Posted by Neal on October 20, 2009
A couple of posts on baby names. First, here are David Crystal’s thoughts on on when and why books about babies (and, I might add, advertising copy and articles in some magazines) refer to your baby as Baby, as if it were a proper name.
The other post on baby names is actually three posts, but it’s well worth reading them all. Laura Wattenberg of The Baby Name Wizard starts with a tiresome email I’ve received a few times, about a child supposedly named Le-a. It’s pronounced Ledasha, because “the dash don’t be silent.” From there she gives a really enlightening and well-researched argument on how this and other urban-legend names (you know them: Orangello and Lemonjelo, Eczema, etc.) are a covert, or sometimes not so covert, way of talking about race.
Hat tip to Ben Zimmer for the Wattenberg pieces. Ben himself authored this next article: A Word Routes post on the expanding set of un-verbs. Follow link there to the related article he wrote while subbing for William Safire. Below that article is a note saying that Safire would be away “for a few weeks.” Little did I know…