Thursday, January 24, 2013

What's In a Name?

During an outdoor Sunday school class "hermana" meaning "sister" suffices as a respectful and appropriate title.

What's in a name?  I'm not really sure exactly, but I know there is much bound up inside a name.  Universally and globally naming of children is taken very seriously.  We show great honor when we give a child a family name.  Our youngest is a name sake to my father and hubby's grandfather.  We have also used Biblical names for our children, a not uncommon practice globally.  In Mexico, everyday of the year is in honor of one "saint" or another and children are often given the name of that particular saint.  I even have several midwife friends who have had children named after them in honor of the service they showed to the family.  My point being, that it seems to be universally consist that names are important and carry a great deal of significance.

Which brings me to my name, which my parents so lovingly and thoughtful gave to their tiny new one more than 30 years age.  Carie.  Carie with one "r".  Which affectionately in the English languages roles easily off peoples tongues in various forms.  For my mother in a time before I can remember it was "Carie Weewee", a nod to the fact I was quite small and maybe there were numerous cloth diapers wrapped up in the reference also.  I don't know, but mom still recalls it humorously and affectionately.  My friends called me simply "Care" and those who knew me better "Care Bear".  Knick names too have significance and everyone likes a good and fitting play on words.

And thus we come to present day, where mostly I am known as "mom", a name I like very much.  But where also I am a missionary in a foreign country.  As many of your may know, names not only have great significance, but they also vary greatly from culture to culture and language to language.  There are sounds in the Spanish language we do not have in English and visa-versa.  You know that moment when someone from another culture and language introduces themselves and you panic inside because it is important to learn and know the names of others, but that space where their name was sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher?  That is the look I get when I introduce myself to most Mexicans.  Turns out my name small five letter, two-syllable name has several sounds completely foreign to the Spanish speakers ear and tongue!  Oh, but it gets better, when spoken with a "Spanish accent" it sounds like the word for cavity!  I have been seriously considering introducing myself as "cariƱo", which is the Spanish word for "love, affection".

Chime in missionary wives.  What has been your experience with names in your culture?  And maybe some of you that have experience with Spanish, have some advice on this topic.  America has become quite the cultural mix, have any of you living in the US had experience with this?