By L&T Managing Editor Larry Phillips
What’s in a person’s name?
That question has long bedeviled clergymen, psychologists and, of course, parents.
The bard W.H. Auden said proper names are, “Like all poetry, they are untranslatable.”
Just my thoughts after watching some recorded football games on my Genie the last few nights.
In particular, I was facinated by some of the players’ first names. It’s only natural when you see some first names to assume their surname is from a different country. Take a KU Jayhawk – his first name is Tedarian – but his last name is Johnson. Hardly from Botswana or Sweden.
I decided to check out several football team rosters, though today’s phenomenon of finding “different” names is alive throughout the country.
• The Jayhawks also have payers with first names such as: Tyree, JaCorey, Tevin, Jaccare, Ngalu, Keba, Deron and Darius.
• The Kansas City Chiefs have pros with first names of Knile, Tamba, Dezman, Dontari and Dunta (wonder if he returns the punta?).
Not to be a wisecrack, but first names beginning with D are rampant in football – pros and college.
Examples include (remember, these are first names only):
• West Virginia University has Dreamius and Washington State University has Deone (don’t know if that’s pronounced de one or deon).
• The Dallas Cowboys have DeMarcus, Demarco, Dez and DeVonte. Guess having a Big D name helps make the roster.
• The K-State Wildcats are not to be outdone with Dante, Deante, Demonte, Dakorey and DeAndre. They can also throw in an Aderious and a Charmeachealle (whatever that is).
• The Sooners only have two strange D-names: Durron and Deonete, but they can add Lacoltan, Hatari (a game changer, I’m sure), Chuka, Ogbonnia and Tyrus.
Can’t get away from those Ds.
I know I’m an “old guy” in today’s world, but I still believe names have an impact on one’s life, and it’s hard to argue if it’s for better or worse.
In an article posted by Adam Alter on www.newyorker.com/online, he notes that, “ … the names people choose for their children vary from simple to complex, and that decision determines some of their outcomes later in life. With the psychologists Simon Laham and Peter Koval, I found that people prefer politicians with simpler names—and lawyers in American firms with fluent names rise up the legal hierarchy to partnership more quickly than their non-fluently named colleagues. (The result persisted even when we focussed on Anglo-American names, so it doesn’t simply boil down to xenophobic prejudice.)
He goes on: “These studies suggest a sort of linguistic Heisenberg principle: as soon as you label a concept, you change how people perceive it. It’s difficult to imagine a truly neutral label, because words evoke images, are associated with other concepts (as are “north” with up and “south” with down), and vary in complexity.
“Still,” Alter noted in his article, “You don’t need to worry too much about what you name your children. The effects are subtle, people with non-fluent names succeed all the time, and norms change.”
I remember a comedian years ago who said some of the kids name’s sounded like a pharmacy “… names like Tylenol or Advil.”
Actually, naming kids after popuar items are for real.
According to a piece by Carlin Flora, published in www.psyhologytoday.com, she wrote. “Increasingly, children are also named for prized possessions. In 2000, birth certificates revealed that there were 298 Armanis, 269 Chanels, 49 Canons, 6 Timberlands, 5 Jaguars and 353 girls named Lexus in the U.S.”
Flora concludes with: “By the time most people reach adulthood, they have made peace with their name or changed it. And, as parents of Dax and Skyy will be gratified to learn, young adults today report that they feel buoyed by an unorthodox appellation.”
My personal advice?
Don’t do da Ds dag-nabbit!