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Bruin Fisher

Names in stories

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I'm reading a novella. It's not here in the hallowed halls of AD, it's outside in the dog-eat-dog world. I had to pay money to read it.

At this point (half way through chapter one) I have no idea if the story is good, bad or indifferent but I've been introduced to a cast of characters. They're Chicago high school seniors and their names are:

Kedon

Tarell

Rock

Mason

Rand

Eriko

Taland

Nary a John or a Paul among them, not even a George or Ringo. The fact is I don't know ANYONE in the real world with any of these names. Do American schoolkids really have names like this? Don't parents name their kids James, or Timothy any more?

Anyone want to have a stab at which of the above list of names are girls? In fact there's only one - Eriko. I have heard of a girl's name Erika, so Eriko might have been the male equivalent - but the author's given it to a girl.

There is an Alan - but that's a surname.

I'm struggling a bit as I read to keep tabs on who's who, since I'm working with a full quotient of names I've never heard of - and Taland and Tarell are a bit too similar.

It's spoiling the story for me...

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I have encountered Rock, Mason, and Rand in real life, but none of the others.

What ethnicity are these students?

R

Ethnicity not yet indicated so I don't know. One of them has just brushed down his 'trousers' - I would have thought in Chicago they'd have been 'pants'? The author (whose name is Hurri Cosmo!) is American according to the blurb...

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I would guess that this author is a transplanted non-native American English speaker. I can't remember hearing people around me refer to "trousers" -- that seems like something a parent would say to a child.

Kedon is a geographic location in the Philippines -- maybe there's a clue there. Your instincts are correct, in my view -- no typical Chicago high school would have exclusively oddball names like the ones you have listed.

R

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Mason I've heard before. Rock could be named after Rock Hudson. Eriko is, as already pointed out, a variant of Erika (some parents do things like that). Kedon could be a variant of Keidan. Rand can be short for Randall (as per the USA politician Rand Paul).

Many years ago, someone told me that names such as these were more likely in certain cultural groups. In that particular case, they were referring to African-Americans in southern USA. If that's true, then the names are implying that these kids are not from your typical white anglo-saxon population. If so, it's a subtle point that wouldn't be obvious to those outside the USA.

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I recognize all of them except Eriko, and they're pretty much exclusive to the African-American culture(Except Rand which does show up as a nickname for Randall as already mentioned). If this is about inner-city Chicago which has a large African-American population then I'm not surprised in the slightest.



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The only kids named Mason I've know have been girls, never a guy. I know a guy whose nickname was Rock because his last name was Rockford and his first name was Jeff and there were already four guys named Jeff in our class.

Colin :icon_geek:

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The only kids named Mason I've know have been girls, never a guy. I know a guy whose nickname was Rock because his last name was Rockford and his first name was Jeff and there were already four guys named Jeff in our class.

Colin :icon_geek:

Isn't that about the most masculine name ever, Jeff Rockford? Nicknamed Rock? It would fit the pervading irony of life if he were gay.

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In some cultures when a woman marries she takes the surname of her husband. That includes the UK, although I note that some couples choose to do it differently now.

I have sometimes been struck by the sacrifice some women make when they comply with the tradition. I knew a couple called Fudge - the woman's first name was Cherry.

A girl whose maiden surname was Tilley married a man whose surname was Willey. She must have really loved him...

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Isn't that about the most masculine name ever, Jeff Rockford? Nicknamed Rock? It would fit the pervading irony of life if he were gay.

Rock was definitely not gay. He had a girlfriend who he said he met in middle school and they were still together when we were seniors in high school. The Rock nickname came when we were freshman and the class was PE and the teacher needed to call each of us something unique. He went through the class list calling out names when he ran into another Jeffrey. Thus, Jeff. Then the third Jeffrey became (to his chagrin) Jeffy. When he got to Jeffrey Rockford he'd run out of "Jeffrey" nickname alternates so Jeffrey Rockford became Rock. What I never knew is why he didn't call us by our last names. There'd have been less confusion if he'd done it that way.

Colin :icon_geek:

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He was a gym teacher. Doesn't that answer your question? He never though of that!

C

And you can be sure none of us were going to make that suggestion!

Colin :icon_geek:

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God, I hope I never have a boss like that -- I'd end up laughing my ass off at him.

Colin :icon_geek:

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Those names have the feel of a very trendy, contemporary setting and they are also pretty middle-class white.

It sounds like the author was looking for the coolest names that appealed to him/her.

Names are pretty important in a story, especially how one character's name bump's up against the other names. How it rolls off the tongue can count. Is it a hero or a villian (figuratively)

I am guilty of stooping to using the Baby-Name-Book online.

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Creating names for my stories, both first and last in most cases, is an interesting exercise. I sometimes use the lists of "popular given names for the year xxxx" I find in Google. I sometimes use the "flip pages and point" method in the telephone directory. I sometimes use names of kids I knew in high school and university. I sometimes see the name of a person on the TV news and save that for some future story.

One of my current serial novels has a protagonist who is a member of his school's freshman football team. I needed a list of names for the other kids on the team. Here's that list:

Andrew Webster
Cameron Phillips
Coby Harrison
Darryl Chiu
Dennis Feirman
Isaac Rochester
Jacob Rummel
Jeff Liu
Jeff Post
Jiago Garcia
John Garchik
Leander Wainwright
Luigi Asuncion
Marjory Stakker
Mark Wicks
Pete Ross
Randall Spitz
Rick Fuller
Ryan Wong
Tony Mckinley

You might have noticed the girl's name, Marjory Stakker. Yes, if you're a girl you can play on a boy's football team where I live. In Marjory's case (in my story) she's the team's kicker and is responsible for kickoffs, PATs (point-after-touchdown), and field goals. Most of the given names are fairly common (where I live and where I went to high school and university). There are even two guys named Jeff. The ones that are uncommon are Coby, Jiago, Leander, and Luigi.

Colin :icon_geek:

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One more comment on names..

I have been knee deep into a story and suddenly say, "This name is wrong! It's just wrong." For whatever reason.

This is where the replace app comes in so handy..

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