30 November 2014

ObserVation: The Naming of Cats...

ver the years, one sees the different trends in naming children. The fluctuations are influenced by film characters (we have trekkie friends that named their daughter Jadzia), idols in the music business and characters from books. 
Some parents have a hard time in choosing. They want to give their child a head start with a name that will stand out above the rest, so they look to exotic places and go through endless lists on Internet sites. Here in Germany Nordic names were in trend a few years ago, some unpronounceable without a phonetic life support system and in some cases leading to a lifelong hassle of having to repeat ones name more than once to all and sundry. 
Some parents take a well-worn name and start to add “i”s and “y”s, leaving out or swapping letters around until it looks different, sounds exactly the same as the original and gets the maximum number of points in a game of Scrabble. 
And of course there are those traditional parents who make a list of all relations going back at least three generations and without looking, stick a pin in the list hoping for at least the right sex. Although I get the impression that, this is not always a criterion to try again. 
Maybe we could follow Charlie Chan's example, who just numbered his sons. It would be a darn sight easier that way and would give the child time to select his or her own. If dolphins choose their own call sounds to interact within the family unit, why can't we? 
All my life I have had experiences with incorrect pronunciation, it started at school when I was nine. It was an emotional argument with a new teacher who thought he knew better that I, on how to pronounce my family name. I went home miserable and told my father. The next day he went with me to school and had a "word" with the teacher. Of course the teacher got his own back. From that day on, I was the only kid in my class that was demonstratively called by my first name. This you can imagine was not to my liking, especially when I was among my class mates. 
What is interesting is that here in Germany hardly anyone has difficulty with my family name. It’s only when I get calls from English speaking countries that I have to go into education mode. You may have gathered from this that I'm not talking about Abigale’s family name. Of which there are two different spellings with the same pronunciation! Don’t we make language difficult for ourselves! 
My parents’ generation had usually two middle names, my generation one. We are now down in many areas to only one name before (or after) the family name. If in the future, this trend continues the complete name will disappear and everyone will end up with a User ID.
[Ed: I think we are already there..]

[Ed: Really]
Oh gawd..

There is a group of people that can choose their own names! I have the privilege to be among them. Some of us will only use it for identification within selected communities others will go so far as to legalise it with a new ID. Whatever the reason, we chose it! Of course, our motives in choosing a name are as diverse as when our parents made their choice for us. 

The other day I reflected on why I chose Abigale. What I did not want was a name of someone I knew personally; I would always compare myself in some way with how I remembered her. Not in the way of looks, more the mannerisms and persona. With this in mind, I made a list of girl names to choose from, somehow without much thought a name just came to me. To not be "run of the mill", I chose Abigale in the spelling that my autocorrect keeps trying to change into "Abigail" (this time I let it). 
I also have a middle name, Belinda. This also follows the "don't know anyone" criteria. The name Belinda I connect way back to a song from my youth. It was the title and the text was about someone with that name. Unfortunately, after so long I can't remember the artist or the melody. All I know is that it was one of my favourite songs for quite some time. I am quite net-wise but I still can't find it. If anyone can help me find this song, I would appreciate it. 
I think my names will be around for the duration, I am happy with them. There are some people that are not so happy and with little forewarning change them with the result that they disappear momentary from Google or leave corrupt links in the blogosphere. I think they both know who I'm talking about. I know it was totally unintentional, it can happen. Having an online presence can bring difficulties with it. I was clearing out multiple copies of my Celtic Tree Icon in Google with the affect that in some, but not all, the comments I left sprinkled about in early November have now turned into grey warning triangles! 
That was harmless; something’s or people disappear for more drastic reasons. 
This will be a subject for a future post.
[Ed: That sounds ominous!]
Not really, but something I feel I need to blog about.

The Naming of Girls is a difficult matter, 
It isn't just one of your holiday games; 
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter,
When I tell you, a girl must have three different names... 
T. S. Eliot / A. B. Stuart


  1. Rhiannon is my third name: the previous ones being Jennifer and Laura. I settled on Rhiannon probably about 10 years ago and it stuck. I was very unscientific and used a 'new baby names' book and read it until I found one I liked! I do use Laura as my middle name though as it has family history and connections. It wasn't an easy process to decide though :o).

    1. Three names you say?
      Then you are truly feline.. ;-)

    2. Cassidy is my second name. My first was Kelly, which I picked on the fly at my first support group when asked how I preferred to be addressed. I knew instantly it wasn't me; when I came out to my sister, she immediately told me "You're not a Kelly."

      A friend told me I would know my name when I saw it, and that's exactly how it happened. I was looking through a book of Irish girl names just before Christmas 2011 and saw Cassidy. I was drawn to it instantly. Then I checked the meaning: "curly-haired." That settled it. :c)

      Enjoying the blog, Miss A. Looking forward to more posts...

      == Cass

    3. Thanks Miss C. I do appreciate you dropping by, we curly haired Irish lasses need to stick together! As not to leave Rhiannon out, in Welsh mythology Rhiannon was the goddess of fertility and the moon. In the books of the Mabinogi she is a princess, the wife of Pwyll from Dyfed in Wales. And therefore another Celtic lass! My girl names are unfortunately not Celtic: Abigale or Abigail is Hebrew giving in translation “father of happiness", she was also one of King David’s wives. Belinda is a little more difficult to trace it could come from the German name Betlinde, which possibly means "bright linden tree".
      The main thing is we are happy with them!
      As you said Cass, you don't need to look for a name, it will find you!

  2. When I moved from the Northeast USA to California, I decided to join a local trans group. Up until then, I had been using an email address of "Tiresias" (look it up on Google). There was a name I had used in the Northeast which was a variation of my male name but I never did like it.

    Anyway, I decided I needed a new email address and a new name. I chose Calie because when in the Northeast, it seemed that everyone referred to California as Cali. When I told everyone I was moving, it was...."You're so lucky to be moving to Cali". Well, I needed a name and chose Calie on a whim. It has stuck with me for about 10 years now.

  3. Tiresias is an interesting name to choose Calie, it has a he who became a she and then a he again. Tiresias is a figure of liminality representing ambiguity / opposition. To come full circle the figure, if I remember rightly, turns up in poem "The Waste Land" from T.S. Eliot!

  4. I used to use Tiresias as an email address, not a name. It's also the name of a great song by Genesis :)

    1. Actually I think it's the narrator character in 'Cinema Show' and quite likely borrowed from Eliot's 'The Waste Land' as Abi says. I don't recall a Genesis track called Tiresias. But it's a good email handle.

  5. Silly me! sorry about that, the name was so interesting I got carried away.

  6. And I am the corrupter of which you speak! Sorry for that, I didn't realise the full implications of deleting an identity. Barbara was a name that I had adopted for my online persona - it seemed to make sense at the time. But when I started introducing myself in person, hearing myself and others voice it, it went from the abstract to the real, and suddenly it didn't fit! I had some more complicated alternatives to Daria, which I liked (in theory), but when I said them out loud, Daria was the one. I've since taken it out for a test, and I like hearing it.
    I still have some vestiges of Barbara, I didn't quite get to establish a clean slate in the virtual world yet. Having more than one identity is a little strange since there is only one of me (albeit with a few different faces). Having more than two is just plain confusing!

    1. Daria! welcome back from the twilight zone.
      Yes you were the example I gave. Online moving can have its difficulties. You build a new house, have the old house demolished and then you realised you forgot to pack beforehand!
      Hope you can piece everything together again from the rubble..

    2. A good analogy. I'm still packing!
      There are lots of things to consider in selecting an alternative name: do we like the meaning, the associations, the sound? Another consideration is contiguity with current (M) identity. As Barbara Ray, Ray is from my middle name (I was surprised to see how many other Barbara Rays were present on the net). Middle names were often the link to forebears (at least when i was growing up), either parents or grandparents. Ray is from my father.
      If I were to consider an alternative middle name, Barbara would not be it, as it fails the sound test - too many ar's. It would have to be Rae. Not that I have a particular interest in memorialising my father, its just that it is a part of me.
      As for surnames, while I would probably prefer to maintain my actual name, I'm not ready to make that link public. Perle is close to an anagram of my actual surname. I liked the combination with Daria, and there is a touch of drag queen to it!

    3. Daria, where do you think Abigale got her surname?
      Talking about names of fathers. I once asked my mother why I was called Book. She answered so, “Your great grandfather was named Thomas, your grandfather was named Thomas and your Father was named Thomas and the last thing I wanted was another ☠@✴#ing Thomas in the family and that’s why your name is Book!” I think that says all.
      [Ed: For your information. "Book" is used by Abigale when she is in boy mode. Bit confusing but that’s the way she is]

  7. Do you mean the song "Pretty Belinda" by Chris Andrews which begins like this:
    She lived in the boathouse down by the river
    Eveyone called her pretty Belinda ?
    It was a real earworm in Germany 30 or 40 years ago. Hugs Felicitas

    1. Thank you Felicitas sweet of you to think of me! The song title and text doesn't ring a bell just yet, will try and find a sound file in the net to the data you gave me. Will let you know here of the results, Hugs Abi.

    2. Dear Felicitas!
      I am so sorry I did not get back to you before concerning the song Belinda. I was checking all my comments from the beginning up to now and to my surprise, I see yours was still outstanding! Sorry about that. The answer is yes and no. Yes I know the song you mean and no it’s not the one I was thinking of, thank you anyway.
      Frankly, I’m coming to the conclusion that I’m following a sort of musical will-o'-the-wisp / Irrlichter / Aleya / Chir batti / Boi-tatá / Min Min light (it goes by many names) and maybe it’s just all in my imagination!
      By the way I’m writing up the “window” with the makeup I mentioned at the end of the “If the dress fits..”
      so watch this space.
      Hugs Abi.