Skip to comments.On Strange Names and the Curse of Individualism
Posted on 12/08/2012 12:50:55 PM PST by NYer
Living and working the African American Catholic Community I have been subject to some time with names that are often unpronounceable. It is a controversial practice even in the Black community for parents to name their children all sorts of crazy, made-up names that are often intentionally misspelled.
DeQuanna, Sharkeisha, LaDarrius, Shamyra, Marketta, Shontella, LaRochelle, Shandrika, Charmonique, Myosha, LaKeisha, DeQuan, Rhondella, Raviona, Rominthia, Tomika, LaVenia, Trishela, LaTasha, ABCDE, Tyeisha, Mootron, Knoshon, Keyshawn, Tarquisha, Q’J'Q’Sha, Laquintas, Jamarcus, JoNathans, et al.
I trip over this especially at Baptisms when I am supposed to solemnly pronounce the name of the child. Even after the irritated mother tells me the third time, I still can’t get it right. But why be angry with me? Why name your child such a strange name? Its all so crazy. They put in apostrophes where none are needed and there seems a minor obsession with the letters ‘Q’ and ‘K’.
Now some may speak of racism, but I have been in the Black community too long to be deaf to the fact that an awful lot of African American folks hate the practice too.
Oddities are spreading to other ethnic groups too. In a recent article in The Atlantic Phillip Cohen writes:
The number of girls given the name Mary at birth has fallen 94 percent since 1961…..The modernization theory of name trends, advanced most famously by the sociologist Stanley Lieberson, sees the rise of individualism in modern naming practices. “As the role of the extended family, religious rules, and other institutional pressures declines,” he wrote, “choices are increasingly free to be matters of taste.” Maryboth a traditional American name and a symbol religious Christianityembodies this trend.
Second, America’s Christian family standard-bearers are not standing up for Mary anymore. It’s not just that there may be fewer devout Christians, it’s that even they don’t want to sacrifice individuality for a (sorry, it’s not my opinion) boring name like Mary. In 2011 there were more than twice as many Nevaehs (“Heaven” spelled backwards) born as there were Marys. (If there is anything more specific going on within Christianity, please fill me in.)
The Full article can be read here: Why Don’t Parents Name their Daughters Mary Anymore
I have referred in this brief article to the “curse” of individualism, because frankly I think some of these names become a hindrance later in life and mothers trying to be creative and individualistic, often saddle their kids with troubles later. Frankly people don’t like to be embarrassed, and when someone tells you their name and you can’t pronounce it, or have to ask again, and even a third time, social relations, and things like job interviews tend to go badly. I mean how do you even pronounce Q’J'Q’Sha? A lot of things break down when you can’t even pass the “go” of exchanging names.
As you might expect, many of these children given strange names, end up going by other nick names. Like “Q” or Shawn or something easier. But really they should not have to, and their strange names will still have to come up at formal occasions and all the awkwardness. And even some of the names that are more pronounceable convey a kind of strangeness that makes people uncomfortable. While not necessarily fair, strange names convey an impression of the person who carries it. We tend to read a lot more in to names that perhaps we should, but the tendency is pre-conscious and is unlikely to change that much.
Interestingly, in Biblical times people were more creative with names than currently. However, they were careful to name their children with a name that was intelligible, that actually meant something. For example, Jesus means “God saves,” Michael means “Who is like God?” Sarah means “princess” and so forth. Thus, observing the essence of a child, the parents named the child on the eighth day after birth.
Controversial article? Sure. But don’t turn it into a race thing, there’s plenty of divided opinion in the African American community as well. Also if you feel offended, try not to take it personally. It is a cultural trend that is being critiqued, not you. The bottom line, in a culture where strange forms of individualism are increasing and exotica is proudly displayed by more and more, it’s good every now and then to ask about limits and encourage some moderation.
By the way, my name almost backward is Epop Selrach if your looking for a clever new name….for your pet, that is.
What no Trayler?
I also tried the Master of Hestviken, much harder to get through. Keeping all the names and relationships srtaight required a more sophisticated technology than Index cards with tiny letters and arows :o/
The scene where Olav kills Teit the Icelander with his axe roiled through my imaginaton for a long time, though.
My own legal name is a nickname for a more formal name. My Mom thought the formal name was too long and they would call me the nickname anyway, so why bother naming me the formal name. The nickname would do. Thanks mom, not.
A good friend in high school was saddled with, as the legal name on his birth certificate, "Timmy".
Needless to say, he fixed it when he was old enough.
You know better than that. Forgotten, yes, like so many other Nobel Prize in lit winners. It's an old complaint about who still remembered should have gotten them, and who now forgotten actually got them. But it's like that society woman who said I think to William F. Buckley, (was it Pauline Kael?), that she didn't understand why Nixon was elected since no one she knew had voted for him. Our personal choices remain our personal choices. And the recent nominees such as the communists Dario Fo and Elfriede Jelinek will most certainly be soon forgotten.
Prob’ly all print books will be banned before The End: reading will be forbidden: too individualistic, too retrograde, bad gender themes, whiffs of alcohol, madness and Christ.
You have no doubt found the probable reason.
Still a loving parent has an obligation to the child to not intentionally place hinderences in their life or to put the poor child into ackward positions and a lifetime of embarrasment. Then again its also easy to see a lot of these parents are not so loving of their children as can be witnessed most any day at any Walmart.
Don’t forget that feminine favorite - Placenta.
The man I was with for a number of years, before he passed in September of this year, his first name, David, means “beloved”.
Ahhhhh and the dear Moon Unit.
But we all knew that Frank just ate too much yellow snow.
Somehow I doubt they named anyone Madison Madison.
I had the misfortune this morning to observe a pair of, I guess, 80 year olds deciding on a Nook device inside a B&N store, while at the same time I am awaiting the arrival of about, I think, 5 more books from a couple of Internet bookstores to add to the pile by my bed. And now this Norwegian writer to check out?
ABCDE That one will be hard to spell wrong.
Strange names? How about Meta World Peace?
Do not drink beverages while you watch this video.
There is a Louise in the Bible???
The Book of Louise?
Louise on the Mount?
Louise walking on water?
The Apostle Louise?
??? I said there was a familial connection, but after a certain number of generations, there is a mix of family names. Do you have the same last name as your maternal great-grandmother? Or your 8x great grandfather? Yet, don’t you still have a familial connection to them? Or are you just trying to be obtuse?
I read that.
Her first name is Janet
a form of Janice or Jean
Saints — got it?
“In 2011 there were more than twice as many Nevaehs (Heaven spelled backwards) born as there were Marys.”
Come on. But then I read the article...
“Incredibly, out of 1.7 million girls’ names recorded by the SSA in 2011, I was able to predict to within 87 how many would be named Mary. By simply taking the number born in 2010 and subtracting the 5-year average decline, I predicted 2,584 would be born; the actual number was 2,671 (an error of 3.3 percent).”
I think the Nationals have two Tylers, three Ryans, a Jordan, a Drew, a Jayson, an Ian and a Bryce.