On names, changing them, and pronunciation
Ms Kathleen Jennings
s368333 at student.uq.edu.au
Wed Mar 5 20:10:19 EST 2003
My family's history of names is extended, if not as dramatic as some mentioned here! My (US) grandmother's name is Hazel, but she is known as Vicky. No-one is quite sure why, but there is a suggestion it might stem from a letter my grandfather wrote to her in WWII comparing her to Queen Victoria (I think it was a love-letter but I wouldn't necessarily take that as a compliment). One of my US uncles (from Colorado) joined the forces for a time and became known as CO, and finally changed his name legally to that. My mother's name is Mary Margaret, but one of her brothers couldn't pronounce it and called her Micky Mocky - in consequence every one she knows in America calls her Mocky.
My father's grandmother (in Australia now) was adamant that none of her grandchildren should have names which could be shortened into nicknames. So Challis Leigh is only ever called Leigh, and my father Mark is known as Bim by family and friends (from the song "Bimbo, Bimbo, where you gonna go-e-o, Bimbo, Bimbo, what you gonna do-e-o, Bimbo, Bimbo, does your mother know that you're going down the road to see a little girl-e-o).
When he arrived in America and met my mother, she thought his name was Mike and wasn't impressed when he gave her the telephone number of someone called Mark. (She says it's not just the Australian pronounciation - a newspaper in Australia once reported his name as Mike).
My older sister was meant to be Angela Marie but her father thought my mother really wanted it to be Angela Mary. My younger sister and I were both meant to be Peter. I am Kathleen which my (Australian) grandmother didn't like because she once had to divide up the money of a deceased Catholic lady named Kathleen into 1 and 2 penny amounts for various masses. My younger sister was to be Rachel (if a girl) until the day before she was born when my mother decided it sounded "too harsh for a little girl" so she became Rebecca: Katie and Becky at home, "real Little House on the Prairie names" according to my mother, Katie-o and Becky-o (or Pinky) according to my father.
Then I went to boarding school in year 11 and had to fill out so many forms it was easier just to use my full name. So now I am Kathleen at university and Katie at home. However, the church I attend was one my family was involved with for a number of years when we used to live here, so all the families know me as Katie and all the university students there know me as Kathleen.
But I like my name, not too unusual but not very common (although a surprising number of people aren't confidant spelling it). And I like my middle name: Dolan. Betrays the American irish-catholic heritage, of course.
Regarding place names: my home town is Wandoan, the pub is Juandah pub and one of the big local properties is Cherwondah - all the same aboriginal word (don't know which tribe). We also have Gilligulgul. Then there's Bulledelah (Bull-eh-DEAL-ah) which one of my aunts pronounces as "BillAHdillAH).
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