a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: A Name By Any Other Name--

Saturday, April 02, 2011

A Name By Any Other Name--

SUMMARY: Cultural changes.
I've lived in the same valley for more than 40 years, but the names that surround my life have changed significantly.

High school, 1974

Here are names from my senior high school yearbook in Cupertino--first name on each of the first 10 pages:
Kera Alexander
Michael Bauer
Bob Bieghler
Kathryn Bowen
Robin Carpenter
Linda Cooper
Kim Curtis
Ralph Delsid
Jeri Eaton
Susan Foster
... you get the idea. I know how to spell and pronounce the names. I often know whether they're male or female (although some European names--like Kim and Robin--can be used for either).

Same school, 2011

Here, I pick 10 names from the current newspaper for that very same high school in Cupertino, in the order in which I found them:
Stephanie Lam
Cally Chung
Rachel Chiou
Nancy Chang
Jenny Wong
Patrick Xie
Emily Vu
Ruri Kobayakawa
Stephen Ho
Arjun Baokar
... well, the first names are mostly still familiar--still can spell and pronounce, still know gender, but the last names are of a whole different ethnic origin.

And now, well...

Working environment

Here are the names of one team I worked with for most of the last year:
Guo Wei
Hui Ding
Wei Guo (go figure, different person)
Zhiyan Fan
Allan Lillich (token non-Beijing resident)

...and here are the names of 10 people I've worked with and around for the last 3 months (all ALSO in Cupertino):
Priti Alwarshatty
Moazam Raja
Amol Kulkarni
Kris Bell
Katherine Long
Srinath Seshanarayanan
Manoj Dhoble
Datta Katadilkar
Preeti Suryaprakash
Avinash Yadav
(and the first names of people in my cubicle and across from me: Rohan, Praveen, Balakrishna, Mohammad, Amar, Mirshad, Venkateswarulu)

The last few years have been educational for me in the name department. Learning how to pronounce and also starting to learn genders that typically go with the names. I still have a long way to go.

Dog names

So I got to thinking--what about dog names?

I found this cool page with Indian dog names. What if I'd named Boost "Neela," meaning "Blue"?

My cousin's dog is Jamela, which is Arabic for "beautiful"; the same site has tons of Arabic dog names.

You can also search the web for, say, Swahili dog names, African dog names, or your favorite.

Click here

I wanted to find !Kung dog names--!Kung is the Bushman language. If you've ever seen The Gods Must Be Crazy, you've heard it: The ! represents a clicking sound and it's one of the few languages that uses that sound regularly. But I search for "!Kung dog names", "San dog names", "!Xhosa dog names"--all clicking languages--but no luck.

We have a couple of dogs around here whose registered names include "!":
Tally Ho!
Do you suppose they're pronounced with clicks? And are they male or female? What ever happened to King and Queenie?

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