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  1. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Re: Four kinds of "confusing" names

    Quote Originally Posted by mischa
    1. Using the middle name as the name your child goes by.
    2. Using a name more commonly associated with the opposite gender.
    3. Using a name that is often misspelled (or spelled in a non-standard way).
    4. Using a name that is often mispronounced.

    All of your four examples are some of my top pet peeves. One and four are not as perplexing as two and three for me. So many boys names are being taken over by girls and it drives me nuts. Maybe this trend is one of the reasons why people seem to have a more difficult time choosing names for boys. Misspellings or "kreatif" spellings is another huge problem for me. Changing Mason to Masyn for example does not "feminize" it or doesn't make the name look fresh and new, it just looks silly. The poor child will have to correct people for the rest of its life. I would have added a fifth example: Word names that are so strange they would encourage ridicule and teasing (eg. Ecstasy for a girl - what are these parents thinking?). It's good to know that someone else finds theses issues "confusing" too! Thanks fo posting!
    I don't necessarily think that it's bad to use one of these kinds of names (in fact I applaud parents who want to use names that have been "taken over by the girls" for boys such as my own name, Kelly [yes I am a guy]). I merely said that they can be sources of confusion.

  2. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Re: Four kinds of "confusing" names

    1. Using the middle name as the name your child goes by.- TOTALLY agree. Creates a lot of unnecessary confusion, though I can understand it in a few cases. For example, I've heard of parents who want to give their child a sort of off-the-wall name (say Zebedee or Juno) but are afraid their child won't be taken seriously or won't like their name, so they give them a different, more conservative legal first name- say, Joseph Zebedee and Amelia Juno. I understand that, though I wouldn't do it.

    2. Using a name more commonly associated with the opposite gender. I hate this with passion. I have a technically male name that's now used far more often for girls (and is also a surname), but even then, I don't like it. There have been a few famous men with my name (mostly decades ago) as well as famous women (more common now.) I guess I'd equate my name to a far less common form of Ashley.

    3. Using a name that is often misspelled (or spelled in a non-standard way). I can deal with a name that's spelled a different legitimate way for family, cultural, or pronunciation reasons (Giulia instead of Julia to honor an Italian grandmother or Kieran instead of Ciaran to simplify the pronunciation and spelling) but I think changing an easy to spell name just to be "unique" is extremely annoying. Maddisyn, Aaden, and Kamryn just irk me.

    4. Using a name that is often mispronounced. I'm actually okay with this one, though I wouldn't do it myself. Even common names can be mispronounced- Is Eva pronounced EH-va, EE-va, or A-va? All three are correct, technically. Is Katherine two syllables (KATH-ryn) or three (KATH-er-ine)? I wouldn't do something like Ciara (KEER-a, NOT the more common see-AR-a) or Mireille (meer-AY), but if you're pronouncing it a way that is technically correct, then I don't see a huge problem with it.

  3. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Re: Four kinds of "confusing" names


    I understand people going by their middle names, but I don't understand why parents would put the names in that order if they intended that name to be the primary name. I know this is at least sometimes a result of feeling obligated to use a family name.
    I don't have any problem with other people doing this, though. One of my big wishes in naming is for English-speaking countries to adopt flexible name formats - allowing the multiple names needed for Spanish, or allowing family name first so East Asians don't have to flip their names. That is, anyone should be able to immigrate from anywhere and use their name on all legal documents with no changes.


    I have experience with spelling/pronunciation issues. However, this has led me to realize these are practically unavoidable.
    My last name, like many common last names, has multiple spellings and pronunciations, so I often have to clarify it.
    My brother has unusual first and middle names with variant spellings. These don't add to the confusion, as his names are so uncommon most people won't try to spell them without asking.
    My first name, though not rare and in its usual spelling, is often heard as other similar-sounding but unrelated names of both genders. This makes me realize that using a dictionary-standard name isn't sufficient to avoid confusion.


    There are a few names more used for boys that I'd only use on girls. They fit familiar patterns of boy-to-girl names and are rare enough on boys that many people wouldn't know what they were.

  4. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Re: Four kinds of "confusing" names

    I got to thinking...each of these kinds of names sometimes enables you to tell that it's someone that you don't know trying to contact you (not that you'd necessarily get thrilled when these mistakes happen). With the spelling-challenged names it applies mainly to written correspondence (e.g. mail or e-mail), with the pronunciation-challenged names mainly to verbal correspondence (e.g. telephone), and with the other two can apply to both.

    With being called by your middle name: When someone refers to you by your first name.
    With a gender-confusing name: When someone addresses you by the wrong salutation (i.e. Ms. instead of Mr. or vice versa) or refers to you with wrong-gender pronouns.
    With a spelling-challenged name: When someone misspells it or spells it the "correct" way instead of your "creative" way.
    With a pronunciation-challenged name: When somone mispronounces your name.

  5. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Midwestern USA

    Re: Four kinds of "confusing" names

    I suppose #3 applies to me. I named my son Quentin, but still get people spelling his name as Quinton or Quinten (that includes family members, too!). I understand the "Quinton" spelling as a mistake, because it is pronounced exactly the same (just has a different meaning). I see Quinten as just a clear misspelling of the name. I knew by choosing his name that I would probably have to correct people on the spelling of his name.

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