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Ormond

Names: My newspaper column: Now featuring a knighted livestock trader and Hepburn's main squeeze

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Here is the link to today's column:

https://omaha.com/lifestyles/cleveland-evans-cedric-is-likely-a-modern-misspelling-of-a-medieval-name/article_d9140a86-1173-11ec-a9e9-f7290b450bbd.html

It was only while writing this column that it finally dawned on me why male names like Cedric, Reginald, Percy, and Nigel which had "effete British upperclass" images for Americans were so much more popular with Black than White parents in the USA during the 20th century. I now think it's the same motive as that for the fashion for newly created names like DeJuan and Lakeisha that came along a few decades later -- the desire among Black parents to give their children names that proclaimed "you are a unique worthy individual and just as good as anyone else." 

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I know an adult named Jennifer because of the Fionavar tapestry, specifically! I know someone named Catherine after Wuthering Heights. I know people named after royalty of all sorts( who are not). I know some Annes spelled with an” e” . I know a mystery bunch that use a family name of the month they were found by an orphanage. Some cultures pay a great deal of attention to homonyms.
If I were black( can’t really imagine), I might not want slave/ slaver names?

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I haven't really frequented this thread. But I came across a name today that I just had to come here and mention and see if it might pique @Ormond's interest, or if you've already looked at this name. I got cc'd an email at work today the principle recipient was a Brazilian gentleman by the name of Dr J. Fuck. Obviously in Portuguese Fuck doesn't mean fuck, and is probably not pronounced the way us English-speakers might imagine, but it is curious the spelling has survived while English slang has more or less pervaded every country and culture. I have worked with people (also not native of English speaking countries) with names that come close, like Fuchs, Dixsit (pron dikshit), Nishit. But I've never come across an actual Fuck. Of course we still have Dicks, which people continue to proudly claim.

Edited by The Anti-Targ

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12 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

I haven't really frequented this thread. But I came across a name today that I just had to come here and mention and see if it might pique @Ormond's interest, or if you've already looked at this name. I got cc'd an email at work today the principle recipient was a Brazilian gentleman by the name of Dr J. Fuck. Obviously in Portuguese Fuck doesn't mean fuck, and is probably not pronounced the way us English-speakers might imagine, but it is curious the spelling has survived while English slang has more or less pervaded every country and culture. I have worked with people (also not native of English speaking countries) with names that come close, like Fuchs, Dixsit (pron dikshit), Nishit. But I've never come across an actual Fuck. Of course we still have Dicks, which people continue to proudly claim.

Obviously weird things happen to surnames when they move from one language/culture into another. As a surname Fuck is a Brazilianized form of a German surname. Here is a link to an article about a Brazilian-born basketball player in Canada with the surname:

https://www.complex.com/sports/2015/03/guy-fuck-canadian-basketball-player-allowed-use-real-name

I am mystified as to how that spelling ended up being pronounced "Foo-key" in Brazil, as that certainly does not seem to correspond to what I think of as normal Portuguese pronunciation of that combination of letters. Though the basketball player thinks his surname is from Fuchs, since he says it meant "fox" in German, I wonder if it really was originally Füge, another German surname which meant "suitable, skillful" in Middle High German. Füge would seem to me to more likely lead to the "Foo-key" pronunciation than Fuchs would. 

P.S. The slang meaning of "penis" for "dick" is first attested in the 1890s as British army slang, and wasn't really widespread in English-speaking countries until around WWII. So it's only been in very recent history that people would have seen anything odd about Dick or Dicks as a surname. 

Edited by Ormond

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Well, if we has a few minutes I could show you, @ormand. Portuguese as far as I know does not have all the heavy duty consonant clusters and probably does not have as many mixed long vowels. Sometimes other cultures drop some of the consonant cluster and sometimes they may separate the syllables to make it easier to say. All that can happen quite quickly. 
I asked my DH who speaks modern German, and he usually says the surname is nothing, I roll my eyes and then he figures out it is an animal clan “ sigil”, but could be lots of things like that they were from the woods, or their occupation.

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Here's the link to today's column:

https://omaha.com/lifestyles/cleveland-evans-television-fueled-the-meredith-comeback/article_96c565f0-1ba8-11ec-ace2-4f9731a64605.html

I have been intrigued for years by the special popularity of Meredith in North Carolina. This is one of the few names where I have ever found such a large oversupply in a single state in the USA during its height of use. All I can surmise is that because of the fame of Meredith College in that state, parents in North Carolina were much more likely than parents elsewhere to think "Oh, that's a cool name!" when they saw Meredith MacRae or Meredith Baxter on the television. There was a little bit of spread of this popularity into neighboring South Carolina and Virginia, but even in those two states Meredith was nowhere near as popular as in NC. I hope someone does research some day on whether or not North Carolina parents conscioiusly knew they were being influenced by the location of the college in Raleigh or if this was a completely unconscious influence. In any event, Meredith College is one of the few institutions of higher education that can rightfully claim it had a lot of babies named after it. :)

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Here is the link to today's column:

https://omaha.com/lifestyles/cleveland-evans-for-men-and-women-brett-historically-a-maverick-name/article_cac123a4-26ec-11ec-800c-bbbe8731f00d.html

The first article on names I ever got paid for was written for "TV Guide" years ago about the influence television had on American baby names, and I started that off with a reference to my cousin Brett being named after "Maverick". So I guess I've now given him a few seconds of fame twice in his life. :)

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Here's today's column:

https://omaha.com/lifestyles/cleveland-evans-spencer-has-proven-its-a-name-for-all-ages/article_7eaa5826-32bf-11ec-b161-5bfcdb4d32ec.html

As usual I did not have space to mention all the famous Spencers who may have contributed to the name's use. Its regular use in the African-American community may be linked to Spencer Bell (1887-1935) and Spencer Williams (1893-1969), who were two of the first Black actors to have successful Hollywood careers. 

Philosopher Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) may have contributed to the name's use a century ago. 

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4 hours ago, Ormond said:

Here's today's column:

https://omaha.com/lifestyles/cleveland-evans-spencer-has-proven-its-a-name-for-all-ages/article_7eaa5826-32bf-11ec-b161-5bfcdb4d32ec.html

As usual I did not have space to mention all the famous Spencers who may have contributed to the name's use. Its regular use in the African-American community may be linked to Spencer Bell (1887-1935) and Spencer Williams (1893-1969), who were two of the first Black actors to have successful Hollywood careers. 

Philosopher Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) may have contributed to the name's use a century ago. 

What about those who spell it Spenser?

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4 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

I can't tell from the little bit of the article I'm able to access whether or not the claim that there were no Nigels born in 2016 is real or whether this is some sort of humorous parody article.

However, if that's true it's only in England & Wales. In the USA there were 144 Nigels born in 2016. There were 79 Nigels (and 10 Nygels) born in the USA in 2020. So it's going down, but I don't think it's really in danger of going extinct yet. :)  Because there are still some families where boys are named after fathers and grandfathers, it's hard for any male name which was regularly used during the last couple of centuries to go completely extinct. 

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2 hours ago, maarsen said:

What about those who spell it Spenser?

I mention in the column that the spelling Spenser was among the top thousand names for boys in the USA for 10 years, probably connected with a television series called "Spenser For Hire".  Do you have a more specific question about Spenser?

If you are in Europe and so can't access the column through the link, you can send me an email in a private message and I will send you the column as I originally wrote it. 

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47 minutes ago, Ormond said:

I can't tell from the little bit of the article I'm able to access whether or not the claim that there were no Nigels born in 2016 is real or whether this is some sort of humorous parody article.

However, if that's true it's only in England & Wales. In the USA there were 144 Nigels born in 2016. There were 79 Nigels (and 10 Nygels) born in the USA in 2020. So it's going down, but I don't think it's really in danger of going extinct yet. :)  Because there are still some families where boys are named after fathers and grandfathers, it's hard for any male name which was regularly used during the last couple of centuries to go completely extinct. 

Yeah, I can't access the specifics due to the article being locked, but what drew my attention to it was hearing that in either 2019 or 2020 there were more newborns named Lucifer than Nigel in the UK.  

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Yes it was no babies named Nigel in the UK in 2016. Which may possibly have something to do with Nigel Farage (a populist right wing politician turned TV personality who was one of the strongest proponents of Brexit but now appears to be in the process of transitioning to the US).

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12 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

Yeah, I can't access the specifics due to the article being locked, but what drew my attention to it was hearing that in either 2019 or 2020 there were more newborns named Lucifer than Nigel in the UK.  

Oh, that doesn't surprise me. There were 54 boys named Lucifer in the USA in 2020. The popularity of the TV show starring Tom Ellis along with the fact that a lot of non-religious parents are going to find the sound of Lucifer just a cool "different but not too different" shift from the very popular Lucas and Oliver has led to that. I would not be at all shocked to see more Lucifers born than Nigels in the USA in 2021. 

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