Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rant Thursday - Funkily Spelled Names

My friend Julie and I have an on-going text series. Whenever one of us is out in public and encounters someone with a screwily-spelled name, we'll text it to the other. As in, WTF were this person's parents thinking? Now, don't get me wrong, I feel freedom of expression is a wonderful thing. But saddling a kid with a moniker it will be nearly impossible for them to learn to spell until they are in high school is just doing that kid a major disservice. Before you get all up in arms, let me give a few examples of the names we've texted back and forth:

In the category of traditional names that have been given a totally jacked-up spelling:
"Krysstahl, Christyll, Chrysstle" instead of "Crystal".
"Shelsie, Chillsee, Chylsie" instead of "Chelsea"
"Mikyl, Myckel, Mykal" instead of "Michael"
"Geramee, Jyramie" instead of "Jeremy"
"Stifenie, Steffannee" instead of "Stephanie"
"Vinnyssa" instead of "Vanessa"
"Jazzmyn" instead of "Jasmine"
"Mireya" instead of "Maria"

In the category of names that were jacked-up to begin with and then given a screwed up spelling, to boot:
"Jagguire, Jagwuire" - as in they named their child after the luxury car brand "Jaguar" but didn't know how to spell it.
"Dymond" - as in they named their daughter after a "Diamond". Personally, this sounds more like an exotic dancer's stage name to me than the proper name to give your little girl. But that could just be me.
"Jermeakah" - I have no idea how to pronounce it. I just noticed it on the name tag at McD's the other day, and my immediate impulse was to ask her if she was going to change it when she turns 18.

I firmly believe in people being unique individuals and having the right to name their kids whatever they want... BUT, c'mon parents, have some common sense here! So, what's your opinion?


jan said...

I am with you on this! It's as if these parents looked at their newborn and said,"what can we do to ensure that this kid gets beat up on the playground?"

Jessi said...

A few random (mostly on topic) thoughts:
1. I know a girl named Equwaschia. What pisses her off more than anything is when people ask her if she had a hard time learning to spell/say her name. When you're a kid, it's not weird until someone tells you it's weird.

2. I like playing with spellings as long as it remains sort of obvious. Brynna "should" be spelled Brenna, but I like the y, dammit. Kathryn is how I spell her middle name, too, which people pretty much freak out about. I don't get it, but whatever.

3. That said, I used to know a little girl named Dustahnea (pronounced Destiny) and I was always totally freaked out by it.

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

Actually, Kathryn and Brynna are not that unusually spelled. Point of fact, I like them. My main beef is with names that it looks like the parents took out a bunch of Scrabble tiles, mixed them all up, smooshed them together and said, "Okay, THAT's what we'll name him/her!" I can understand if your family's (recent) heritage is from another country and the parents want to honor that heritage by naming their kid a traditional name or word from that country. But the examples I listed.... well, I agree with Jan. The parents must want their children to get picked on!

Strangeite said...

I love the story told in Freakonomics about the 2 brothers named Winner and Loser.

Winner ended up spending most of his life in jail, addicted to drugs and basically was a loser in life, while Winner got out of the projects, graduated college and became a detective for the NYPD.

His fellow officers called him Lou.

Jessi said...

I totally agree. The examples you listed were ridiculous. I am always more moderate on this because I get treated like that's what I did. I've had people ask if Brynna was named after the breath spray (I can only assume they meant Binaca) and you should hear the stupid pronunciations people come up with. Maren is a whole issue, too. People want to call her Marine and then act like I've misspelled the word. It's annoying. And I'm perhaps sensitive. Anyway, the point of all this rambling is that I agree with you, but I have a hard time drawing that line in the sand knowing that people say the same things about me.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you!! I find weird spellings totally annoying.

There was a little girl in Suze's nursery school class in NM named Rana, which is the Spanish word for frog. It was the name Renee, but I always thought FROG! when I saw it spelled. I assumed her parents didn't know how to spell.

I have a very educated friend who gave her children ordinary names but with "unique" spellings to make them more distinctive. I thought, How misguided, but of course I didn't tell her so.
Mrs. G.

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

My brother's long-time girlfriend (more than a decade now) is an NYPD officer. She sees and hears all kinds of screwed up names! She got to book one person whose name was, I kid you not, "Shithead" (pronounced "shi-theed"). Oh, my!

Suze said...

FROG!! lol, mom. lol.

I can't stand weird names. Our daughter's name is ANYA and damnit there's only one way to spell that (unless you live in Germany, in which case you spell it ANJA) and sometimes people think her name is ENYA and that I named her after the singer. Gah.

Jessi said...

When it's so clear that she's named after a Vengence Demon! Hmph. ;)

Animal said...

Whereas my beef? Is with people who deliberately mispronounce a name, given its spelling. There's a town here in Michigan called "Charlotte." Simple, right? E.B. White and all that. Except…the people there pronounce it "shar-LOT." Ugh. I refuse to do it. I just say Charlotte, like it's North Carolina, and then people immediately try to correct me; I just cut 'em the hell off, and say "I KNOW what they think it is, but you can't. Make. Me. Say it. That. Way."

Same with that football player…Brett Favre, is it? People, his last name is pronounced "FA-v'r." It's NOT "farve," 'cause it just ain't spelled that way. Can't make me say it!

It's an old George Carlin gag: "Your last name can be spelled 's-m-i-t-h' and you can pronounce it 'Janovsky' if you want to! 'What's your last name?' 'Janovsky!' 'How do you spell it?' 'S-m-i-t-h.' 'Huh?!?' 'Never mind, they're all silent, it's just how I pronounce it!'"

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

I've never understood why "Worcester" (in the state of MA) rhymes with "rooster" when spoken aloud. WTF? Are they just too lazy to pronounce all the letters? I just don't get it.....

Tooz said...

Special needs kid named Avaughandre (pronounced uh VON dre). Enough said.

Becca said...

Don't get me started on the dropped Rs in MA. It's insane. But Worcester is pronounced more like "Wister" to my ear. I'm curious how you would pronounce Leicester.

Frog! Awesome! I think Maren and Brynna are pretty self-explanatory, so I'm guessing she's surrounded mostly by idiots. Binaca? Seriously?

I'm going to have a girl and name her Ricola and yell loudly for her to come home at sundown.

My son is Christopher. Fairly simple, I thought. He had a daycare teacher for about three weeks who continually spelled it Chrispother. When a 4yo is correcting you on spelling, you should pay attention.

Frog! That's freaking awesome!

(shastore--good name for a boy)

Sage said...

Names that aren't names don't bother me*. Different spellings--Kathrine/Kathryn--don't bother me. WTF spellings--Wendy=Wynnde--are extremely annoying to me. And if you wanna name your kid Diamond, alright... but that's different enough as is.

Pick one. It's kinda like too much makeup on both your lips and your eyes. One you can get away with, and it might even look good... go for both, and you just look trashy.

...., that said... however the hell you say your name is said, is how it's said. However the area says a town is said, is how it's said.

I'm sure this view comes from living near "Ver-sail-es" :p

*I'm sure this is a big surprise. I'm also a BIG fan of words that COULD be names--Sage, Journey, Justice, Harmony... theory names, I guess? More noun-y names... Apple comes to mind? Ummmmooookay, but no.

Now... all that said... if I ever had kids, I figured I'd go with James Reginald or Evelyn Kate.

Julie said...

My girlfriend, Carol, is a school teacher, an occupation rampant with possibilities to witness parents' "creativity". She calls the goofy names mentioned "throw up names" since it appeared they threw the letters of the alphabet up in the air and whatever landed, that was the child's name.

12 years ago, I worked the Livestock show and processed the applications of the FFA & 4-H kids. Here are some bizarre 1st names the "country-folk" came up with: Anitra, Brazos, Ca Ce, Coke, Jo’Shea, Hopping, J’Lee, J'Lond, J'Lyn, J’Nan, Sulton. I promise, these kids will soon be of age to vote and drive.

Pray and pray hard.

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

Julie, remember the boys' Christmas concert? In the concert program, there was a little boy named "Alcatraz". I imagine the therapy bills will be staggering...

Becca said...

Brazos was the name of the center that managed my student loans for awhile.

Just thought I'd share.

Everett said...

I think Myckal and Jazzmyn are considerably more logical ways to spell those names than Michael or Jasmine are. In addition I think family linguistic background ought to be taken into account before condemning Myckal or Mireya as those might be perfectly legitimate spellings in their contexts. Of course they might be mispellings of what the parent was attempting to name the kid. My parents and I pronounce my name differently.

("progyrac" women who are commenting and may become pregnant should consult a doctor before typing this verification)