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Our standard spelling backfired. Who knew?

My daughter, Mercy, has a name people can't hear. When she's introduced alone black and white people hear Marcy. She has to repeat it and spell it even though she emphasizes the eeeeerrrrrr sound more slowly than in regular speech. They can only hear it the first time if she's introduced with one or more of her sisters, Faith and Hope. She still has to spell it because so many people assume it's spelled Merci. Merci/y was a common shortening for Mercedes, a name frequently given to Latina women in the SW in the 1950s and 1960s.  Our last name is English in origin, but there is a homophone Latino equivalent that's common.  And a very famous movie star with the same last name that's another homophone for the word.  We have to spell it every time. But my favorite spelling is the Starbuck's barista who spelled it Mersee.   (!?!??!?!??!?)

Imagine our surprise when figured out her appointment and paperwork and another patient's appointment and paperwork were mixed up at her pediatric neurologist's office. Thank God for photos in the files. One had one the Merci spelling and the Latino last name and she had the Mercy spelling and the English last name. What are the odds?  They're both out of the target age range for Merci/ys.

When I married my husband and we lived in the SW I knew I'd be spelling it for the rest of my life, but I didn't grasp just how much of my life would be spent doing that.

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Quote is not working for me right now so I’m going to use tags.

@Ali in OR the idea that names should be spelled phonetically is interesting because I bet this is the first generation of literate parents in the USA that weren’t taught to read using phonics. 
 

@Homeschool Mom in AZ I’ve met 3 Mercy’s spelled that way.  Two were worship leaders in conservative Christian churches and one was a little girl. I love that name but DH nixed it for something more traditional. He also nixed the name Eden. I never connected it to Mercedes before but it makes sense. 

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I gave my kids classic, gendered names....Anna and Catherine.  And then my oldest came out as non-binary, and picked a name I don't like.  I wish I'd named them something gender neutral, like Peregrine.  

It makes me sad that their name doesn't have anything that we chose.  I know that's selfish, but still.  

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11 hours ago, historically accurate said:

It takes all kinds - the Emmas, the Johns, the male and female Taylors, as well as the Sofeeyahs and Aericks. I try not to get upset with what others name their kids, and I hope people don't get weird about my kid's names.

Yep. First of all, when people talk about 'traditional' names, they need to realize that their tradition is not everyone's tradition. And that a lot of creative names have a lot of thought and love behind them, and the parents have just as much or more reason for their naming choices as other parents do. 

I used to be rather ignorant of the subject, but reading about different naming traditions, and some of the reasoning behind 'creative' names and such, really made me realize that, as in most things, my way wasn't the only way, lol. 

1 hour ago, Katy said:

 

@Ali in OR the idea that names should be spelled phonetically is interesting because I bet this is the first generation of literate parents in the USA that weren’t taught to read using phonics. 
 

Actually, not by a long shot. Why Johnny Can't Read, the classic pro-phonics tirade, was first published in 1955. The American education system had by and large abandoned phonics before then. 

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12 hours ago, TheReader said:

I more struggle with the "oh, is that a name?" kind of names (like when Gwyneth Paltrow named her kid Apple). 

But the daughter of Gwyneth Paltrow must have such extraordinary advantages necessarily attached to her situation, that she could, upon the whole, have no cause to repine. 

 

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I personally don't like gender neutral names.  My dh has one.  Not a fan. 

I also don't like unique names.  I have one and I hate it.  Let me specific I do like names that are a little unique, but not odd.  I can't stand when people name their kids Apple or Bear. Some of my kids do have somewhat unique  names, but they are easy to read and say.  My name is not.  Nobody ever gets it right.  Even when I say it, people can't hear it and keep saying the same wrong thing over and over.  I have spent my whole life just trying to get people to say my name right.  

That being said, I hate naming a person.  I feel so much weight doing it.  I wish I wouldn't have had to do it, but the names dh was coming up with were horrible.

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1 hour ago, katilac said:

But the daughter of Gwyneth Paltrow must have such extraordinary advantages necessarily attached to her situation, that she could, upon the whole, have no cause to repine. 

 

Gwyneth posed nude for her birthday. Apple’s response: “MOM!!!!!”

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7 hours ago, Ditto said:

I really like some masculine names for girls.   I do not like gender neutral names for boys, but do like them for girls.  I also like different and sort of odd names.   When Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple, people seemed quite judgy over it.  But I thought it was adorable.   I also think James for a girl is sweet. 

The problem is that most gender neutral names were once male names that people started using for their girls. Apparently it's trendy and cute to use boy names for girls, but it is not usually considered trendy or cute for boys to use girl names (even if they were were formerly boy names). Posters have already given a list of former boy names that are now used for girls: Morgan, Felix, Kendall, Taylor, George, Loren, Michael, Jordan, Spencer, Carter, Kyle, Lesley, James, Casey,...

Edited by mom2scouts
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On 12/24/2020 at 4:26 AM, Laura Corin said:

 

I know someone named Jay, born in the 1950s, who was due to be named that whatever his sex - his mum liked the name regardless. 

I was going to name my son Jay because that's the name my dad used rather than his full name, but my stepson is sometimes called that as a nickname. I didn't want to do the George Foreman thing and have both of our boys called the same name. 🙂 A cousin suggested I give him the middle name Jay but then I had visions of him spending his life telling people "No, not the letter J, the name Jay" when they asked him what the J stands for.

On 12/24/2020 at 8:38 AM, TheReader said:

I more struggle with the "oh, is that a name?" kind of names (like when Gwyneth Paltrow named her kid Apple). 

 

Celebrities giving their kids names that make people shake their heads is nothing new. Frank Zappa's kids were named Moon Unit and Dweezil. It was huge celebrity news at the time. 

Edited by Lady Florida.
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Two of my children have gender neutral names although people of USA may not consider the younger child's name as gender neutral.  Having a gender neutral first name came in handy for older of the two because he realized he was transgender (ftm) early on.  Thus, the only name change required was his middle name, which he changed from my mother's first name to his father's first name.

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2 hours ago, Lady Florida. said:

I was going to name my son Jay because that's the name my dad used rather than his full name, but my stepson is sometimes called that as a nickname. I didn't want to do the George Foreman thing and have both of our boys called the same name. 🙂 A cousin suggested I give him the middle name Jay but then I had visions of him spending his life telling people "No, not the letter J, the name Jay" when they asked him what the J stands for.

 

My FIL’s name is Tim. He’s going on 80 years of explaining that it’s just Tim, not short for Timothy or anything else.

I think you made a wise decision!

Edited by MEmama
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6 hours ago, Lady Florida. said:

I was going to name my son Jay because that's the name my dad used rather than his full name, but my stepson is sometimes called that as a nickname. I didn't want to do the George Foreman thing and have both of our boys called the same name. 🙂 A cousin suggested I give him the middle name Jay but then I had visions of him spending his life telling people "No, not the letter J, the name Jay" when they asked him what the J stands for.

 

Celebrities giving their kids names that make people shake their heads is nothing new. Frank Zappa's kids were named Moon Unit and Dweezil. It was huge celebrity news at the time. 

Oh, yes, I realize that, I just chose to use a celebrity example rather than any other real life example so as not to accidentally step on any toes, use a name that I find odd that someone else may  have actually used, etc. Point being, names of objects turned names, whether named by a celebrity or a regular person, are what surprise me more than names of traditionally one gender being used for the other.  (or words that aren't objects or names, normally, etc.)

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I am Catalan/Spanish and in my cultures  many boy names can be made into a girl names. So Jose will become Josefa, Francisco will be Francisca, Mario will be Maria, etc. Many boys have the Maria part too (being Catholic and all) so Jose Maria for a boy and Maria Jose for a girl. 

Family names can go to either gender (at least in my family). I have a cousin name Alberta (Berta for short) because her father's name is Alberto; and many Joses and Josefas, and Antonios and Antonias 🙂

 

Edited by StillStanding
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On 12/24/2020 at 7:53 AM, Quill said:

Well, as someone whose husband has a name which, while originally a male name, went to girls in the 60s/70s, I can tell you it’s often not ideal.

Yup. My husband is Kerry. People often think he is a woman if they just see his name. He’s pretty comfortable with himself and it’s not a huge deal, but he has said before that his parents should have named him after his grandfather Kenneth instead. 

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