Ven ven at
Sun Oct 8 21:38:17 EDT 2000

> Kyla is a Yiddish shortened form of the Hebrew name Kelilah, which means
> laurel, crown, or victory. (Which actually do go together, by means of the
> tradition of placing a laurel crown on the head of the victor.) We're not
> quite sure where the name Tornheim comes from, since it was my
> great-grandfather who came to the US from Palestine who had it, but we
> think it's from the Polish town of Torun.
> And although I love my name dearly, it *is* mispronounced a heckuva
> lot. Mostly stupidly, since the most common mispronunciation is "kayla
> thorn-heem." I can understand the "heem" part--most Americans don't
> recognize German spelling to pronounce it accurately (or are confused by
> the "steen" pronunciation of "stein" common in Jewish last names). But I
> don't see an "h" in the first syllable of my last name, and I've never
> heard of the vowel "y" being pronounced "ay." <shrug>

Kyla, I would have pronounced your name correctly but I thought it 
sounded Scandinavian (there's a place called Trondheim in Sweden 
or somewhere).

I think I said earlier I collect fictional Vens. It gets independently 
made up quite often. Then ther are the things people think it may 
be short for -- Venetia, Vanessa, Vendela. I've always thought 
Venice would be particularly absurd, sounds like someone in 
Dynasty perhaps.

Apart from the obvious one -- the role model I've done my hardest 
to escape! -- I can't think of any significant fictional Wendys. (note 
for thiose who have joined more recently than me Wendy is the 
name on my birth certificate). Incidentally things seem to havce got 
easier as regards dumping your given name. At one time I was 
plagued by people (OK usually older men) who would say "Well, 
I'm going to call you Wendy." obliging me to psyche them out until 
they stopped. I don't know how Irish law differs but in the UK you 
are entitled to go by whatever name you wish so long as you are 
not pretending to be something or someone you are not, so I use 
Ven on all official documents (except my passport because I can't 
be bothered with the paperwork).

Here's some great names of real people:

Susan Hunter West

Aletta Djadjadiningrat (Dutch Indonesian)

Sander Van de Leouw (also Dutch -- Alexander Van the Lion)

Reverend Zeal (parish priest from my home town who succeeded 
the equally pleasingly named Father Dart).

Juliet Molteno

Oh and on marriage Tim Power's wife changed her name from 
Serena Batsford to Serena Powers, which is so cool.

Finally here's an observation on made up names. In one of the 
Bordertown books -- I think by Will Shetterly -- he mentions a girl 
who called herself Jinian L'Etoile. Everyone took to calling her 
Jiggle le Toilet ...........So I determined a rule which says only use 
one unusual name or you risk sounding like a prat. Thus Indiana 
Jones is fine, Jinian Rogers or Sally L'Etoile would have done.


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