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Benpercent
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I had some thoughts after reading this:

Then I remembered that for quite a while I have been wanting to change my name. Not only are "Ben" and "Skipper" by themselves extremely common names, but there are many men existing today with the same exact combination! Far too horribly common for me.

It will probably be awhile before I can get the funds to change my name (even if the actual process is cheap, there are other things to consider such as license's and my SS card), but I would at least like to start right now entertaining alternatives. My main focus is to actually invent a name, but lacking knowledge in linguistics I am not sure where to start in my thinking or researching. But, of course, this thread is not limited only to my changing my name.

The things I would like to discuss are 1.) what are your views on someone changing their name, 2.) in the process of changing a name (whether it be inventing or selecting it), what criterion should one focus on; and 3.) should names mean something etymologically, or should they just be pronounceable?

Thank you for your time.

1. I believe it is fully moral to change one's name. You are who you wish to be, and if changing your name promotes your individual identity, then you have the full right to.

2. I would focus on three factors: Pronounceability, Etymology, and Personal Appeal. I wouldn't suggest naming one's self Frizgtztnei, as it's unpronounceable, Atilla, for hopefully obvious reasons, or Peter (it just doesn't have personal appeal to me).

On the subject of being named after one's parents, a quotation you had put in the OP, I just wanted to mention something. I'm a junior - my dad has the same name, letter for letter, and my middle name is my grandfather's name. But I will keep it for my life, because I really think it's an awesome name - Thadius Bruce Main. It's powerful, unique, and classy. It's kind of hard to pronounce, though. Substitute teachers have called me everything from "Thad-I-Us" to "Thay-dee-oos". I'm the only person I've ever heard of who has their first name spelled like that, incidentally. It's a really cool name.

But yeah, if I was named "John Smith" or something, I'd change my name pretty quickly.

Edited by Devils_Advocate
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I have seriously thought about changing my last name (wro-blew-ski - sure it seems easy when I write it like that, but nobody EVER understands the "w") for several reasons. For starters, I have never NOT had to spell it or pronounce it when having to give it over the phone or at an appointment, etc. It's unreadable, unpronounceable, and unspellable to the average person, and it becomes anonying to always do so.

I too have one of those "w" Polish last names, and I have chosen to keep the old world pronunciation of mine precisely because it is more unique and a honor to that side of my family's long history. It does get a little annoying having to spell it out all the time, and the fact that there's only one vowel and all sorts of consonants that are prnounced differently really seems to screw with people. Ironically, when I used to teach young children, ages 2 1/2 to 6, they easily learned to spell and say my name: always with greater accuracy than adults I have known for many years. You tell a child that in some parts of the world letters say different sounds and they think it's cool and they just get it. I like my name so much I am quite certain that I will maintain it as such for the rest of my life, regardless of marital circumstances should they arise, even though I know that condemns me to a lifetime of spelling it out. Spelling it out isn't half as much fun as listening to people make their first attempts at trying to pronounce or repeat it. Being named Ukumu would hve probably made things easier for my high school biology teacher who called me "vegan" for an entire year, but who wants to be called Ukumu? :P (my apologies in advance to all the Ukumu's of the world). And hey,and least she was pronouncing the "w" right!"

Changing your name though, is, as others have already said, your choice. If you really want to do it, then do it, but do remember there are a lot of things (costs aside) that will have to be changed. Have you ever moved and had to call every body and every place you've ever done or are still doing business with and update your address? That's annoying; and just when you think you contacted everyone, you start getting contacted by all these people receiving returned mail they're trying to send to you. So I imagine changing one's name is like changing your address times 10 in annoyance level. Not only do you have to contact everyone, but you've got to legally back a lot of those changes up with documentation. Documentation is a bitch. Trust me: I work in insurance and financial advising so I deal with all the joys of documentation everyday. If you're willing to deal with those hastles than kudos to you. You have more patience than I do-- but then again we half Polish/half Irish girls don't like to mess around with our names! :P

On a side note, my first name was almost Agniejka; that would have been entirely too entertaining. (ahn-nyetch-ka). My family is full of fun first names like that: Borislaw, Wojtek, Zbigniew, and I love it. Even my Irish side has some fun names, like Ciaran, Cecil, Riordan and Farrell. How many people in the world can say they have an uncle Vyesh? (sadly I don't know how to spell his real name correctly because in writing he goes by a very, very English name). Unique names are fun, so if you have one, cherish it, but don't be too bothered if you share your name with others.

Edited by 4reason
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I intend to change my own name from Jan Martinsen to Ian Martin – not only because I like the look and sound of Ian Martin considerably better, but because I intend to move from Norway when I graduate, and want a more international name which will be easier to recognize and pronounce correctly by the people I'll associate with. When an American sees the name Jan, for example, he'll either interpret it as short for Janice, confuse it with Jane, or believe it to be German and pronounce it in a very annoying and awkward way.

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When an American sees the name Jan, for example, he'll either interpret it as short for Janice, confuse it with Jane, or believe it to be German and pronounce it in a very annoying and awkward way.
I think cultural consideration is a good reason to change one's name, certainly in your case. And I also like the look and sound of Ian Martin... not to mention Ian is a great name!
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The one point I can think of in regard to AR's mentioned point about naming children etc.:

Why not name myself my genetic code? It's completely unique to me, nobody else can have it. It is my individual genetic code. It's pretty long though, and I can't imagine a person taking a glance at it and being able to pick out the sequence of TTAGACTTA that might be different in my code than any other person's.

It also brings up another question, identical twins have the same genetic code! (I think, holler profusely and hop up and down about how wrong I am, if I am wrong) If they don't, they sure do look alike. Does that make them second class citizens, because they have no physical distinction and thus should 'share' an identity?

A name is a means for a person in your general area to refer to you. It is a symbol of you, just like the alphabet symbolizes a sound. K and C can symbolize the same sound, should we consolidate them? No, they perform functions, we understand words differently based on their usage. K and C affect the word around them, how it is pronounced, what it means. Existence is identity, yes, but just because something is -called- the same name as something else, does not make them identical.

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I sort of follow your thinking on Jan, but why not "John" which is even less "ethnic"?

I did consider John for a while, but am leaning towards Ian. John is probably the most common name in western civilization, and there are several thousands of people named John Martin. Not only that, but John-Martin is a very common first name as well here in Europe, so it might lead to misunderstandings. Ian Martin is more unique, and as I said I love the look and sound of it.

The name Ian may be of Scottish origin, but so are Scottish Terriers and Scrooge McDuck, and I've learned to love both. ;)

*admires JASKN's signature*

Edited by JMartins
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