“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.” wrote Shakespeare in the memorable novel “Romeo and Juliet “.
Off course, the person would still remain the same even when called with another name. Neither a good name would make a person good, nor a rich name would make him rich. “BUT“……!!!! Shakespearean definition sounds logical only in his classic novel, not in reality. The name gives a person his identity. It is the integral part of who you are , not considering the physical aspect of the person. It is what identifies your personality. Not all who are named “Gandhi” are revered as “Gandhi”. When we say “Gandhi” we co relate the name to the messenger of peace “Gandhi”. That’s how the name engulfs the personality. Our name is so dear to us that mispronouncing it or misspelling it , hurts us. Not just hurts, but causes severe consequences in some cases.
Our culture and society gives a lot of importance to the name of a person. When a child is born people like to name their kid with a name that is very unique and unheard of. That unique name makes the parents feel that his child is special among others. Lot of rituals go with naming a child. That’s the reason we always hold our name very close to our heart and cannot tolerate to hear it mispronounced or misspelled. However, many times these beautiful names are butchered because of the way different languages are pronounced. Spelling names of persons from other cultures or languages sometimes becomes difficult to a person belonging to some other culture or speaking a different language. Take for example the African name “OLUWAKANYINSOLA” (means “sweet” in South African language) or the Thai name “APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL” (meaning “Holy“) . Some names are not just difficult but if not pronounced properly give a totally different and weird meanings, though in their native language they would mean something very nice. Being an Indian and knowing meaning of most Indian names, I’m particularly amused and sometimes irritated with the way native American English speakers butcher Indian names. They do not mean to deliberately do it. Most of the time, it is because they try to pronounce them the way they speak English phonetically. I have heard some names pronounced really funny and sometimes embarrassing, by native English speakers. (more…)