On names, changing them, and pronunciation

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Tue Mar 11 04:32:55 EST 2003

> They are now Ange and Pete Ferris-Smith-Jones-Fysher-Fry.
> Hmm.

I see your point, but I don't lose any sleep over it. Future generations
will already be inheriting so many charming habits from us (global warming,
gross inequality of wealth, etc) that they'll probably take exponential name
escalation in their stride.

Personally, I've always liked the Icelandic system best (i.e. boys take
father's first name + "son", girls take mother's first name + "dottir").
That doesn't help genealogists much (at least the lazy sort), but then I
don't see why we should arrange our lives to suit the convenience of
hobbyists yet unborn. Alternatively, those keen to perpetuate the male line
might like to describe themselves along the lines of "Charlie son of Thomas,
son of Montagu, son of Thomas, son of Thomas, son of Weedon, son of Weedon,
son of Daniel, son of Richard" (that's as far back as I can go, but ideally
we should terminate in some founding ancestor such as Brutus). This would do
wonders for the memory, and it would mean that you'd never have to worry
about making small talk at parties, since you'd never get beyond the


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