Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What's in a Name?




So much is!

Even the most stable and assured people are a little put off when their names are spelled or pronounced wrong. You may tell yourself it doesn't matter, but inside you realize it does. Even though I hadn't been called by my first name, Nancy, since graduating from high school, with trying to get my name and writing known, I want it all spelled out and exclaimed: Nancy LaRonda Johnson! thank you very much. 

A name isn't just how someone is identified, it is a telling of who they are. Many names have a backstory to them. If not named after someone the parents knew or a relative, they could have named the child after someone they admired. Or they could have just liked the sound of a rare name - as I did the main character's name in my first book, Alezea (pronounced 'aw leh zeh ah'); or a biblical name, as the main character in the sequel, Michtam (pronounced 'mik tam'), for which I like the meaning, precious as stamped gold.

My first name, Nancy, came from the nurse during my birth; LaRonda was from the doctor: Ronald, and my mom scrambled the letters and added an 'a' at the end. Johnson is from my dad. :)

It's a sad thing when people give their children names that are not worthy to be a name for someone, and which may even have negative connotations. Working in the legal field, it was not too surprising to me to see someone with the name "Dude" within the legal system, and it wasn't a cultural name that happened to sound like the English word. 

A name should be something to be proud of. Even if you don't necessarily fancy your given name, it shouldn't be an embarrassment or a name of something without value. Which reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Where The Heart Is, with Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd. Natalie's character attempts to give her daughter a mighty and worthy name, and calls her "Americus". Well, it did have more meaning than her best friend Ashley's kids names, which were names of snack foods. 

My name, indeed, will have its most value when it is called out by God, and I hear him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."


Does your or your kids' names have a special meaning or backstory to them?


Please visit these other A-Z Challenge blogs:
Writing Like Crazy
Lots of Crochet Stitches
QRSTUV
Domestic Evolution
Tesseract

32 comments:

  1. Very interesting post. Nancy LaRonda Johnson. You make excellent points, especially about what and why we choose to name our children. Blessings!
    Pam at 2 Encourage

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  2. Thanks for the heads-up with regard to the Linky thing. I was so sure that I've been typing in the correct thinggies... only to discover that I've been putting the forward slashes in the wrong places...

    Michelle is French. My second name is Naomi (from Naomi in the Bible) and my surname is Scottish! That's about all I know.

    Writer In Transit

    (Hope the Linky works...)

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  3. My son's name is Aiden, just because we liked it and we thought it was different - lo and behold, it turns out it was the #1 baby name in 2011 (the year he was born) - oh well, just goes to show we have good taste :-)

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    1. Funny how group mentality works. :) It is a good name, though, and I don't know any Aidens.

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  4. Reading Stella's response and chuckling. We did the same thing with our daughter, Madison, in 1995. Do you know how many Madisons there are? We have such a long and complicated last name, our goal was to keep their first names simple and easy. Why torture them?

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    1. Madison is a good name too though. It did get popular after Splash came out in 1984. :)

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  5. When I was young, I always wished my name was "Jim"...I mean, what sort of name is "Mark", anyway? lol

    I like the origin of your name, though....very creative :)

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    1. Jim is better than Mark? I do like James, but Jim?? :)

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  6. This is so true. My birth name is Kathryn, named after my aunt, who went by Kate. As a child I went by Katie. I got to college and people frequently would forget my name and call my Kathy, to which I got offended. I know plenty of Kathys of various spellings, all of whom are perfectly fine people, but that was not my name. To end my frustration, I started going by Kate. It ended the Katie/Kathy confusion, I still honored my name and was able to retain my own identity.

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    1. We all have are particulars, even though it seems strange. I have a friend named Susan. She'll tolerate being called Sue, but hates being called Susie. She's just about the only person I had never given a nickname to.

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  7. Enjoyed reading about the origin of your name. I don't think there is any back story to mine beyond the fact that my mom just liked the name. :)

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  8. I like the story about your name!

    My parents always really like the idea of having a girl named Sam, so that's where Samantha came from (not Bewitched!).

    My middle name is Ann after my grandmother, Mary Ann.

    People don't pronounce my name wrong, but a lot of people ask me how to spell May (my last name). I have had people spell it: May, Mai, Mae, Maye, and Maie.

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    1. I tell you, if something can always be done wrong no matter how easy it is. :) I've always liked the name Samantha.

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  9. Names are really important, it was nice to hear the story behind your name. My surname sometimes causes a bit of confusion and is often spelt wrong!

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    1. Yes, I try and double and triple check names like yours before finalizing. But every now and then errors do happen.

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  10. Names are greatly important. I had a whole list of baby names for my son and my husband nixed every one of them. Our compromise was the one he has now.

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  11. When I was about to be born, my grandmother sent a pair of bootees with a note "for Napoleon or Josephine" I am very glad I wasn't a boy.

    Thanks for dropping by. See you are a Spunky Soldier as well.

    JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

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    1. That's a great story.

      Yes, I'm Spunky Soldier, but my numbers have all gone away. :(

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  12. There is a fun story about my name, but it's a really long story. I will say that it's extremely annoying when people seem to not be able to say a name on purpose just because it's an ethnic name. You know they're faking it when it's actually a really easy name to say, and they can say other words that are more complicated. That's one of my pet peeves.

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

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    1. I would love to hear that story though. :)

      Sometimes it's just about spelling. It can be hard to get your tongue around sounds until you can also see how it's spelled, then some may see that it's not so difficult.

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  13. Sheena means queen in some cultures and names are very important. I remember that funny sung about the father who named his son sue. And let's not forget on Dexter's Laboratory that Mandark's real name is Susan. Terrible.

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    1. So much new info you've given me above, specifically the meaning of your name. I also not sure if I know the song, and I never new that about Dexter's name. Funny. :)

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  14. I loved this post. So much!

    My real name, S., is actually pretty unique and what I love most about it is that it comes from a book that my mom read when she was pregnant with me. Sadly, she doesn't remember which book it was, but it was a nickname and she liked it enough to make it mine. I do not know anyone else with it, and yes... it gets mispronounced.

    As a pen name, Katherine is actually my daughter's middle name, which was originally from my husband's grandmother. And Anthony comes from Antonio, my son's middle name. All the men on my father's side have that as their middle name, great-grandfathers, uncles, cousins, dad, brother, nephew... etc. I made it Anthony because its easier to remember for my future fans ( I think/I hope)

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    1. Now, that is a unique story. I've never known anyone with a name like that, and that is so interesting about the middle name. I think it is a good choice you made to change it to Anthony.

      Thanks for sharing your story. :)

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  15. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and commenting Nancy LaRonda Johnson. My Mum named me Debbie, not Deborah, not Debra. All my life I have been called all three but I don't identify with any of them. I love the name Deb. I have been refering to myself as Deb since I was a toddler. When I meet new people I introduce myself as Deb but, interestingly, when I do people then lengthen my name to Debbie or Deborah.

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    1. Deb is one of those names where so many people have their preferences and it's a fairly common name, it's hard to keep up who prefers which variation. I blame it on the faultiness of the human brain factor. :)

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  16. Hi Nancy! Thank for popping on by to my Imaginarium. I love names and how they fit or don't fit people. When I name my characters though, I tend use what sounds cool or like it fits their personality.

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    1. Most times for characters, I just use a name that seems to fit too. Michtam was the first time I used a name that had a meaning that worked with the character.

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Your comments add wonderful flavors. Thank you!

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