Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Names in the news: "A theory of names"

… No, I'm not going near THAT story, where even the names are too easily made into part of the story line.

But the NYT ran a story this morning that quoted Cleveland Kent Evans, past president of the American Name Society. The piece, as you can see, is about whether having odd names does you psychological damaged later in life. First, a person note: Verbs are good, active, healthy, so I have no personal stake in this. That's unlike Emma Royd, Garage Empty, Please Cope, Lotta Beers and Major Slaughter, all named in the piece. Apparently a lot of these folks, though, are proud of their distinctive names.

There's of course no real "theory of names" as the headline promises, but whatevs.

Image from here, in case you're not happy with YOUR name.


Ollock said...

I can't possibly compete with those names, but I have a slightly odd middle name: Alston. Only real trouble it gives me that when I tell it to people I have to remind them that I pronounce it with [æ] rather than [ɑ] (apparently my pronunciation is nonstandard) -- at which point some people mistake it with "Allison".

That and it unfortunately gives me the same initials as the country music TV channel, GAC. :(

I've seen some interesting names out there that are much worse than mine -- including one girl named Arwen Evenstar (first and middle) and a friend with the middle name Micheal and the last name Jackson. So far as I know none of them have gone off the deep end. :)

Mr. Verb said...

Thanks. This does raise a question … about how you measure the oddness of names. In some sense, like you, most of us end up with names that are unusual in some ways. Did they measure Jane and John Smith against Lotta Beers and Major Slaughter or put people on some kind of scale?