Shanequa, LaQuanda, etc: Strange Names among African Americans

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by madanthonywayne, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    That would all make sense if we were talking about 1880. But these new, made-up names didn't take off until about 20 years ago. I think it's just a fashion thing; many of their friends make up names for their kids, so they follow along.
     
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  3. firdroirich A friend of The Friends Registered Senior Member

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    What's in a name?
     
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  5. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

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    Shaniqua is actually a pretty normal sounding name.

    I agree with Orly about names like Princess, though. A name can be distinctive without being ridiculous.
     
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  7. CutsieMarie89 Zen Registered Senior Member

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    These names actually have meaning associated to them now. I was surprised. So they are no longer just crazy and made up. They're official.
     
  8. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

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    I would imagine they arose as part of a subculture, an additional way of having your own racial identity. ?
     
  9. CutsieMarie89 Zen Registered Senior Member

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    I guess. They are consider authentic American names. And considering the names other Americans have made up, no one should be pointing the finger at African Americans. "Chakalaka, December, Dragon, Blue, Easter, Gutsy, Happy," It's like they're just picking words out of the dictionary.
     
  10. takandjive Killer Queen Registered Senior Member

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    How come it takes someone from the UK to answer the damn question about American culture?

    Yes, those names arose in part because of the civil rights movement and creating a unique African AMERICAN identity.
     
  11. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

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    ^Exactly. White people have named their kids things like Fifi Trixibelle. No one attaches that to their race.
     
  12. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    A strange name has to be an unusual name. So when a member of the majority group names their child something weird, clearly that can not attributed to their race since, if that were the case, the weird name would be a common name.

    We generally consider white people who give their children crazy names to just be idiots.
     
  13. CutsieMarie89 Zen Registered Senior Member

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    That's cuz there are so many of them it's easy to brush aside the number that give their kids weird names off as weirdos, and for other races you don't understand their language. So when a mexican lady shows up with a daughters named Chica and Mantel (real life example) u think nothing of it. But "Girl" and "Tablecloth" are not normal names.
     
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Those sound like dwarves.

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    Why is that any worse than picking them out of the Bible? Michael, David, Judith, John, Daniel, Luke, Noah, Mary, Levi, Raphael, Eli, Esther...

    The most common name on Earth is Mohammed.

    Many of the names we now consider "standard" were originally made up. "Alfred" means "taking the counsel of elves," i.e., "wise." "Eugene" means "high-born," i.e, "noble." "William" means "desire for a helmet," i.e., "protection." "George" means simply "farmer." BTW, that whole list of biblical names were originally made up in Hebrew. Anything ending in -el has something to do with "God."

    I'm getting bored with everybody having the same two or three hundred names. I like it when people name their kids River and Moon Unit (and most especially Dweezil). I have a friend named Meadow.
     
  15. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    Reminds me of Superbad, where the idiot got the fake ID and said he couldn't decide between: Mohammed ("most common name on earth, but not so common in the US) and McLovin'. He went with, of course, McLovin'.
     
  16. wise acre Registered Senior Member

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    So because of this kid's experience black parents are doing something wrong? You really don't know white kids who don't hate their names or are saddled by names that many kids would shudder to have? Do you have some source that backs up the implicit idea that black kids with names you do not consider 1) american enough that are also not what you consider 2) authentically african
    are upset by the names their parents gave them?

    Further I personally would have no trouble having someone in my workplace with the names you disapprove of. IOW I cannot see these names as anti-assimilation. In fact I find the idea kind of strange. Aren't most of these people assimilated? If I hear that name should I expect to have to teach them American Culture - whatever that is? If Jews take names from the old Testement like Yael, should I think they don't want their kids to assimilate?

    How about latino names? Are these rebellions against assimilation? Or are they OK as long as they are traditional latino names?

    Seems to me we have had a melting pot of names for a long time. People have been creative and boring about name choices. People have brought names from other countries. Some have chosen to change their names to make it easier. But many we can be past all that.

    I do think Sean should be able to call himself Sean.
    And if my mother had called me Melvin I might have called myself Sean also, no offense to any Melvins reading this.....

    But come on.

    And look at those 'white' names on Repo's list. Are they somehow objectively better? Jesus.
     
  17. nirakar ( i ^ i ) Registered Senior Member

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    I think that was a fuck you reaction to feeling that they would never be allowed to assimilate and never be considered equal to whites. I think they did this as soon as they felt safe enough to say fuck you to whites.

    James Brown "I'm black and I'm proud" song might have gotten him lynched in an earlier time.

    Keeping the old English names has no particular value anyway accept that they are easy for English speaking people to remember.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2009
  18. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    Might have? Are you familiar with the case of Emmett Till?
     
  19. nirakar ( i ^ i ) Registered Senior Member

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    Yes.
     
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The ten most popular baby names in the USA in 2007 were:

    (Boys) Aiden (Irish), Jayden (Hebrew), Jacob (Hebrew), Michael (Hebrew), Christopher (Greek), Ethan (Hebrew), Joshua (Hebrew), Daniel (Hebrew), Anthony (Etruscan), Matthew (Aramaic)

    (Girls) Emma (German), Isabella (Hebrew), Emily (Latin), Madison (English), Ava (Hebrew), Olivia (English), Sophia (Greek), Abigail (Hebrew), Elizabeth (Hebrew), Chloe (Greek)

    Note that only two of the girls' names and none of the boys' names are English.

    Hebrew: 10
    Greek: 3
    English: 2
    Irish: 1
    Etruscan: 1
    Aramaic: 1
    German: 1
    Latin: 1
    Sean is the Irish form of John/Juan/Jean/Jan/Giovanni/João/Johann/Ivan.
    I can't find any origin for the name Melvin. It might be a variant of the French name Melville, "bad town" or the Irish girl's name Malvina, "smooth brow."
     
  21. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    What I hate is when foreigners come into a country and give their kids strange names that evidence their desire to never assimilate, and here I am thinking of Norman England and weird sounding French names (weird to the English ear anyway) that started popping up amongst the Frenchies, like "Robert," "Allison," "William," "Amy," "Louis," "Richard," "Henry," "Emma," "Roger" etc. As we all know from history, the Normans miserably failed to assimilate, a failure based, almost entirely, on their many foreign-sounding names.

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    And don't even get me started on the non-assimilation of the Jews with all their weird foreign sounding names, like "Aaron," "Rachel," "Benjamin," "Daniel," "Elizabeth," "Michael," "Sarah," etc. Do Jews expect to be taken seriously with names like that?

    (Kidding, of course.)

    I think there is no good evidence that "strange" sounding names are a serious hindrance to assimilation or social cohesiveness. There was a study that showed that in the U.S. having a "black sounding" name on top of a resume seriously lessened the likelihood of getting an interview, as compared to the exact same resume with a more traditional American name on it. SO it seems like I have seen more evidence of "the culture" being hostile to offbeat ethnic names than vice versa.

    I am sticking to giving my kids good, old-fashioned traditional names, like the Gaelic "Siobhan" (pronounced "Shi-VAHN").

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    Last edited: May 23, 2009
  22. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Ironically, since both the Franks ("French") and the Norsemen ("Normans") were Germanic tribes, many of those Norman French names are of Germanic origin. A couple of them even predate the Germanic diaspora and had Anglo-Saxon forms, such as Hrodberht=Robert, but the Norman renditions replaced them.
    An interesting historical episode, in which the conquerors assimilated into the conquered people rather than the other way round. I can't find the precise chronology but probably in the 13th century the Norman rulers started speaking English.

    The Chinese accomplished the same thing twice, swallowing up both their Mongol conquerors and the Manchurians. On the other hand the Anglo-Saxons, for their part, had marginalized or displaced the original Celtic people, turning southern "Britannia" into "Angle Land" but stealing their name, "Britons."
    At one time it was a fad for Jewish parents to give their children Gentile names that had a vague resemblance to Hebrew names. Urban legend says this practice screeched to a halt when one family named their son Isadore after Isaac, and learned too late that the only Isadore of historical significance was the archbishop of Seville during the Inquisition.
    At the peak of the Affirmative Discrimination movement, it worked the other way. People with Spanish surnames were picked out of applicant lists, especially in civil service.
    Siobhan is the Gaelic rendition of Joan, the feminine form of John/Ian/Jean/Ivan, from Latin Johannes, from Hebrew Yokhanan, meaning "God is gracious."
     
  23. Enmos Staff Member

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    Is that considered absurd in Chinese tradition ?
    I wouldn't even give my pets a name like that.. it's like you're naming an object rather than a person.
     

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