If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Saturday, 7 August 2010

What's in a Name?

I'm sorry, and I shouldn't laugh, but check out the children's names in this story.

DeKendrix, Takeitha, JaMarcus, JaTavious, Litrelle, LaDairus and Latevin.

Where the hell did they get those, complete with InterCaps? What's wrong with proper names like Chardonnay and Kai-Lea and Be-Anca and Dwayne and Typhanee?

Or Dweezil and Moon Unit, come to that?

Good job they stuck with the merely bizarre, and didn't try anything historical.

(I'd be interested to know the legal grounds behind the removal of that child, by the way, given that there was no hint of abuse or neglect.)


  1. Terrible thing.

    Names in the first story are just traditional African, that's all.

  2. They don't sound traditional African to me. Here's 20 traditional African names, taken from the beginning of an alphabetical list:


    Phonetically, they are copmpletely different from the names in the story, and not an InterCap among them.

    And 15 minutes with Google brings up a handful of DeKendrixes, JaTaviouses etc. not connected with this story - and all from the mainland US. I doubt very much if these names have ever been heard in Africa.

  3. Try this:


  4. With respect, Jim, you are making my point for me. Those are not 'traditional African' names; they are African-American names. Big difference.

    I agree that the ones in your list are similar to the ones in the story (LaVonne, La'Wanda, De-Celle and so non), but all tbis proves is that African-American kids are given African-American names. The names amused me, yes, but I was curious as to where they came from. I don't think it's Africa, still. Many of them have a French feel to them (and I actually know a Frenchwoman called Monette).

  5. From my limited exposure to such things: you don't see African track-and-field athletes with these "made-up" combination names, but you do see quite a lot of American footballers with them. It's not exclusively limited to those of African-American origin, although that covers the majority, but seems more directly aligned to poverty in upbringing.
    Which sorta leads me to suspect there's a strong equivalence to the illiterate end of the chav underclass here in the UK involved.
    No snobbery intended, just an observation.

  6. Interesting observation about the two sports. I don't really know anything about either, but do I take it that track and field athletes tend to be middle-class and American football players working-class? In which case, your remarks make sense. There may be a direct equivalence between American parents choosing JaTavious and British parents going for things like Cortnee and Troy.

    Hmm. There's a PhD in this somewhere.

  7. Maybe there is a French, perhaps colonial influence in some of these names. Hermes Conrad's wife's name is LaBarbara. Jamaicans though, they are.

    Vey puzzling. My wife's brother-in-law has a ten year old sister called Jordan of course. Leicester chavs the lot of them. Hi Kathy.

    Sigh. I agree that we must be able to laugh at people's names, eh Dick, but then we would not wish to adopt the Swedish system either whereby we get arrested if we try a name that's not on the government list.

    I suppose I was getting uncharacteristically, I hope, censorious, given the sad circumstances. I nearly said tragic there - must shape up - a tragedy is something within yourself that defeats your noble intentions.

    Literary reminder is to self there folks - not to you pure dead sophisticated types.

    See - the perils of the internet - that looks like sarcasm. No such intention.

    Actually, I was just pissed.

  8. Ah yes (broods - stokes reverie) we don't have chavs in Glasgow. We have sex-differences in our low lifes for one thing. Not sex, just differences. That's how far ahead we are. As Bernard Shaw said, where would the English be without the Scots to think for them?

    You see, we incorporate diversity. Now that's modern. Ancient too though - how many Romans would you meet in ancient Rome? Damn few and they're a' deid.

    We don't have 'chavs', we have Neds and Sengas. Ned (male) = non-educated delinquent - Senga (female) is the modern way to call your 'daughter' 'Agnes'. An elderly ned is a jakey.

    Much of the terminology is explained here:


  9. I think the French/Colonial and possibly Jamaican connection is right. That fits with the phonology and general 'feel' of the names.

    We can, and should, laugh at people's names. I get called a dick all the time, but never Dick, curiously. Perhaps it's because there are too many Dicks in mhy wife's family. But I am proud of my Dick status.

    I'm glad someone else posts while pissed. It makes for some interesting discussions, especially the next day when minds are clearer. I have considered deleting this whole post, as on reflection it's a serious and sad story (not a tragedy, as you correctly point out, nor yet a 'tragedeeeee' as beloved by the Daily Mail) and not something to make fun of. I am sorry that the youngsters have died (although bathing in a fast-flowing river up to your waste when you can't swim is not the most sensible of behaviours, and I wouldn't want anyone to think I was making fun of that. But the names intrigued and amused me, and I thought it worth a post.

    I liked the Ned page. They would seem to be very much the same as our 'chavs', but with added Scottishness. Whether that's a good or bad thing, I'm not sure.


Comment is free, according to C P Scott, so go for it. Word verification is turned off for the time being. Play nicely.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...