Tuesday, October 17, 2006

strong and sexy

today i get onto the bus about fifteen minutes before it was supposed to leave. i guess the driver was on break and was on the phone, helping her friend or somebody pick out names for a baby. i couldn't help but listen to her end of the conversation.

"how about noel? that can be for a boy OR a girl! noelle is a great name!"
...
"mahan? what the heck kind of name is that?... oh, that's your momma's name? oh okay. well, that's nice, but you said you want her to have a strong, sexy name. i'll think of something. don't you worry."
...
"na na nah, I GOT IT! now get this: India. N, with the little swirly thing, d, y, i, a. India. now that's strong AND sexy! ... nah, N with that thing on top, d, y, i, a. i'm telling you, girl! that's a GREAT name!"


i don't know about you guys, but i sat there on the ride to my office trying to figure that one out. Ndyia. doesn't that look like it'd be pronounced "Nih-dee-ya"? and isn't it grammatically impossible to have a tilde n at the beginning of a word? help me out, you linguists out there.

i'm sure a lot of parents get their babies' names in a moment of clarity, but really, shouldn't people take a little more time to map it all out? that poor kid might end up being strong and sexy, but only because she'll have to be confident enough to correct people about her name all day long and have built up a tolerance for ridicule.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's definitely one way to encourage a child to develop self-sufficiency. I'd stay far away from those of my mom's friends if they inflicted things like that on me. Why not throw in an umlaut while you're at it?

ML said...

Yes, some parents are so into being extra creative with their baby names, that they never consider the poor kid.

jazz said...

i would have died. DIED had i been on that bus. seriously.

i don't think there are words in the spanish lang with a tilde up front. the tilde is what makes the dipthong sound. it's possible to put that sound at the beginning of a word. i.e. nathaniel would be "nya-thaniel."

the busdriver's would be "nyn-dia"

omar said...

This sort of thing makes me mad. I'm not saying I need to know how to pronounce every name, there are plenty of culturally significant/relevant names out there that I can't pronounce. Those are fine. What bugs me is when people randomly MAKE UP stuff as a name, or if they take a name and spell it in some crazy way to make it "unique."

My best friend growing up was named Michael (goes by Mike). He always joked that he was going to change the spelling to "Myque" just so that it wouldn't be like everyone else.

Jon said...

I'm with Omar... can't stand it when names are horribly misspelled just to make them "unique." I'm against it 100%, and I have a T-shirt that says so too.

Also, any time baby naming comes up, I am reminded of an old SNL sketch with Nic Cage, Julia Sweeney and a little bit by Rob Schneider... good times...

Modern Viking said...

Linguist? That's me :D

But this is a question of phonetics, not grammar. And while you could have a Ñ at the beginning of a word, you can't easily have one before another consonant like that...

As for the pronunciation (assuming we lose the tilde), it would sound like India without the 'Ih'... just two syllables, 'ndi-a'. The 'y' is useless, at least in English orthography...

Gloria Glo said...

My mommma, a school teacher, says, "You have to get a license to drive a car, but any idiot can name a child."

Translation: Weird names. No.

Radioactive Jam said...

If I send you a business card saying I'm a mental health therapist, would you give it to that child? Right now I'm still an engineer but I figure I've got at least six or eight years to get trained, licensed etc. When she needs me - and she will - I'll be ready.

Guyana-Gyal said...

How about Marvellous? Yes, I've heard of a baby in Jamaica called Marvellous Davis. Man, the things parents do.

Here most folks are so accustomed to odd-sounding names though.

Syar said...

I'm also with Omar. India's a fine name without all the extra symbols and what not. Its like how some parents can find 10 different ways to spell 'Jasmine' (nothing to do with you Jazz, with your lovely name, its just something I read in Freakanomics) where they add unnecessary i's and e's and z's. how irksome.

and nydia sounds like a medicine. however, nadia is one one of my favourite people and names and this name is close enough to it for me to remotely consider it.

Edna B said...

My daughter's name is India. Spelt I-N-D-I-A. You would be surprised how many people misspell it (how do you spell missspell??(SP?) by trying to be ridiculously creative with it!