What is your name mistaken for?
My daughter was talking to Siri, the virtual assistant on her dad's iPhone, and phrased her question rather impolitely. She immediately regretted it. "Sorry," said my daughter. "Calling Ari," replied Siri. Oops.
In this brave new world, is our friend Ari destined to receive calls every time one of his contacts feels apologetic? If so, he'll surely have sympathy for another friend, Kay. She tells me that the ubiquitous phrase "O.K." is the bane of her existence, because it sounds like somebody's trying to get her attention.
Most of us know the drill of mistaken name identities. Laura is heard as Lauren, Martin as Mark, etc. But some names are especially susceptible, to the point that the confusion becomes part of the name experience. "O.K." is an extreme example, but I'm sure many of you can relate to NameCandy writer Alyssa's lament: "When I say 'Hi, I'm Alyssa,' people ALWAYS think my name is Melissa!"
A new generation of Madisons and Addisons is doubtless headed down the Melissa/Alyssa path. I also predict that every young Zayden will be taken for an Aiden more times than he can count. (Try it: “Everybody, this is Zayden.")
At the opposite end of the spectrum, it's hard to picture a Jacob being confused for anything at all. The crisp consonants define the name's boundaries clearly, and it doesn't sound quite like anything else. Jacob's an exception in our name landscape today, though. With our modern wave of rhyming and variant names, and our global love affair with vowels, mistaken name identities may reach epidemic proportions.
From your own experience, is your name vulnerable to confusions? What about your kids' names? And does this factor into your baby name decisions?