Naming Conventions Ice-breaker

I have been fascinated with names, and how different societies follow different conventions. When it comes to a unique descriptor for a person, it is hard to beat a name, and so I am always interested in knowing more about how someone was named, what it means, what its components are, the right way of pronouncing it, etc. I have a very good memory for how exactly to spell and pronounce someone’s name too. The pronunciation might suffer due to my Indian/Malayali/Tamil exposure etc, but I love remembering the spellings of names.

I read this wonderful article on naming conventions around the world from the perspective of a software designer who designs forms that have to be internationalized, and am already feeling really happy for having read it. Read it, and become a little more sensitive to the different folks you’d be working with.

A similar article can be written about how folks are named in different parts of India. Also about how imposing local customs by force of law can make things all the weirder. The state of Maharashtra required people to have three parts to their name – “Family name” “Father’s name” and “Given Name”, if I remember correctly. That is just so insensitive to those from outside Maharashtra who have to get a birth certificate for their kids, or register their kids in a school there. Bombay, or Mumbai is in Maharashtra.

I find it very strange to have two “given name”s in my name – “Carthik” and “Anand” – neither of which are my father’s name, or my family name. I also find it strange that in our family, we use two family names, or “surnames” – Iyer and Sharma. Most of the cousins on my father’s side are “Iyers”, while I am a “Sharma”. My sister was an “Iyer” before she got married. None of my relatives know me as Carthik. They all know me as Anand, or call me Nandu. I sometimes wonder if, “Carthik”, “Anand” and “Nandu” have different personalities – whether when someone who only knows one of these meets someone only who knows another, they’d be totally surprised to learn about the other side of me.

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2 Responses to Naming Conventions Ice-breaker

  1. Stephen Blake says:

    Hi There

    I’ve got a question about the “Registered Only” plugin that you developed for WordPress.

    Is it possible to allow rss feeds to be read, even though the plugin is activated.

    I would really appreciate any help


  2. Prem says:

    Very interesting post.

    I have always found it amusing when many do not understand the
    concept of a first name and a surname. It’s like”Mr.Prem” in the
    Hindi movies.

    South Indian names can be equally mystifying for the uninitited.
    Calling Ramalingam Mohanamurthy “Ramu” may be calling his
    father, dead and gone for many years.