Time for a revolution.
This article says it so well: Names That Are Unfamiliar to You Aren’t “Hard,” They’re “Unpracticed.”
The author was named N’Jameh by her Gambian father. She writes “They named me out of boundless love. In that love is a pride of culture and heritage. And yet, my name is treated like a white elephant in society — an exotic interruption to the conversation among Kristins and Emilies, whose names may be forgettable, but most assuredly don’t make a stir.”
It’s true that I can’t say every name correctly. Unusual names can be harder to remember, and when they require us to pronounce names differently than we anticipate, it can take repetition and focus. But it matters. It’s a question of seeing the worth and dignity in our fellow man – no matter how different their names than our own.
The next time you meet someone with a name that stands out, a name foreign to your own, or maybe even to everything you know about names, greet it with curiosity. And make an effort to pronounce it as best as you reasonably can.
We sacrifice too much when we don’t take this step.
- On a similar note, this is written from a Catholic perspective, but it’s a good rule regardless of your faith or worldview. The rule is the parent bestowing the name and/or the person bearing the name has ultimate decision-making authority over the sound of the name. It’s frustrating, because we want there to be right answers and bright lines, especially around things like pronunciation. Erm … maybe that’s just me? But names don’t work that way.
- There’s an Antigoni in a recent birth announcement round-up from British Baby Names. Love this name, and if Penelope can make the US Top 50, why can’t we hear a few girls named Antigone, too? It’s a tragic story, yes, but she’s an admirable, principled character.
- Dean is one of those boy names making a comeback way before you’d expect it to cycle back into favor. Thank you, Gilmore Girls, Supernatural, and Harry Potter. Oh, and maybe The Real Housewives franchise, because the Potomac installment includes Ashley Darby, who just named her son Dean.
- So Ida is white hot in Denmark. American parents are wild about Ava and Isla … why not Ida?
- If you’re out to fake your way into the international jet set, Anna is the perfect first name. Memorable and unassuming at once, Anna is the kind of name that might be passed down with stock portfolios and gemstones. Or not, because apparently con artist extraordinaire Anna Delvey was actually born Anna Sorokin, a truck driver’s daughter, in Russia. She convinced enough of the right people that she was a heiress whose funds were always just tied up to live the high life for years. It’s a movie waiting to happen.
- The new trailer for Top Gun: Maverick dropped this week. If the sequel is half as good as the original, Maverick is going to be one of the hottest boy names of 2020. Could it bring even more epic boy names with it?