Friday, September 23, 2005

Name-calling

What's in a name? Well, judging by some people's attitudes, your whole personality. Reports in today's Times Educational Supplement and Daily Mirror claim that teachers on the TES message board have been exchanging less than complementary comments about the names they fear when they look at their new class lists.

Among the "offenders" are Liam, Ashley, Mason, Connor and Chantelle. Well that's me told then, with at least two of those appearing somewhere in my sons' first or middle names!

As you might expect, this brainless stereotyping hasn't gone down too well with parents, who have suggested that class snobbery and even racism might be behind these attitudes (Liam and Connor are Irish names, while Chantelle is popular among families of Afro-Caribbean backgrounds; Mason and Ashley might be seen by many as working class names).

Why we can't all call our children Tarquin and Gaylord and avoid these vulgar, oikish names, I don't know...

But names are an interesting area of English Language. A quick look at the article on this blog, Bloodlines, earlier this year tells us a lot about surnames and how they reflect family history and the prevalent attitudes of the time (as well as encoding such ideas as patriarchy and male ownership of women, some would argue), but first names are a different matter.

You might remember the jokes when the Beckhams named their son Brooklyn, but what about Britney's baby Preston (apparently?!). An article on the BBC website from last week takes a look at some of these strange celebrity names. Elsewhere on the same site, we have an article that examines some of the weird-and-not-so-wonderful names that celebrities have burdened their children with over the years. Dweezil and Moon Unit Zappa anyone?

Useful for:
EA4C - Language Investigation

3 comments:

*Chrissyfloss*- ex SFXian said...

i've always thought Tarquin was an alright name.. Chastity Bono however.. :s

Dan said...

You're only saying that because you know you'll be meeting lots of Tarquins where you're going to university ;-)

*Chrissyfloss*- ex SFXian said...

as if.. *rolls eyes* Plenty of Alistairs tho *retch*