Monday, August 31, 2009

Spell Hell

Yeah, this will come as no surprise to you: In the quest to give children "unique" names, parents often resort to unusual spellings of otherwise perfectly normal, perfectly respectable names. The end result: The kids will grow up having to spell out their name for everybody, for the rest of their lives. This is nobody's picnic, folks.

Often "creative" spellings look weird at best, outright stupid at worst. A "creative" spelling can cause the person reading the name to draw out an unfortunate syllable, stammer, or read the name in a completely jacked-up voice, just because the spelling is so damn odd.

Witness these creative names, from The Retread Ranger.

Orion has become a popular name for boys and, to a lesser degree, for girls in recent years. L approves. L is a science nerd, and stars are kickass. Constellations are even better. Orion is cool-sounding without sounding goofy-ass, effete, or frightening; and any Orion who doesn't enjoy being named after huge balls of gas has a built-in, perfectly respectful alternative: Ryan. Easy.

Easy, that is, until some mom decided Orion wasn't unique enough for her bundle of joy. Somebody named their kid O Ryan. Yeah. O isn't the first name. There's a legitimate middle name tagging along, and it's not Ryan. O Ryan is one word. Without an apostrophe. It made my head hurt when I read it.

Autumn is a lovely name for a girl. It's melodic. It rolls off the tongue. And who doesn't love the season of autumn? It's crisp, colorful, beautiful. Lovely, feminine associations. Autumn is a pretty name.

Until, that is, you decide to spell it Ahtum. And then you name your baby girl Ahtum. I defy you to read that name aloud without saying, "AHHHHH-tummmmmmmmm." You can't do it, can you? It's okay. I can't, either.

Cadence. I'm not a fan of this name, personally, but I don't outright hate it. I'm torn on it, really. I have a strong suspicion that most moms who pick it don't know what it means. They just like it because it sounds like those popular Aidan-rhyming names, but with a nice sibilant little flourish at the end. Cadence. Just name your kid Rhythm or Timbre or Pitch or Meter. I mean, you might as well. On the other hand, if you do know what it means, it can conjure up a nice image. Steadiness, perseverence. Almose like a virtue name, but it sounds a lot trendier than Patience or Flee-Fornication.

However, I am unambiguous about hating Kaedynce. Come on! You can't look at that name without mentally drawing out the "kae" at the beginning. It becomes KAAAYYYYYYYYY-diiince." It's awful. Sorry. It's terrible.

Dayton. Okay, I don't know why anybody would name their kid after a city in Ohio, and to be fair, I haven't seen Dayton used as a name. Yet.

But I've seen Dayten now, and boy does that make me want to pluck my eyeballs out. Dayten? Really? I hope you've installed a Fisher-Price My First Stripper Pole in the nursery.

I will admit that I lol'ed when the author of the linked web page called "Makayla" and all associated, unfortunate spellings "Left Over from the Nineties." Really. I'm so glad we're mostly over the Makayla trend now. Those were dark days.

Jasmine is a little froo-froo for my tastes, but at least it's spelled normally. Jazmon, on the other hand, sounds like Pikachu's arch rival.

Sienna. Being that G and I are the daughters of an artist, we really can't get behind naming your kids after a paint color. But especially when you pair Sienna with Skye. Sienna is an earth pigment, and depending on how it's prepared, it's either red-brown, or the color of baby poop. The sky, or the skye, should never, ever be sienna.

Olivia. It's toeing the line between glorious and too trendy, but no matter how you cut it up, Olivia is a great name. It's classy and classic. Winner.

Until you feel the need to get "creative" with its spelling, and you flog it from the classy original into Ahlyivia. Really? A Y and an I together?

And finally, the winners from Retread Ranger. A three-way tie:
Miranda Joan Ebeneeza. Was the Ebeneeza really necessary?
Qlowui Rose. I hope this is a respectable name in another language.
Aryan Justice. Just, no. Don't name your kid that.


  1. Okay, I have a lot of comments to this one! :) First: I went to high school with a guy named Dayton. He was like 6'6" and built like a linebacker, so NOBODY made fun of his name.

    My friend's housemate's daughter, Mikayleigh. Poor kid. Name was bigger than she was.

    Co-workers have children named Jazmyn and Amilya (Amelia, whose sister is Cadence).

    Such fun!

  2. I presume Qlowui's parents just couldn't spell Chloe (with a diaresis over the e if you're classy. but that would be Yooropeen).

  3. My fave is Jaime which isn't a Spanish boy's name at all but is Jamie spelt wrong. And usually it's a girl. 'But there's an e on the end' the little girl's mum says. There's an e on the end of my name to but you call me Clairy and I'll thump you.