Monday, April 7, 2008

What's in a Name?

Today another one came across my desk. This name is less outrageously flamboyant than many of the others, to be sure, but it does point out a subtle issue in naming conventions that will result one of two things. 1 - We will, as a society, begin to accept bizarre, invented names and their spellings as commonplace, therefore never again being able to count on the ability to spell or make an educated guess at a person's origin, religion, heritage, etc. Or 2 - this child, and other children like her, will be forced to change her name if she wants to escape not only ridicule (in her younger days) but the assumption that she is uneducated (in her middle years). If #1 happens, #2 will not. Probably. My guess is that #2 will happen first, and has already happened to countless kids and professionals.

This child's name is Beronica. Like Veronica, but not. Because of the fact that many Spanish speakers pronounce v's as b's, her parents clearly did not hear or know the standard spelling of this name. Not that Beronica is such a bad name really, but it does probably indicate a lack of knowledge on her parents part, which she may or may not ever realize. I could be wrong. This could be intentional. Yet there are other names that lead me to believe that these are mistakes, not acts of creativity. Yonatan, is my next best example. Jonathan, but not. It is pronounced just like it is spelled, which is how someone with a heavy accent might pronounce Jonathan, after all. Y for J, hard T for TH. It makes perfect sense. I have nothing against the namers of these children, but I do wonder if Beronica could be a bank president if she keeps that name, that spelling. Maybe. Maybe by the time she's old enough, there will be enough Bictorias and Baleries that Beronica won't stand out. I do hope so.

1 comment:

Shanahan said...

I had a female student once named "Kenny". Turns out, her parents wanted to name her Kenya, but didn't know how to spell it, so there was a mix-up. Needless to say, her nickname in my class was every African country BUT Kenya. I even went so far as to print up a list of African countries and allow the other students to give her her nickname for the day. Some days Egypt... others Zambia... Our favorite was Djibouti.