What’s in a Name? – A Preview of Celebrate Your Name Week

It's nametastic
It’s Nametastic –  Photo credit: The Comedy Store (Flickr)

A person’s name is an important part of their identity, it shapes who they are, we use our names to communicate with each, other wise how could we know who we are talking to.  And names are an important part our individuality.

Some people may have a vague idea about what their name means.  In which case, finding out what your name means can be an exciting and insightful experience.  This week is Celebrate Your Name Week  CYNW, week, 5-11March,2017, which gives everyone the opportunity to explore the meanings behind their names and the chance to celebrate their individuality.

By way of celebrating your name week, you can use  Onomastics,, the study of names,  to help you to  explore the meanings behind our names.  For example,  the name Martin comes from the Roman name Martinus.  It was derived from Martis, the name of the Roman god, Mars. The name Martin is commonly shared by some famous people: Steve Martin, actor, comedian; Martin Luther King Jnr, civil rights activist;  and Chris Martin, singer.  Moreover, the name Anne is derived from the French form of  Anne and was imported to England.  It is a name that is commonly and famously shared  by Anne Hathaway, actor, Anne Boleyn, queen of England, the second wife of Henry the VIII and Anne Bancroft, actor.

As well as shaping who we are, our names can determine the type of career that we choose.  This is called Nominative Determinism.  Nominative determinism states that your name can dictate the type of career that you choose.  It’s not rocket science, but it certainly sheds a light on why people chose the careers that they choose.  There are many examples of nominative determinism, including the following examples:  an interior decorator from the UK, Derek Paynter;  bankers from Oregon, Cheatham & Steele; a New York dentist, Dr. E.Z. Filler and last but not least, a car salesman from the US, Henry Ford Carr.

Moreover, exploring the meanings behind road and street names can uncover some interesting facts about road and street names.   For example, the name Benburb, in Benburd street, means hill or peak;   the name Cashel, in Cashel road, means Circular Fort and the name Cork, in Cork street, means Swamp.   And there are other road and street names, that have unusual yet amusing meanings, which might raise a chuckle or two.  For example, Ruelle du HA-HA Atmospheric road, No Name road., Flickr street. and of course, Sprinkle road:

Sprinkle road – Photo credit: Three Best Friends Tour (Flickr)

But, imagine a world where people didn’t have a name; where we used other ways to identify ourselves and each other.  Instead, people would be known and identified by an icon or a symbol e.g. @ or the * symbols.  Instead of being called Jake; you would be known as #.  Well, it would certainly change how we would communicate with each other; both online and offline.  Or, we could be identified by using a combination of gender and profession:  male baker, female doctor or use a combination of race and profession e.g. Asian nurse or Danish teacher.  It sounds like a work of fiction – but it might work.

Apparently, there ‘s lot more to a name than meets the eye.   It doesn’t just define who we are and determine the type of career that we choose.  Names can make the world a more interesting and fun place to live in, by way of giving our roads, streets unusual names and by way of the names that we were given.

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