Thursday, August 31, 2006

Goodbye Everard Willy, Farewell Cock and Cheerio Hugh G. Rection

Firstly, may I apologise for the title of this post. It's very immature and it won't happen again...

According to The Daily Mirror, "joke" surnames are fast disappearing as people change their embarrassing soubriquets through either marriage or deed poll. So, surnames like Smellie (popular in Glasgow), Pigg (popular in Newcastle) and Daft (big in Nottingham) are on the way out.

The article itself has many more terrible puns about men's anatomies than I can manage, so it's worth a read. And it's not too long (as it were).

But more seriously, names make the basis for some very interesting language investigations. There are obvious links between surnames and ethnic/geographical origins, as well as many that link to human characteristics. The significance of naming traditions in different societies is well worth a look at, with the whole issue of women taking their husbands' surnames central to many groups of people.

Then you have first names and the influence of a growing influence from foreign cultures and celebrities: Mohammed is in the top 20 for boys' names now, while Whitney is often a popular choice among girls. Jordan, Chantelle, Preston and Romeo could all be on the up too. A quick search of this blog (use the search bar at the top of the page) should take you to previous posts on this topic and links to top 20 lists of boys' and girls' names that might help you with some research.

Useful for:
EA4C - Language Investigations

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