I remember I am named Enzo – after the race car driver who never gave up!
Many years ago I visited Disney World and Epcot Center. During that visit I bought a paper fan with a landscape painting from a woman who was selling both the fans and her services as a translator. for a nominal fee, she would write the buyer’s name on the upper right corner of the fan, in Japanese characters.
The little table where she worked was located on a relatively quiet (for Disney World) sidewalk populated by street artists drawing caricatures and portraits of tourists willing to pay the fees for their services.
Walking up to the table I indicated that I wanted a fan with my name. She smiled and we went through the usual formalities of clarifying the service and making payment. I recall liking her sincerity – for reasons I cannot explain she came across as a person who was inherently authentic and trustworthy. Ready to begin the work, she my name.
“Adora” I replied. Just to be clear, my name is pronounced Uh-Door-Uh, with the emphasis on the second syllable. In other words, ‘Dora’ with an A.
The look this poor woman gave me was something I had become all to familiar with over the years. There are many variations, ranging from simple I-don’t-understand panic to outright anger (yes, anger over the audacity of admitting to my legal name…but that is a story for another blog posting). This woman fell under the former category and, for a brief moment, I thought she was going to ask me to repeat my name but (for whatever reason) decided against it. She nodded, bent over the table to complete her task and handed me the completed fan.
At the time I wondered whether or not she had actually written my name and how I would even know if she hadn’t. Regardless, it was a pretty fan and my ‘name’ looked elegant, painted in the corner, so I went with the flow, proudly displayed my fan, and told people it was my name…no doubt about it.
Recently, I have been using Fiverr to complete some work for my WildRaccoonPress.com website. (Many aspects of my Wild Raccoon plans are still in the formation stage, so the work is somewhat exploratory as I test out ideas.) I noticed Fiverr has an entire category for translation, which reminded me of that old fan.
Amazingly enough, the fan has survived many decades of time and thousands of miles of travel. So, I took it outside, snapped a picture and posted a gig to Fiverr, requesting a translation of the text. I did not provide an explanation of the fan’s original or my decades old request to write my name. Several Fiverr-accounts posted their bids and I selected a company that specialized in Japanese, Chinese and Korean because I honestly could no longer remember what language it was.
For $5, I requested a translation that included the following: 1) the language, 2) a roman letters translation of the foreign language text (read: the text in the non-English language but using the English-language alphabet) and 3) a translation of the text into English. Here is what I was provided:
雅&多 are both existing in Chinese and Japanese, but 娜 only can be find in Chinese.
雅 多娜 is absolutely a girl’s name. But actually, this kind of name is often the transliteration from Japanese name. So this 娜na could be a translation from Katakana.
Thus, this name also have a possibility from Japan. In this way, it is 雅多ナ（雅-みやびmiyabi,多-たta,ナna）.
From this I gather that Adora (Uh-Door-Uh) was translated into Yaduona, and I’m guessing the pronunciation would be Ya-Doh-Nah, which isn’t to far off.
In the end, my $5 Fiverr translation has made me re-appreciate that old fan, which is more than worth the money.
“If you was a boy, you’d be Marlboro,” my father said in his Appalachian twang when I asked him why he named me Brandy. While this insight didn’t appear to answer my question immediately, I began to see the twisted logic behind my father’s penchant for narcotic substances serving as inspiration for naming offspring—and it made me glad that I turned out to be a girl.
I was beginning to think that my father wasn’t so crazy after all for wanting to name me after cigarettes and booze. How was that any different from wanting to name my kids for tattoos I wanted to get? How could I pass judgment on something that was imbued with meaning for him so much that he wanted to name me accordingly?
–Chick Ink: 40 Stories of Tattoos–And the Women Who Wear Them
The Mexican state of Sonora has instituted a baby name black list, which legally restricts the names that can be given to children born in that area. You can see the entire list on LatinTimes.com and a discussion of the politics (in Spanish) on AnimalPolitico.com.
When I see stories like this, I like to look at the black listed names, root out something particularly unusual, and try to come up with a reasonable alternative – something I call the ‘Name Game.’ So, here we go…
Banned Name: Burger King
Part 1: Burger
- beef: Reuben, Wellington, Angus, Chuck, Kobe
- cow or cattle: Birley, Boyne (Boine), Gobind, Vachel
Part 2: King
- king: Roy, Arthur, King, Ryan, Leroy, Malik
- royal: Auberon, Basil, Royal,
In the United States a list of potential boys name (first and middle) that are reasonably standard and have the hidden meaning of Burger King would be:
- Reuben Roy
- Angus Ryan
- Kobe King
- Chuck Leroy
- Wellington Arthur
The meanings behind most of these names were pulled off of the internet, so please take the ‘definition’ with a grain of salt. Also, I am not well versed in Mexican or Spanish naming conventions so the list might be different if the game were played by someone whose native language is Spanish.
(C) Adora Myers 2014
The controversy surrounding the naming of a Tennessee child is interesting on two fronts: 1) the right to choose a child’s first name, and 2) the right to give a child the mother’s last name.
The child was originally named Messiah Deshawn Martin. The father initiated a court battle because he wanted the child’s last name changed to match his own: McCullough. The judge rules in favor of changing the boy’s first AND last name, despite the objection of both parents. So the child was (briefly) named Martin Deshawn McCullough.
The judge was fired over this decision because she specifically cited Christian-specific reasons in the courtroom (you can read all about the mess former judge Lu Ann Ballew created for herself here and here).
The press has focused on the first name because Messiah is an unusual choice, but I have found the combination of decisions concerning both first and last names particularly interesting. If you step back and look at the ruling (minus the invocation of Jesus Christ) there is a simple logic – both parents want their last names attached to the child’s legal name and Messiah is very close (in sound and appearance) to Martin, so give the mother the first name and the father the last. If this suggestion was made by friends or family members, in the manner I have just described, it would not seem offensive. In fact, it would have been an excellent opportunity for arbitration or alternative dispute resolution. For example:
Take this out of a courtroom and discuss it in private with a mediator – here are a few naming suggestions to get you started. If you still can’t come up with a mutually agreeable decision, bring it back to the courtroom. From what I understand, this has become something of a standard procedure in family courts in the United States.
However, the judge did not make those suggestions or decisions. Instead she simply ruled to give the child the father’s last name and, while she was at it, changed the first name to something that he could live up to (yes, she actually said the child could not live up to being Jesus Christ) – which is where the politics of last names enters into the discussion.
While it is never mentioned in the news articles that I have read, there is a strong possibility that this judge also believes that children should not be given the mother’s last name – and married women should not keep their last name (and women should not have children outside of marriage). These are all standard opinions of the politically conservative and Christian fundamentalist/evangelical communities within the United States. There are those who consider a hyphenated last name, a double last name (e.g.: Messiah Deshawn Martin McCullough or Messiah Deshawn McCullough Martin) or the use of the mother’s last name to be offensive for political, cultural and religious reasons.
Regardless of her personal opinions, these are not decisions that the judge can make for the parents in question. In fact, it is specifically stated that she can not use her religious beliefs as the basis for decisions made on the bench – therefore, she is now out of a job.
But, the American legal system aside, the question still remains: would either the first or last name prove to be a burden on the child? Personally, I don’t think the community at large (or other children) would think twice about the child’s last name unless the parents entered into a loud and much talked about battle within that community – then the gossips would have a field day. Using the mother’s last name is no longer the hot button issue it once was, and it is possible that a reasonable compromise could have been reached (on that issue) through mediation (e.g.: talking it out with the help of a trained ‘referee’) – as mentioned earlier, I really think this issue should have taken out the courtroom in the first place.
The first name is unusual, but it’s neither brand new nor as uncommon (in the United States) as you might think. According to the Social Security Administration, the name Messiah was number 904 in popularity (1 being most popular and 1000 being the least popular among those common enough to be counted) in 2005 and has steadily increased in popularity, reaching number 387 in 2012. By comparison, Jesus was number 73 in 2005 and 101 in 2012 – leaving the top 100 for the first time since 1999.
Again, that is in the United States. In New Zealand, Messiah is one of the officially blacklisted names and, therefore, not legally allowed as a baby-naming-option.
Here in the USA, Messiah might result in some teasing and bullying on the playground, but I suspect the child’s friends and peers will simply shorten it to Messi (pronounced meh-SIGH), which would make it easier (faster) to say, less formal and less religious. It would be interesting to hear what a child given the name Messiah in 2005 (reaching age 9 in 2014) has to say about his or her experience.
While I find this naming problem fascinating I am of the opinion that it never should have made it into the courtroom, much less the press (yes, that is the third time I’ve said that).
(C) Adora Myers 2014