Jun 20, 2007

What's in a name?

A good laugh. That's what. Spurred by the Webmiztris' comment on naming your kid Imola or Werdna (do read that one), I went looking for Imola. It's a town in Northern Italy. But that lead me to this blogger's category of bad baby names, and from that I laughed myself silly at this:

Qwuincey - Representing the finest in grammatical errors, Qwuincey’s parents decided to flaut hundreds of years of linguistical tradition and break up the Q-U marriage. But that’s not the worst of it: in the comments some imbecile named Quinsey managed to figure out how to use a keyboard and leave not one but three comments saying that “this is a stuiped webkite”.

My own fairly rare first name has its story. My mother saw it in an obituary years before I came along, and liked it. She and my father agreed she'd name the girls and he'd name the sons. So instead of John Henry, I got Keera Ann. My mother missed having a middle name, so she made sure to give me one. The convention was kept with my sister, Debra Lynn. First name of five letters ending in -ra (as does my mom's), and a short middle name with double-N. I think that would make naming daughter no. 3 challenging, but I've always liked the rhythm of my name and my sister's.

I never encountered any other Keera (regardless of spelling) growing up, and I'm still not sure of the name's etymology, though my mother figured it was Russian, and a woman from Bulgaria told me I had a very common name where she was from: The female variation of Cyrill (Kiril), which means "lordly". But "Keera" shows up also as a variant spelling of the Persian Kira ("Sun") or the Latin Kira ("Light"). Still, all three of those meanings can be seen as synonymous, at least to me with my knowledge of astrology.

"Ann" is so much easier. She was Jesus' grandma and her name means grace (as in mercy).

Having a name that is unique and stands out no matter where I am, must have defined me in some way, but since I've never had a "normal" name, I can't say how. More importantly, I really like my name; I am absolutely pleased with it. I have never wanted to change it even when it got mangled. Contrary to what many think, my name gave me more trouble in the US than it does here in Norway. When I worked as a receptionist in California, my name was constantly misheard as Kerry or Karen or Carol (how do you mishear something that rhymes with beer-a as Carol?), especially on the phone. I'd show people how it was spelled and they'd still read it as Kerry. In Norway, family here heard my grandparents call me Keera, and they mimicked that as best they could, to a very long ee, and the r moved to the second syllable: KEE-rah. In school, kids who saw my name spelled before they heard it, said, "KEH-rah". That fascinated me no end (and was a mini-lesson in Norwegian pronounciation) so I let them use that. And that is actually how I say my name when introducing myself to Norwegians: KEH-rah. And the Norwegians never think I'm saying something else.

When I spell my name, I pause after the double-E. Norwegians don't say "double-E" like Americans would, so "E, E, R" often leads to the E and the R in the right order, but not the right amount. By pausing after saying "E, E", they get a chance to realize I'm spelling something weird. (My last name is a cinch, because Norway has a tasty lemon caramel called Fox, so I just say "Fox, like the yellow caramels" and only once in 25 years have I encountered a Norwegian who had no clue what I was talking about.)

As a kid and teenager, it frustrated me that I never could find keychains, T-shirts, mugs, cards or necklaces with my name on them. Now I'm happy I couldn't. Less clutter. More uniqueness for me.

5 comments:

Sravana said...

You have a sister?
How have I known you for 9 years and not known that???

Webmiztris said...

i think you have a great name. it's original and kinda sexy. :)

my name is a pain in the ass. you would THINK Dawn would be an easy name for people to understand, but it never fails that when I introduce myself as Dawn, they call me Donna.

Keera Ann Fox said...

Sravana, I'm sure I've mentioned her: The mentally handicapped one? And if I haven't, how could I have known you for 9 years and not have mentioned her?

Dawn, I'm so happy I'm not the only one who meets people without hearing aids who should have hearing aids. BTW, my cousin is named Dawn. How cool is that? And thanks for thinking my name's sexy. :-)

M said...

I know a someone (a sorta well-known blogger) whose real name is Tedra. Pronounced TED-rah, not TEE-drah. Her folks made it up.

To me, it's ALWAYS KEE-rah (actually it's KEER-rah), and being from Texas, if I mention you to somebody offline, it's 'Keera Ann said ...'.

m, T is obviously even more unique, but K is much more ... melodic

Keera Ann Fox said...

So Texans use double first names? Like the Scandinavians do?