have to take that sentence so seriously. Dis r srs thred.

And for what it's worth, Bittis is definitely a real name (more common as a last name, but I found some first names online), and Peckerhoff is a very uncommon, but also definitely real surname (Google to the rescue). So this isn't totally implausible.

Anita Oueenie I actually saw and spoke to. I'm not worried about her perhaps being an urban legend.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Sartorius » Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:44 pm UTC

I think the main problem was that you brought up Lemonjello and Orangejello, who have appeared on essentially every page on this thread and whose existence is likely urban legend.
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:36 am UTC

Sartorius wrote:I think the main problem was that you brought up Lemonjello and Orangejello, who have appeared on essentially every page on this thread and whose existence is likely urban legend.

O.K., that makes sense.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby cptjeff » Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:43 pm UTC

I'm sure this one has come up, but I was talking with friends once about horrible names, and the guy I was talking to had the last name of Small. I mentioned that if he wanted to be evil to his kid, he could name him Richard.

It turned out that was his Dad's name.

Oh, also the library where I go to school is named after Andrew S. Schuler.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Monika » Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:18 pm UTC

What's funny about Andrew S. Schuler?
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Madge » Sat Nov 07, 2009 1:43 am UTC

Andrew S Schuler
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Bobber » Sat Nov 07, 2009 9:30 am UTC

Madge wrote:Andrew S Schuler
Pronounced "Andrews Shooler"? I don't get it either, don't feel bad Monica.
I think it may be that Schuler is supposed to be pronounced "schooler" instead, and is thus a pun on learning? Not sure.
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Madge » Sat Nov 07, 2009 9:37 am UTC

I knew just bolding the letters would be too subtle, so I'll just out and say it:

His initials are ASS.
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Bobber » Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:16 am UTC

Madge wrote:I knew just bolding the letters would be too subtle, so I'll just out and say it:

His initials are ASS.
Damn, talk about not seeing the forest for the trees...
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby YourReality » Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:01 am UTC

I've worked in a few call centres so some gooders go by but one of my favourites was Thor Thorson. Decidedly uncreative.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Carlington » Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:44 am UTC

Least it wasn't Thor Cox.

I went there!
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Eebster the Great » Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:33 am UTC

YourReality wrote:I've worked in a few call centres so some gooders go by but one of my favourites was Thor Thorson. Decidedly uncreative.

The Icelandic naming scheme is really cool. There are a brother and sister who go to my school named "Margeret Erlendsdottir" and "Arthur Erlendsson." I guess their father's name was Erlendur Steinthorson (so the grandfather's name was Steinthor :O ), and Arthur's kids will be Arthorsson and Arthorsdottir, or something.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Roĝer » Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:55 pm UTC

No, actually not. In Icelandic naming, sons are named after their father (+son), and daughters are named after their mother (+dottir).
Ik ben niet koppig, ik heb gewoon gelijk.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Bobber » Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:44 pm UTC

That is untrue. The father's name is passed in the patronymic scheme, and the mother's name is passed in a matronymic scheme.

According to good old Wikipedia, the Icelandic system is patronymic.
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Monika » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:10 am UTC

According to the German Wikipedia entry on the Icelandic naming scheme most children get the father's name (+son/dottir), but sometimes the mother's name is used instead, and in rare cases even both are used.
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Bobber » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:28 am UTC

I tried looking it up on the Icelandic Wikipedia by using Google Translate, but I couldn't figure out what to search for. "Eftirnafn" (last name) didn't have a page, probably because, well, it's not really a last name.
The English Wikipedia page that I linked to before has this, though, which i missed earlier:
The vast majority of Iceland last names carry the name of the father, but in some cases the mother's name is used. Sometimes either the child or legal parent wishes to end social ties with the father. Some women use it as a social statement whilst others simply choose it as a matter of style.
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Monika » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:02 am UTC

This is almost word-by-word what is written in the German article, too.

So it must be true.

Or someone translated it one direction or other ;) .

This is the Icelandic article on the matter: http://is.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%8Dslenskt_mannanafn But it doesn't seem to say anything about this nor do the linked articles from there :?:
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Bobber » Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:01 pm UTC

Sweet, then we've disproved this claim:
Roĝer wrote: In Icelandic naming, sons are named after their father (+son), and daughters are named after their mother (+dottir).
Great teamwork!
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mrbaggins wrote:There are two tools in life, duct tape and WD40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Roĝer » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:56 pm UTC

I concede. It turns out my knowledge gathered from hearsay was not adequate. To appreciate my thanks for your research, here's a beautiful list of the worst Dutch names:

Arnold Nus (A Nus)
Peter Nus (P Nus)
Pedro Fiel (pedofile)
Mick Mous
Willy Tits
Dick Cock
Tiny Cox
Justin Kees
Simon Hole (S Hole)
Piet Badcock
C. Cup
S. M. Meester
N.A. Poleon
Donald Duk
Sjarrel Ex (S Ex)
Pieter Enis (...)
Mary Mee
Cash Guy
Mary Christmas
Martijn Martijn
Tim Witter (T Witter)
Cor Netto
And the winner:
Fokje Modder

This was from a radio contest, the full list can be found here, with many more funny names if you understand Dutch.
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Alexius » Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:13 pm UTC

Re Dutch Names:
I have a very close family friend who isn't Dutch, but lives and works in Amsterdam. He finds various Dutch names quite funny- I believe he works with someone by the name of Eberhard Kok.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Xanthir » Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:21 pm UTC

(Just read page 1 and 21)

Antimony is one of the most beautiful geeky names I've ever heard. I have first-name rights if the first kid is a daughter, and that's totally replacing my previous choice.

We can call her Mona for short.
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Monika » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:16 pm UTC

But all its compounds are poisonous :shock:
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Eebster the Great » Sat Nov 21, 2009 2:49 am UTC

Xanthir wrote:(Just read page 1 and 21)

Antimony is one of the most beautiful geeky names I've ever heard. I have first-name rights if the first kid is a daughter, and that's totally replacing my previous choice.

We can call her Mona for short.


Instead, have two daughters and name them Andromeda and Parsimony. Those are both pretty names with relatively positive meanings, rather than a pretty name that means a toxic element.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby bigglesworth » Sat Nov 21, 2009 2:18 pm UTC

Antimony has lots of useful applications.

It makes really pretty compounds.

I think that's positive enough for a name.
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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Dibley » Sun Nov 22, 2009 2:12 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:Parsimony

Given that outside of science it means "stinginess", I'm not sure I'd put that down as positive.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Eebster the Great » Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:36 am UTC

Dibley wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:Parsimony

Given that outside of science it means "stinginess", I'm not sure I'd put that down as positive.

Hm, I typically think of "parsimony" as a less negative than that. Looks like the dictionary lists both senses. I don't know; it's better than Antimony, anyways, in my opinion.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby Dibley » Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:53 am UTC

Clearly your opinion is wrong. Antimony is an awesome name! You could even call her Anti for short! Or Annie if you must be mundane.

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Re: Think Before Naming Your Child

Postby bigglesworth » Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:26 am UTC

Andromeda is a rubbish name for a girl, because of the whole "andro-" thing. IMO
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