Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Naming rights

In my class at primary school there were five Michaels, three Craigs, at least two Davids and two Stephens. How I envied Trieste, who lived at the Maungatapu pa. 

Things are different today, as Mick Jagger once sagely observed. On the front page of today’s issue of our excellent local paper, the Cambridge Edition, the names of winners of the Waipa Youth Awards 1911 include a Jarrod, a Jayden, a Mikayla, a Shaani and a Zay.  

Jeremy Clarke in his Low Life column in the Spectator writes:
Grandson number two was delivered by caesarean section last week. Nine pounds. A boy. Clynton. He was plain Clinton to start with, but one of their more sophisticated friends suggested the alternative spelling and the suggestion was taken up. Of course the older relatives are either horrified or derisive. Ridiculous, they say, all these silly new children’s names. The world’s gone mad. What’s wrong with a good old traditional English name, like Arthur or George?
I’ve been pointing these reactionary spirits in the direction of our parish magazine. In the latest issue a correspondent listed some of the Christian names recorded in the Baptism register between 1836 and 1900. Hocaday, anyone? Or how about Mullis, Limbrey, Carwithin or Vavasour? Girls’ names included Asenath, Andromach, Keturah, Thirza, Cotton and Gratitude. Beside all those, Clynton sounds almost staid. 

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