September 21, 2005

"But what's with people putting 'a's in their names where they don't belong? "

Said Volokh Conspiracy's Kevan Choset after someone pointed out that he'd spelled Katharine Hepburn's first name wrong. Cute!

15 comments:

Eddie said...

What do you mean, Ann Althause?

XWL said...

Sounds to me like Kevan has never forgiven his parents for spelling his name that way, ohhh the horrors of constantly correcting other folks (a horror I know too well myself)

--Le Roy

Ann Althouse said...

It's such a bad idea to spell a name "wrong" in naming the baby. Unfortunately, there are some names, like mine, that have two conventional spellings.

(As to my last name, it really should be Althaus -- no "e," as with my first name.)

Spelling a first name funny is especially bad for a boy, I must say. I named my first son John -- without even considering Jon, but you'd be surprised how many people guess "Jon" as the spelling and even, much more weirdly, "Jhon."

SteveR said...

My sister's name is Anne not Ann, my name is Stephen not Steven, at least I can go with Steve and avoid the problem for the most part. Its hard enough being a kid without the added burden of living with your parent's ego driven bad name choice.

Eddie said...

I wonder if your last name was switched when your ancestors came to Ellis Island. Althaus means old house in German and it is odd that you would have the German word for the first part, Alt, and the English word for the second part, House.

Ann Althouse said...

Eddie: My Althouse ancestors came over before the Revolution, so there was no Ellis Island involved. But you are right that the original name was Althaus, German for old house. I believe the reason it was half anglicized is that people spelled "haus" the way they heard it in English, but would not have similarly gotten "Alt" wrong. I think I would prefer to have the name Oldhouse, however, because I like the concrete image and single language of origin. I think if my name were spelled Althaus, I'd be an entirely different person. It has a whole different feeling about it, one that I can't identify with at all.

Aaron said...

The more 'A's in a name the better - especially the first. Why is an odd spelling for a boy's name any worse than for a girl? I will say that 'i' is the worst vowel to sneak into girls name in terms of their healthy development - as and Candi, Brandi, Randi, or Sandi will tell you.

goldsoundsz said...

How about SanDeE* in the movie LA Story?

Re: i's in girls names: There is Condi although I suppose it's a nickname.

I don't like when my name is spelled Erick. Either the c or the k but not both...

aidan maconachy said...

I dunno - Geoarge Buash sounds sort of Euro and happening. Someone should call him.

Anna said...

I am forever being called Ann, though it is Anna. (old family name)

Gasp, I misspelled Katharine Hepburn's name in the movie goddess post. Alas, I must be banished!

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vbspurs said...

Or how about Ms. Barbra Streisand, who legally had an 'a' taken out of her name (woebetide anyone who forgets, apparently)?

When I did my pediatrics rotation, I didn't need to be told which colour the patient would be. I could tell by the names on the charts.

Shinequa, Shazanna, Antwone, Tphinney (a doozey!).

Oh and then there was Da'rth, with an appostrophe between the a, and r.

Parents have a lot to answer for.

Thank God both my great-great-grandmothers were called Victoria, and my nickname is Vicky -- an easy, clear, no-nonsense name.

I hate Vicki though, and I slap anyone who spells it Vickie.

Cheers,
Victoria

AJ Lynch said...

Reminds me someone who placed an "e" where an "i" should go and the spelling became celebate. In effect putting a whole new spin on no sex.

Ann Althouse said...

AJ: Thanks for the correction.

Ruth Anne: I often meet people who know someone by the name Althouse, though I've never met anyone with this name outside of my family. I look up the name in phone books when I travel and usually find one in the phonebook.

Eddie said...

Ann, you may be related to all those people you find in the phonebook. My last name is very unique and I have e-mailed people on line with the same last name. They have all been related to me. For example, one guy was my dad's cousin.

I like Althaus better, it has the Germanic feel to it. Of course, I have been to Germany twice and speak conversational German well, so I have a strong bias.

Bis Spater