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January 20, 2013 04:38 PM

I've always come down on the "A" side of this issue, but your post has made me think about how it really is a unique and difficult problem when it comes to "freedom" and that it depends on lot on your perspective of whose rights you are talking about. Newborn babies cannot consent to any name, so the responsibility has to lie somewhere. They have to be called something, at least until they are old enough to potentially consent to something (else?) for themselves. But that original "something" usually sticks for life (with some possible exceptions, as Amy E. pointed out).

At least in the U.S., with respect to the A-B debate, it almost comes down to whether you value more the rights of parents to "name their own kids" whatever they want or the rights of newborn babies to be named something that is not offensive/weird/confusing/a cultural misfit/etc. But even if position B wins out, someone still has to make the judgement call of what is appropriate. Even if the two positions "differ only in how they would deal with the extremes of taste," what falls under the header of "extremes of taste" is still subjective. And it's impossible to create a policy that addresses every possible case. How do you have rules that maximize freedom and minimize potential harm to children? Is it worth it? I think I've just talked myself back around to being a solid A again. :P

June 7, 2012 12:53 AM

I'm Jacquie (full name Jacqueline), and I remember when I was first setting up Siri, she kept trying to pronounce my name with the qu- as in queen, instead of like Jackie.

On the phone at work, I know my name's been confused for Jessie, Kathy, and I think Becky. And speaking of which, my mom is Rebecca/Becky, and people mixed up our names (Jacquie and Becky) A LOT when I was growing up.

Overall, though, I don't feel that I've had issues with introducing myself, except for having to spell my nickname since that part is unusual (I've just gotten used to people spelling it Jackie unless I've already told them otherwise).

My husband is Andreas, and people always have trouble with it and usually end up writing Andres on Starbucks cups and restaurant reservations.

Audrey is currently very high on our list for a hypothetical future daughter, but the Aubrey/Aubree/etc. phenomenon is making me second guess it for this exact reason.

May 13, 2012 02:02 PM

I love that! I was reading this to my friends and we all laughed out loud when I got to "Kevin." My parents' dogs are named after food items: Pancake and Pickles. Can't wait for tomorrow!

December 17, 2011 10:08 PM

Siri was my guess for NOTY and I definitely support the choice! I've been aware of the name for a few years now, and it was really interesting for me to see it as the name of Apple's new product. I am in the bridal industry, and I used to work at a bridesmaids' boutique that carried a designer called Siri. The name stuck out to me, and I thought the sound was appealing and that it had potential as a girl's name, but I wasn't aware that it had any history of use as a "real" name. I later came across it while browsing through the top 100 Swedish names of 2007 (my husband is from Sweden and, naturally, I became more interested in Swedish names when we got into a relationship). In Sweden it was 65 at that time and was 57 in 2010. It was "on the list" for a little while, but my husband doesn't like it that much, and I think it's officially off the table with this new development. :) I wonder if/how use of the name in Scandinavia will be affected by the existence of the software...

May 4, 2011 01:25 PM
In Response to It's Name Week!

Yay! Can't wait!

March 23, 2011 11:47 PM

The last paragraph reminded me of an interesting study that was mentioned on a podcast I listen to (The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe), in which dairy cows that were given names by their farmers produced more milk. My guess would be that in most cases using names and presumably giving better care to the cows were both effects of a compassionate attitude that already existed within those farmers, but I'm sure the naming helped them become more attached to their animals over time. I think so much of it has to do with seeing the animal as a unique creature with its own personality versus as a tool that was bred and trained to carry out a specific task, and it is interesting that in some cases the same animals (genetically speaking) have moved from the latter to the former, as you mentioned. As far as naming pets in general, I (and I think other name enthusiasts) see it as a great opportunity to use guilty pleasure and pop culture names and other names that just happen to be out of step with current fashion and that you wouldn't seriously consider using on a human. And I do think that in some cases human-style names on pets are entertaining because of the irony. A chihuahua named Barnabas Ferdinand III, for example, probably would have been named more for comedic effect than as a reflection of how its owner would name a baby. (It would be interesting to see how NEs differ from the general population in naming pets, especially with respect to whether or not pets' names are pulled from the same lists that would be used for babies.) My husband and I have a dog (a rat terrier/dachshund mix) and we do consider her a part of the family. Her name is Buffy, after the vampire slayer, and it's a perfect fit for her. I think it's a cute name and it's fun to say (and lends itself better than we ever could have dreamed to a slew of nicknames and modified song lyrics), but I wouldn't use it on a person.

January 11, 2011 07:30 PM

Just another example of lazy and unskeptical journalism in the traditional spheres and a blogger actually getting it right. Pretty lame.

March 28, 2010 06:55 PM
In Response to The Name Not Taken

Funny, I just came across this similar (older) post through an unrelated series of links: http://www.girlsgonechild.net/2008/06/short-list-baby-name-edition.html


Just wanted to say I also picked up the new edition today at a Barnes & Noble location (in Austin, TX). It was on a table of "new nonfiction" near the front of the store.