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Brittney, Brit'nee, Brittnay, Brittneigh, Brittnai....

Discussion in 'Girl Stuff Forum' started by alexd, May 7, 2010.

  1. alexd

    alexd Administrator Staff Member


    I saw a birth announcement the other day and groaned. In recent years, I’d learned to accept the flood of trendy tots named Madison, but this was my first Madicyn. If you care about spelling, my advice is to pour yourself a stiff drink before untying that pink or blue ribbon and reading news of the blessed event.

    In a similar vein, leafing through the newspaper these days is like crawling through a minefield of makeshift names. An article will catch my eye — say, something about a tornado that just missed ripping through a preschool beauty pageant — and I dread what’s coming next. They’re going to interview the pint-size witnesses, and I’m about to meet little Brittney, Brittny, Brittneigh, Brit’nee, Brittani and Bryttney. If you absolutely have to name your child after a rugged French peninsula, then get out a dictionary and look it up. It’s Brittany.

    I have a major gripe with the trend of misspelling baby names. On purpose. The parents’ logic runs something like this: “My child is special and unique. Thus, my child deserves a special, uniquely spelled name.” The upshot is that Chloe becomes Kloey, and Jacqueline metastasizes into something ghastly, like Jaq’leen.

    It would be easy to blame this on celebrities, since there appears to be an unspoken contest among them to saddle children with awful names. Gwyneth Paltrow set the bar high when she named her daughter Apple, but not high enough. Reign Beau, daughter of Ving Rhames, and Vanilla Ice’s Dusti Rain and Keelee Breeze are way up there. For boys, could any name be worse than Bronx Mowgli, son of Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz? Perhaps Jermajesty Jackson?

    Not that this is just a Hollywood problem. All across America, parents are mangling names in a misguided mission to trumpet their kid’s individuality. Take the wildly popular name Chase, which is actually not a name at all, but something a dog does to its tail. It was annoying to begin with, but now it gets worse as it slowly mutates from Chase to Chace, and on to Chayce.

    If there were any truth to the idea that a particular name can guarantee a particular character trait for the child — or vice versa — most people would be named Vaguely Dissatisfied. Or Kinda Bitter. In my case, my parents could’ve just named me Unemployed and saved everybody a lot of trouble.

    Misspelling a child’s name won’t make Junior special, creative or unique. Y’s and I’s are not interchangeable, and apostrophes are not some sort of newfangled confetti to be sprinkled liberally throughout groups of letters. Parents shouldn’t impose cryptic, incoherent or foolish spellings on their own children, nor on society as a whole. And they shouldn’t condemn their children to a lifetime of bleakly repeating that, no, the name in question is spelled “Shaiyahne,” not “Cheyenne.” (And while I’m at it, don’t name your child Cheyenne, either.)

    The liberty to name one’s child is not always absolute, certainly not outside the United States. In France, for example, the district attorney has a short window of time after a child is born to block names contrary to the interest of the child, including those that are pejorative or rude or would cause ridicule. I’m not suggesting we commission a similar corps of name police in the United States. But I am saying that a little humility and some common sense would go a long way.

    by Paul Schmidtberger, author of the novel “Design Flaws of the Human Condition” (Doubleday/Broadway, 2007), was born and raised in Schooley’s Mountain, N.J., and now divides his time between Paris and New City, N.Y.

    (from NYT)

  2. ravinjunkie

    ravinjunkie TRIBE Member

    or get subjected to ridicule by your English Teacher! Reminds me of when mine made of fun "Aimee".
  3. Casey

    Casey TRIBE Member

    The creative baby name thing is totally out of control. I know someone who thought it would be a good idea to take the first two letters of her name, and the last three of her boyfriends name and squish them together to make a new name for their son. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the most retarded sounding name on the planet, and I feel really bad for the kid.
  4. Silvershadow

    Silvershadow TRIBE Member

    This actually is also the case in Quebec. My cousin was telling me a few years ago of a name that got rejected there: the parents were trying to name their daughter "Spatule". (i.e. spatula in French.)
  5. r6bikerchick

    r6bikerchick TRIBE Member

    How about the fact that there were 228 babies named Unique, plus one each of Uneek, Uneque and Uneqqee in California in the 1990s? (Thank you, Freakonomics).
  6. sk8

    sk8 TRIBE Member

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