The Rhetoric of Naming. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” William Shakespeare. Connotation. Denotation.
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The Rhetoric of Naming
In their book Freakonomics, researchers Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner make the claim that your name does not affect your destiny. In April 2013, they participated in a podcast to revisit the idea of naming in “How Much Does Your Name Matter?”
“Baby names while at first glance may seem like a relatively frivolous kind of concept, they’re incredibly powerful indicators of status, of aspiration, of taste and identity.”
Naming your baby is a preeeetty big deal. So do you think you're taking it seriously enough? Really? Because you could pawn it off on think tanks and focus groups instead of doing the job yourself.
Oh, if only I were joking. The first episode of Bravo's newest reality show, Pregnant in Heels, served up a first look at what happens when the uber rich get pregnant ... and turn to pregnancy concierge Rosie Pope to help them prep. Enter branding expert Samantha Ettus and husband Mitch Jacobs, founder and CEO of a business capital firm. They want to brand their baby.
They have a point. As Samantha says, "The first impression people give is their name." Fair enough, but then she goes on to point to her first two kids, Ella and Ruby, and admit they've had two attempts at branding a kid and "I don't know that we've done it as successfully as we could…" But as the couple dismisses the whole thing and calls for a dinner with their friends to get THEIR opinion, their real MO comes out. "It's groundbreaking ... who's ever done a focus group for a baby name before?" they say.
The couple named their little boy….
Bowen Asher Jacobs
Good Morning America: Ivy is a play on the Roman numeral IV. The number four is significant to the power couple -- they married on April 4th, (4/4), both of their birthdays are on the 4th (September and December), and Beyonce's fourth studio album was called "4."
Naming expert Pamela Satran: "Ivy, a symbol of fertility, is an old-fashioned name enjoying a resurgence…It's just cracked the Top 300 for the first time since the 1890s, making it a stylish steampunk choice."
Naming expert Linda Rosenkrankrantz: There was a jazz singer Ivy (aka Ivie) Anderson who sang with Duke Ellington. Do Beyonce and Jay-Z know her? "Uncertain. But when I heard the name Blue I did think of Billie Holiday and Lady Sings the Blues," said Satran.
Satran: "Blue is one of the new color names that's been most enthusiastically embraced by celebrities, sometimes spelled the French way, Bleu, which might have been expected for Beyoncewhose own name along with sister Solange's has French origins."
Kardashian gave birth to a healthy baby girl on Saturday,
June 15, 2013 which immediately sent outlets into a tizzy
speculating on the name. E! reported that Kim was telling friends her daughter's name would start with a "K" leading up to the birth…
"North West would clearly be a 'concept name,'" name expert and author Laura Wattenberg from BabyNameWizard.com tells omg!. "Direction names are uncommon in general, and almost always male. North is the second most common direction name for boys, after West. North doesn't have a traditionally name-like sound for either girls or boys, but parents have generally placed directions on the boys' side, just as seasons (Summer, Autumn, even Winter) have gone to the girls."
Well, if you combine Kim Noel Kardashian and KanyeOmari West's middle names, you get "Nori.“ (PORTMANTEAU!!!)
GEORGE LOUIS ALEXANDER
“Royals tend to choose dynastic names, names with history and tradition … it has to be something of weight and gravitas,” [royal expert Victoria] Arbiter says.
The third in line to the throne is believed to be named for his great-great-grandfather George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth II. Louis is possibly derived from Prince Philip's uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, with whom Prince Charles had a close relationship and
the last British Viceroy of India before independence
Alexander could be a reference to old Kings of Scotland
and it's also the male version of Alexandra, the queen's
What about YOU?!
Read the Sandra Cisneros piece “My Name” excerpted from her book The House on Mango Street, a collection of intertwined stories about a young Mexican-American girl who, much like Cisneros, grew up in a poor, working-class area of Chicago. The element of truth comes from the author’s own experiences as a child.
Sandra Cisneros-”My Name” excerpted from The House on Mango Street
In English my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means waiting. It is like the number nine. A muddy color. It is the Mexican records my father plays on Sunday mornings when he is shaving, songs like sobbing.
It was my great-grandmother’s name and now it is mine. She was a horsewoman too, born like me in the Chinese year of the horse- which is supposed to be bad luck if you’re born female- but I think this is a Chinese lie because the Chinese, like the Mexicans don’t like their women strong.
My great-grandmother. I would’ve liked to have known her, a wild horse of a woman, so wild she wouldn’t marry. Until my great-grandfather threw a sack over her head and carried her off. Just like that. As if she were a fancy chandelier. That’s the way he did it.
And the story goes she never forgave him. She looked out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow. I wonder if she made the best with what she got or was she sorry because she couldn’t be all the things she wanted to be. Esperanza. I have inherited her name, but I don’t want to inherit her place by the window. At school they say my name funny as if the syllables were made out of tin and hurt the roof of your mouth. But in Spanish, my name is made out of something softer something like silver, not quite as thick as sister’s name—Magdalena—which is uglier than mine. Magdalena who can at least come home and become Nenny. But I am always Esperanza.
I would like to baptize myself under a new name, a name more like the real me, the one nobody sees. Esperanza as Lasiandra or Martiza or ZeZe the X. Yes. Something like ZeZe the X will do.
Look up the origin of your name.
2. Ask someone close to you about why your name was chosen just for you
3. Imitating Cisneros’ style (see next slide for model, at least as a start), construct a piece about your name (about ¾ of a page, paragraphed as you see fit).