This is post number 7 in my 2016 symbol series, and the last on the topic of names as the symbols they often are. Today I’m wrapping up before delving further into symbols in general. If you’re here for the first time, scroll down for some interesting takes on character names from literature. You might even discover the meaning of your own first and last name.
Every January has morning news shows discussing the most popular baby names and those odd names associated with pop culture. Names like Lemongello and Orangello are real. So are ESPN, Cheese, and Leviathan. Poor kids. Visit snopes.com to check out the downside of wild names in urban legend claims.
Celebrities sometimes pick out stunners too: North West, Moxie CrimeFighter, Moonblood, Kal-El, Camera, Audio Science, Pilot Inspektor, Moon Unit, and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen. Do you suppose the parents who thought up all these unusual names were making a statement of some sort? Hmm… names as statements. I found a quote about this to consider.
“One thing is certain. I have no real feeling about my first name. I can only guess why this is. It seems to me that it may be because my parents gave it to me without any particular feeling simply because they liked it…It is as though my parents had seen it in a window of a shop, walked inside and bought it. It has nothing traditional about it, no memory, no history, not even an anecdote…it was simply a passing fancy. A family name, a saint’s name, a hero’s name, a poetic name, a symbolic name – all these are good: they have grown naturally and not been bought ready-made. One should be named after somebody or something. Or else a name is really only empty breath.”
~Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1929)
This last bit is worth a ponder:
“One should be named after somebody or something. Or else a name is really only empty breath.”
Interesting. The thought fits literary names too, especially if the meaning conveys a secret.
Say I’ve created a character named Kenneth Ignis. I’ve made him a fireman in New Jersey. That looks simple enough at first glance, doesn’t it? Breaking it down, his first name is an Anglicized form of the Scottish Gaelic name Cináed which means “born of fire.” The last name Ignis just happens to be Latin for fire. That’s a fun way to make an occupational name an indirect or secret message, rather than the obvious names of Baker or Smith. But what if Kenneth isn’t a fireman? How about he throws himself into his work or his art to the exclusion of all else? In this case the fire is his drive — a burning desire. The name is now a nod to the character’s personality.
Latin roots offer lots of potential for names, as do other language roots. Great names can be found in Norse, Greek, Old French, Germanic, or Old English. For more food for thought, I’m sharing my stash of name links. Most were found many years ago and all have served me well. Sadly links don’t last forever. I’ve lost a few good ones to time.
The best online. So many cultural options
You won’t believe how useful this site is
Fun magical names
Fantastic Medieval names
Check out this oldie. As a writer and info hound, I see amazing potential here. I love that title too. http://www.domesdaybook.co.uk/index.html
I hope you’ve enjoyed this venture into Onomastics.
Tomorrow: my favorite take on symbols.
“What is the most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.”
Today is Author Gemma Juliana’s blog day
Authors and Industry representatives all month long.
Our January is on! Prizes often include $100 in gift cards for Amazon/B&N, ebooks, print books, audiobooks, additional gift cards, and non-book items. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/