Meaning of Names
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I am excited. Today will be the birth of my nephew. It prompts me to think about the meaning of names. Our names stay with us throughout our life for the better or for the worse. Since birth, this is one of the things that we cannot exercise our freedom of choice unless we decide to change our names later in life.
This is also a beautiful gift that our parents have bestowed on us. They gave us the name at that point in time where it sounded nice, had some meanings to it or simply because it was popular to be called Marilyn during that period.
For the Chinese, it is probably a bit more complicated. Many of those younger generations that I know of, pay money to have a fortune teller propose some combinations of Chinese names according to the baby’s five elements of life in order to derive an auspicious name.
Even the Chinese nowadays have Christian names for easy pronunciation for the non-Chinese, and also it is stylish to have a Christian name to blend into the social circle.
Are Unique Baby Names Feasible?
The quest for uncommon baby names has increased over the decades. This could be attributed to parents being more educated and creative. They want their children to be unique, individualistic and stand out among the rest thus giving them unique names for their future benefits.
The problem of having a unique name for a person is facing the constant frustration of others pronouncing and/or spelling it wrongly or with many variations of it.
To reduce the problem of repeating to make the name sounds or spells right, the person may change their name completely to a simpler version just to make it easy for people to pronounce and spell without teaching others how to do it right. It is vital that people must feel comfortable in their own names.
I am facing the frustration of spelling problems for my own name over the decades from my own peer. My name is spelt as Shirline (pronounced “sure-lynn”). People have no problem pronouncing my name correctly.
They have so many variations to the spelling – Serene, Shirlynn, Sherlene, Shirlene, Sherline, Shirley, the last 3 being the most common spelling errors.
I have a few friends whom I have corrected their spelling mistakes countless times for the past 10 years (yes 10 years, I am not joking!), it still didn’t change the impression in their heart that my name should be spelt in the correct way as “Shirline”.
Perhaps during their era or to their understanding, they are imprinted deeply with the common well-known name like “Shirley”, “Serene” or even subconscious preference over the alphabet “e” (lene) instead of “i” (line).
To date, I still cannot figure out their stubbornness of adhering to the (wrong) spelling that they are more aware of instead of making an effort to memorise the correct spelling that really represents the “real” me.
Consider the name-pronunciation effect. A series of experiments show that people who have names that are easier to pronounce tend to be evaluated more positively than people who have names that are difficult to pronounce.
This research stretched to political candidates and a random sample of attorneys in U.S. law firms. Attorneys that have an easier pronounceable name tend to climb a higher position in the corporate ladder.
“John, can you help me with this?” versus “Jyhanmohi, can you help me with this?” In a social environment, people with common names are generally more popular simply because it is easy to pronounce and remember.
When you encounter someone with whom you have a difficult time pronouncing their name, you are less inclined to communicate more and seek help from the person because it is tricky to ask for help from a person without first addressing the name of the person.
It is also embarrassing to let the other person feel that you still cannot get the pronunciation right after knowing them for a while.
Names Influence in School
Academic papers are usually ranked in alphabetical order by the authors. It is common to affiliate things at the top of the list as being the cream of the crop.
Over time, it forms a psychological effect to perceive as being successful. On the contrary, the further down the alphabet of one’s surname is the less likelihood of being successful.
Girls with more feminine names are more inclined to choose humanity subjects whereas girls with more masculine names are more likely to choose maths and science subjects for their courses among the high-grade achievers.
A research paper conducted by David N. Figlio from the National Bureau of Economic Research said that boys who have a girly name will tend to misbehave more in school compared to boys with more masculine names. The behavioural problem leading to a suspension in school escalated more when a female schoolmate had the same name as them.
They are also being teased often on their names thus making them more self-conscious. The phenomenon of boys having girly names was seen more clearly from immigrant children and native-born English language learners.
Experienced teachers could foresee that they were able to assess the behaviour of the term intake just by running through the name list. The names below were compiled by School Stickers in the UK for the Top 40 Names of the Most Well-Behaved and Naughtiest children, in both genders category.
One-third of the teachers claimed that the naughtiest children were also smarter, sensitive and more popular as compared to the more well-behaved ones.
Names Influencing Success
Names indicate the secret to success. In 2006, American economists look at the relationship between surnames with academic performance. People who have their surnames with the initials closer to the start of the alphabet have a higher percentage to win a Nobel Prize and work in more esteemed university departments.
In Germany, a field study showed that People with noble-sounding surnames like Kaiser (“emperor”), König (“king”), and Fürst (“prince”) will tend to hold a higher position in work as compared to people with a more common last names like Koch (“cook”), Bauer (“farmer”), and Becker/Bäcker (“baker”).
Having royal names such as Elizabeth, Diana, William and James would help to connote success and popularity. One would be treated differently or behave in a different mannerism. It is a psychological effect that whenever you call someone with a royal name, images of the royalty may flash by in your brain associating with status and class on the person whom you call upon.
Choosing Names for a Baby
Mike Campbell, Author of Behind the Name took pride in researching and presenting you a wide selection of names and their meanings for free browsing according to the Letter, Gender and Usage.
A list of countries and the meaning of the names are explained in great detail. The ranking of the chosen name in various countries are also displayed.
It helps in your option to choose the most popular baby names now that you know how names can influence our life path to a certain extent. Have fun researching the names!
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