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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2010-02-14, 15:50

So, my stepsister (whom I have only met once) just had her second child, who is named Ariel.

Now.

To 99% of the people out there, hearing that name will make them think of a little mermaid. To the other 1%, it will make them think of a terrible font. It's just not a very good name for a girl.

And it's a horrible name for a boy.

But alas, young Ariel will have to bear this horrible burden throughout his life. I joke, but it actually is really sad, because he will be teased to death about it, and it's not like his parents don't know that, they just don't care. They apparently heard that it was a Hebrew name meaning "lion of God" and were smitten. (They're not at all Jewish, in any sense, but they are obsessed with going to Jerusalem and waiting for the world to end. No, I'm not kidding. But I digress.)

They will apparently pronounce it "Arr (like a pirate)-iel," but it's not like anyone reading the name will know that. They'll read the name and think it's for a girl.* And if Arr-iel was the intention, why not just name him Ari? Ari is an awesome name. It means "lion," "eagle," and "brave." It's awesome in three languages, and it's not mermaidish at all. But I digress.

(I mean no offense to any male Ariels in the audience. I'm sorry, for...everything you must have gone through.)

Anyway, rant over. I was thinking about naming, and how some people (*cough*) take it too lightly. Fellow writers, how do you name your characters? Parents, how do you name your kids? Animal people, your pets?

I'm horrible at naming. I need to name the lead character of the piece I'm working on now. He has a last name and so far everybody either calls him by that or "Doctor," which actually wouldn't change even if he had a first name. Only one character calls him by his first name, and only (I think) once, but that actually makes it harder because it has to be a really good name because it will be in the spotlight for that one sentence. I was thinking something starting with S, but I already have two S'es. And it has to sound old. Any ideas?

*I know it was originally a guy's name. That doesn't matter. I'm normally a staunch defender against the girlification of guy's names (Madison for a girl? That doesn't even make sense!) but in the case of Ariel (like Lindsay and Ashley before it), it's just time to let it go. They have the mermaid, they win.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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Maciej
M AH - ch ain saw
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2010-02-14, 17:36

I think you've stumbled upon the quintessential problem with having kids. I do work in pediatrics, and I have seen hundreds of kids who are going to hate their parents.

Anyway, I wish I could offer up some help here. I usually just don't name whatever it is that I'm naming until something I like pops into my head. But it certainly can be a lot of pressure with something like a baby.

Seven.

User formally known as Sh0eWax
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Noel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Chicago
 
2010-02-14, 17:59

You should bring back the Latin name "Sextus". In light of the "sexting" phenomenon, it would have entirely new meaning.
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2010-02-14, 20:56

A behindthename.com commenter wants to name their son Tristan and their daughter Isolde. Um, ew.
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Bryson
Rocket Surgeon
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Whitby
 
2010-02-14, 21:08

A distant relative of mine just named their new son Talon Jedi. True story.

I think that may technically count as child abuse.
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joveblue
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Melbourne
 
2010-02-14, 21:18

I heard of someone ("friend of a friend of a friend" kinda thing) who named their kid Le-an. OK, kinda crap with a pointless hyphen in the middle, but whatever. The worst bit is how it's supposed to be pronounced: "lee dash an".
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2010-02-14, 21:22

As someone who has owned two cats named Sweetpea and Porkchop, I might not be the person best suited to participate...because if I had a son, I'd name him Fonzie.



Being serious for two seconds, I've often thought about daughter names (because I don't want a little punk son to deal with... ). But if I had a girl(s), I've said for years that I'd name them Lucinda and Gillian. Gillian Elizabeth (just so I could call her GillyBeth).

And, yes...after Lucinda Williams and Gillian Anderson (or Welch, if I'm feeling musical).



But I don't have kids, and it's not in the cards. So I'll just have to pretend.

But if I ever get another cat, I will get two girl cats and apply the above...about as close as I'm ever gonna get, I'm sure.
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drewprops
Space Pirate
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2010-02-14, 21:27

By "old" do you mean "old-fashioned" or that the name should connote the idea that the doctor is old?

Abe
Jacob
Malcom
Varner
Childress
Weller
Poston
Lenard


As far as naming children go, my suggestion is


First Name : Fun and "Popular" Young Name

Middle Name : Something they can "grow into" when they reach adulthood

Be sure to provide a CLEAR PATH to adulthood.



...

Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
Captain Drew on Twitter
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2010-02-14, 21:33

I do like those old-timey sounding names for guys. Something you'd hear in an old cowboy or Civil War movie or novel. I think those are cool.

Wyatt? Virgil? Morgan? (see where I'm headed here?)



I always thought "Jasper" was cool too. Call him Jas for short.

That was the name of Kevin Costner's son in "JFK", and I always liked the way it sounded.
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curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2010-02-14, 21:56

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewprops View Post
By "old" do you mean "old-fashioned" or that the name should connote the idea that the doctor is old?

Abe
Jacob
Malcom
Varner
Childress
Weller
Poston
Lenard


As far as naming children go, my suggestion is


First Name : Fun and "Popular" Young Name

Middle Name : Something they can "grow into" when they reach adulthood

Be sure to provide a CLEAR PATH to adulthood.

...
Dude, if you want to go Biblically old, you've got to include Methuselah. Just think of the lulz as you get fake id.

If you want stick with secular names and have several kids planned, you could do Permian, Jurassic, Cretaceous, etc.

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.
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Capella
Dark Cat of the Sith
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Rochester, NY
Send a message via AIM to Capella  
2010-02-14, 22:05

When character naming, it depends on what I'm writing. Fantasy names and sci-fi names can be wildly different, after all.

A few friends and I have been playing the newly reborn (again) Myst Online (or Uru). We've been creating characters to be in-character and giving them separate identities, and what we do is hit up Behind the Name, and click to the right sex, and then scroll around until we get something that sounds great. Surnames are harder, so I go for a US Census list and then jump to random points and look for stuff.

"A blind, deaf, comatose, lobotomy patient could feel my anger!" - Darth Baras
twitter ; amateur photographer ; fanfiction writer ; roleplayer and worldbuilder
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drewprops
Space Pirate
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2010-02-14, 22:37

I was once given a copy of a manuscript written by a friend of a friend. It was schlocky, inept fantasy stuff, and the author was unable to create a consistent palette of names. The story was horrible, but the names were so bad I had to hand it back in.

Naming is Very Important.


...
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2010-02-17, 18:17

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewprops View Post
By "old" do you mean "old-fashioned" or that the name should connote the idea that the doctor is old?
Old as in old-fashioned. Really old-fashioned. Though the doctor is, well, technically old. But not really. It's a long story, literally.

I subscribe to the "Sherlock Holmes" theory of naming, in that for a recognizable name you can pair a quirky first name with a common surname, or an unusual surname with a common first name, but you can't have both be quirky or else you'll end up with something ridiculous, like "Methuselah Honeysuckle" or "Lavender Gooms." The character's surname is typical (though still "own-able"), and especially since he usually goes by "Doctor" I think I could go pretty unusual with the first name, though I'd like for it to stay within the Germanic language family, for consistency (that includes English).

So, yeah, it's hard.

I'm a stickler for good titles, too. If I'm doing a series, I'll say something like "the titles all must be in iambic dimeter, they must progress in alphabetic order and they must whenever possible be references to songs from the eighties or newer." (Said series takes place much earlier, but I dig the anachronism.) This isn't as hard as it sounds, as there are lots of thematically appropriate eighties songs and titles derived from songs will obviously fit some form of poetic meter. The real challenge is alphabetic progression, especially if it's a very long series (it is), and also keeping titles from sounding formulaic even though they pretty much are (this means avoiding "The Blank of Blank" titles whenever possible -- I hate those, but of course said title scheme is designed to practically ensure them).

So, uh, yeah. If there's anything I obsess over in my stories, it's titles and names. I don't do "world-building," I don't write novels just to show how much I researched about X, but I do obsess over titles and names (and book design, but that's neither here nor there).

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
  quote
Iago
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Hmm?
 
2010-02-17, 18:24

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roboman View Post
A behindthename.com commenter wants to name their son Tristan and their daughter Isolde. Um, ew.
That's ruined my favourite aria forever. Fuck you.
  quote
Luca
ಠ_ರೃ
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2010-02-17, 18:34

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iago View Post
That's ruined my favourite aria forever. Fuck you.
I can virtually guarantee that at least someone has named their kids Belle and Sebastian.
  quote
Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2010-02-17, 18:35

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iago View Post
That's ruined my favourite aria forever. Fuck you.
I'm glad somebody got it. That commenter totally squicked me out. And I am not easily squicked.

To anyone who didn't get it: it would be like naming your son "Romeo" and your daughter "Juliet." Not cool.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
  quote
Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2010-02-17, 18:45

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luca View Post
I can virtually guarantee that at least someone has named their kids Belle and Sebastian.
In English-speaking regions, the name "Sebastian" is a bit over-the-top for a person, like it's trying way too hard. But I'm sure for some that would only increase it's appeal...subtlety is not a hallmark of the "16 and Pregnant" set.

It's good for a pet though. It could be okay for a character, I guess, but it was totally ruined for me when a behindthename.com commenter said that they liked it because it had a perfect nickname in "Sebby."

If I were named Sebastian, I would murder the first person who called me "Sebby," and no jury would convict me. (Unless it was comprised entirely of behindthename commenters.)

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
  quote
joveblue
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Melbourne
 
2010-02-17, 19:05

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roboman View Post
In English-speaking regions, the name "Sebastian" is a bit over-the-top for a person,
That's a very sweeping generalisation if I ever did see one...
  quote
Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2010-02-17, 19:08

Quote:
Originally Posted by joveblue View Post
That's a very sweeping generalisation if I ever did see one...
Huh? It's an opinion. Just like "the name Jack is sexy" or "the name Peyton is too trendy" or "the name Le-an has a pointless hyphen." I don't recall claiming that my opinion was shared by everyone (in fact, I specifically mentioned that it wasn't...?).

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
  quote
curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2010-02-17, 19:22

Barnaby Twiggerton-Piglet would be silly.

Spoiler (click to toggle):
Not violating Rule #1... technically
  quote
joveblue
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Melbourne
 
2010-02-17, 19:22

Oh, I thought you meant that was the view of English-speaking regions. Sorry.
  quote
Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2010-02-17, 19:49

Quote:
Originally Posted by joveblue View Post
Oh, I thought you meant that was the view of English-speaking regions. Sorry.
Oh, I see. Yeah, I probably worded that ambiguously. I meant that was my opinion when people in English-speaking regions named their kids Sebastian. Obviously people in French-speaking territories would view it in a different way (surprisingly, or not, the name is less common in France).

To me it just seems like an over-the-top, impractical name a young parent would latch on to because it sounded "fancy." For some reason, some lower-class people love giving their kids the most pretentious or stereotypically upper-class names possible, so a "regal" name can become "trashy" very quickly. We saw that with Sebastian, but it's unlikely the French did, so they'd view it differently -- that's what I was trying to say.

We're seeing this right now with Xavier. I knew a teenage single mother who named her son Xavier because it was fancy and exotic-sounding. (Of course she pronounced the "X.") The contrast between the names "status" and hers makes the name seem gauche. And exotic it's not; it's currently the 71st most common name for a boy in the US, ahead of, oh, Adam. A year prior it was 68th. This behindthename.com commenter sort of sums up popular sentiment:

"Xavier is my 2nd son's name. I love this name. To me, this name is regal. It's elegant and modern. For those of you who hate it, you have no taste."

Now, this is just me going out on a limb here, but I'm guessing "carolina812r" isn't exactly known as a paragon of upper-class taste herself, or she probably wouldn't have given her son such a painfully "regal" name. And the defensiveness! (She pronounces the "X" too.)

Of course, this is completely removed from the name's perception in France. One of my favorite French musicians is Xavier de Rosnay of Justice, the name doesn't seem gauche or "trying too hard" on him, since he is actually from France, and it is likely the name has completely different connotations there.

The lesson: Don't name your kids ridiculously upper-class names if you're not. The effect is grotesque. (And if you're named Xavier, don't pronounce the "X". )

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
  quote
ezkcdude
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
 
2010-02-17, 20:59

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roboman View Post

To 99% of the people out there, hearing that name will make them think of a little mermaid. To the other 1%, it will make them think of a terrible font. It's just not a very good name for a girl.
I guess I'm the other other 1%.

  quote
joveblue
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Melbourne
 
2010-02-17, 21:11

Well, it's not pronounced "Avier", so I guess you do have to pronounce the X. You just have to pronounce it as a Z.

I don't mind these names at all.
  quote
joveblue
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Melbourne
 
2010-02-17, 21:25

It's when you get trailer trash with names like Mercedes and Lexus that's really disgusting...
  quote
ezkcdude
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
 
2010-02-17, 22:37

Quote:
Originally Posted by joveblue View Post
It's when you get trailer trash with names like Mercedes and Lexus that's really disgusting...
Mercedes used to be considered a classy name. I think. When I was a kid, we lived in an extremely affluent part of the Bay Area. This was the early 80's. A neighbor of ours had two kids that me and my brother used to play with. Their names were Mercedes and Sterling.
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709
¡Damned!
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Purgatory.
 
2010-02-17, 22:48

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roboman View Post
So, my stepsister (whom I have only met once) just had her second child, who is named Ariel.

Now.

To 99% of the people out there, hearing that name will make them think of a little mermaid. To the other 1%, it will make them think of a terrible font.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ezkcdude View Post
I guess I'm the other other 1%.

I guess I'm the .0001% that immediately thought of the planet Simon takes River to figure out what was going on in her head, and the time when "the money was too good" for Jayne not to take.

So it goes.
  quote
bassplayinMacFiend
Banging the Bottom End
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
 
2010-02-18, 08:19

I admit it, I thought of Princess Ariel from "Thundarr The Barbarian". Still, I've known two guys named Kim, two guys named Leslie and my brother-in-law had his named legally changed from "Robin" to "Rob" because of the crap he went through growing up.

Guess that's why I went with Benjamin for my son. Good solid name and no gender confusion a la The Man In Black's "A Boy Named Sue".
  quote
drewprops
Space Pirate
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2010-02-18, 09:03

I thought of the girl who played the live-action Dairy Wench in one of our videos, as her name is Ariel (and she was on that makeover show last year)


...
  quote
Wyatt
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Near Indianapolis
 
2010-02-18, 09:35

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewprops View Post
I thought of the girl who played the live-action Dairy Wench in one of our videos, as her name is Ariel (and she was on that makeover show last year)


...
I think I saw that one. Has she stuck with it?
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