Duana Names: A Modest Proposal

December 10, 2013 17:46:19 Posted at December 10, 2013 17:46:19
Duana Posted by Duana
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And now for something decidedly different…

Hi Duana,
I have a suggestion for an old English name that really deserves to make a return. It's both quirky and classic at the same time and well, if things hadn't been 'shut down' a few years ago, I might name-nerd/obsess about using this as a child's name.  Are you ready? St. John, pronounced 'Sinjin'.
Do you love it? I think you love it. Can I be an honorary member of the name-nerd crew with this suggestion?
Please, please share St. John with parents who are looking for an interesting and rarely used name for their little ones.
Thanks! M

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When M sent this letter, I wrote back to her telling her about my grandmother’s side of the family – my mother’s mother. I didn’t know them as well as the Clancy side and so it never occurred to me to ask how you would spell the salt-of-the-earth last name “Singen”. Why would it?

Who would ever assume it was “St. John”?!?

Seriously. St. John. Except with the Irish lilt it’s “SAINT John” which, if you say it sixteen times fast while maybe having a pint in the bar after Mass and adding in every other stereotype of my people while you’re at it, sounds like Sinjin, eventually.  Maybe. Sort of.

Look, Lainey thinks I have a blind spot where Irish stuff is concerned, and I mean, by and large, I probably do. But I think this is one of those names where the sentiment is going to be lost in translation forever. Either it’s pronounced “Saint John”, in which case the Singens are either disinheriting you or snickering behind your back – or it’s pronounced “Singen”, in which case your poor kid doesn’t have a hope in hell of spelling his own name right before he’s eleven. I’m not one of the people who believes that a name with a difficult spelling is a cross to bear, necessarily, but how do you even go about this? 

“Yeah, it’s ‘Saint’. Well, it’s spelled ‘S-T’. No, I know that sounds like Stttt, but it’s Saint.”

“So my name is Saint John?”

“No, your name is Singen. Jesus, don’t be walking around telling people you’re a saint”.

You see why I think maybe we have to leave this one on the shelf?

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