I’ve mentioned before that I come from a family of serious nicknamers. You could know me for 100 years and never learn my siblings’ actual names. It’s not like we’re in witness protection or anything. It’s just unfathomable that someone so close to me wouldn’t have a series of names, nesting like Russian dolls, from the truly private to the most formal.
My husband and kids, too, enjoy a wealth of nicknames. And don’t even ask about the dog.
Over the years, I’ve come to accept that not everyone feels so warmly about nicknames. I can live with that.
But I was charmed to see this phrase in a post at British Baby Names:
A full Sunday name
Is this a thing? Elea equates it to the idea of our Sunday best, a dressed-up version of ourselves only used for special occasions. If it’s not a phrase we’re using, I’d like to advocate for its adoption.
At the same time, I came across this post from Design Mom about family nicknames. The comments? Golden!
In some languages, nicknames follow a sliding scale. There’s a formal – full Sunday – name, and then a diminutive form for those in your inner circle, and maybe an even more casual form used for children or those closest to you.
I’m not sure something so rigid could ever make sense in American culture.
Plus, the trend is often away from nicknames, toward it’s-Isabella-not-Bella and Joseph-not-Joey. But that’s not exactly what nicknames have to be, either. Maybe you always call your daughter Isabella in public … but at home, she’s Bella-Bee.
And that’s what intrigues me – the ways we shape and re-cast our identity in relation to who is around us. Nicknames can play a big part in that. Giving them up feels like sacrificing a way to draw close to those we love. Though, of course, families are complicated – and unwanted nicknames that you can’t shed might be every bit as painful as others are beloved.
Do you like the idea of a full Sunday name? Or are you team name-em-what-you-call-em?
Another find via DesignMom … If you get engaged in Paris of course you should name your daughter Edith and obviously she should have a sign in her room reading “Je vois le vie en rose.” I mean … obviously. (Which reminds me … I’m reading The Paris Library right now, and so charmed by a main character’s name: Odile.)
Surnames used to be automatic … but those days are slipping away. I’ve detailed many of the options in this post, but Swistle has added one more. What if we all had two surnames by default? And when we started our families, we could each choose one of our names to hand down? Read her whole post for more thoughts. It’s a fascinating idea.
We all have a sense about which names are fading, but Laura has the data to back it up. Yes, we’re hearing less (and less) of Gavin and Savannah …
Speaking of out, this post from Nancy Friedman outlines the change from Aunt Jemima to Pearl Milling Co. – and rightly points out that it’s one vintage feminine name replacing another. But the big take-away for me was this sentence at the end: The more we’re exposed to something new, the more we’re inclined to like it—even if we hated it at first. Exactly. (Found via Clare’s always excellent Scoop.it page, Name News.)
I’m so interested in this name: Row. It was chosen by Morgan Stewart of E! News and husband Jordan McGraw for their new daughter. We love noun names, but active verbs? They feel like a whole new category, the successors to Chase. And while we’re on the subject, the newest Duggar grandchild’s middle name is Praise.
That’s all for this week. Can’t get enough name talk? Subscribe to the Tuesday newsletter!