Hands up how many of you do not like your name? How many of you spent your childhood dreaming of a more suitable or romantic name? Or of a less silly or hard to pronounce name?
I am not old enough to remember the days when foreign born pupils would arrive at school and have a "Canadian" or "English" name bestowed on them from a list in the teacher's drawer but I do remember teachers, and some kids themselves, simply anglicizing some: Pavel, you are now Paul; Ruqqiya, we'll just call you Ricki; Krysia, you'll be Christine. Thankfully that doesn't happen anymore. Though a friend of mine, who teaches in Mississauga where there is a very large East Indian population, says it takes her months to learn some of her pupils' names due to the complexity of syllables and sounds and not having any English reference point for the names.
But that is altogether different than what some parents will do to come up with a unique name for their child which is seldom appreciated as much by the so named. Take Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii. Please, she begged, take it and just call me 'K'. The news report does not mention what her New Zealand parents names are. Quite possibly Ann & John.
Some names seem to garner far more ridicule than they deserve. I have no problem with Apple. It is a little odd (though Peaches [Geldof] is odder). Really, what is the difference between flower names and fruit names? Why is one more acceptable than the other? Soap operas were always good for geological names like River, Stone, Ridge, Brooke, Lake, Leigh, Sierra. And geographical names are now common: Montana, Dakota, Denver, Madison, Logan, Kingston. I rather like the sound of Alaska, though I doubt it would ever become a popular name.
I personally know a Sandy Beech and a Sandi Whyte-Beach (she is constantly having to give the correct order of the vowels). And I had a friend with the unfortunate moniker of Phyllis Diller. Her parents had never heard of the famous comedienne, and in fact she grew up without television so it was years before she fully comprehended just why so many people snickered when they heard her name.
The name I grew up with was very common in my day. There were four of us (boys and girls) on our block and seven others of us in my grade 7 home room in my first year of junior high. Later, I worked in an office where there were five of us out of a staff of 28 all with a variety of spellings.
I longed for an unusual name, but one of my own choosing. I loved baby name books and would collect names for myself, my imaginary friends, my unborn children, my pets. Some of them, I look back on now and wonder: what was I thinking? Did I really want to have a name beginning with 'Q'? And the obsession with Welsh and Gaelic names - especially since I later found out my pronunciation of some them was way off. A while ago I found an interesting site, a Baby Name Map, which I now share with you to find the popularity of names in your area of the world. Or someone elses area of the world. Choose wisely.