Saturday, 15 October 2011

I do not often read

the "hatched" column. Friends usually advise me of a birth via e-mail or 'phone. However the "hatched" column sits adjacent to the "matched" and "dispatched" columns in the state newspaper and occasionally large capital letters will catch my eye. Someone will have announced the birth of their child in a way which is not to be missed.
I glanced at the column this morning. An elderly neighbour wanted me to check a notice for her.
I believe the Debrett approved way of putting a notice in the paper is to simply put something along the lines of the names of the parents and the sex of the child.
Providing details of the weight of the infant, thanks to the hospital staff and the doctor, the football allegiance and other quirky details is apparently incorrect. I believe the name(s) may also be left out. This may be a good thing.
Some of the names in today's column are curious to say the least, "Sonny"? "Lexyce Kasce"? The extraordinary spelling of otherwise ordinary names will cause some children problems for the rest of their lives. "Rian" (presumable for Ryan)? Some of the infants appear to be unisex. Is "Jan" a girl or a boy? No other details are given.
Please do not mistake me. I find names fascinating. I love the variety of names which have come with the new waves of migrants. Variety however is one thing. Playing with names is another.
Giving your child an unusual spelling of a common name can cause life-long problems - and indeed beyond that. The spelling of both my mother's given names was unusual. The wrong spelling nearly appeared on her death certificate. It was only a double check by me and my brother that prevented this. Another friend with an unusual spelling was, on one occasion, ridiculed by a teacher for "not being able to spell his name". He was right. The teacher was wrong. He has never forgotten it.
The elderly neighbour is a "Betty". It is not short for "Elizabeth". It is just "Betty". It has caused her trouble all her life because people have assumed it is Elizabeth. She does not even have a second given name. Her great-grandchild has two pleasant given names. Nobody will doubt the sex. The spelling for both names is common but the names themselves are just different enough not to "date" the child. Betty's view? "Very sensible sort of names dear. No problems with those."

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