Thursday, September 27, 2012

Your Favourite Letter

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Most people put a lot of thought into naming their children, or characters in a story. Amongst the lists of "rules" that many people have when choosing names, choosing a name for its first initial - and consequently how the initials of their given names will work with their surname - is a consideration for most people. Here are some of the most common factors people care about in relation to initials:
  • They don't want more than one person in the family to have the same first initial, to avoid confusion with mail, at school, on labelling etc
  • They don't want all of their children to have the same first initial so they can avoid "Duggar Style" naming. Or Kardashian style naming for that matter.
  • If the first two children have different initials, the third one can't have the same initial as the other two to avoid the one with the different initial feeling "left out"
  • Conversely, they prefer all children to have the same initial - either because the first two happen to have the same one and they don't want subsequent children to feel like the odd one out, or because they like the children to have a common bond (beyond belonging to the same family)
  • Perhaps the most important one - their initials must not spell out any undesirable words. i.e. Freddie Ulysses Kramer = not good.
However here's another thing worth considering - how would you feel if their first initial became their nickname? Some people deliberately choose first and second names to get a cute nickname, such as J.P. or D.J. On the other hand, others choose names specifically because they feel it doesn't have any usable nicknames. On first appearances, would you think Blair has any obvious nicknames? No? How about the character Blair on 'Gossip Girl'. Her best friend Serena calls her B, which further translates to her famous reputation as "Queen Bee".

This all crossed by mind the other day when dealing with someone at work who loves to use this method of nicknaming. Luckily my first name starts with B, which I think works well as a nickname. And I've heard him call a Helen "H", which I guess is OK. But I started to wonder when Felicity (Flick to most people) became "F". What do you think? Which letters work best for this style of nicknaming? And how would you feel about carefully choosing a name you love that seems to have no nicknames, only to have that name reduced to just a letter?


  1. Personally, I think V and T also work as nicknames like B, I think pretty much any letter that ends in -ee sound works. H, not so much, I feel like I am trying to spell something out when I say this.

    Good Post :)

  2. I agree with the -ee theory. Ay sounds also work, as seen by Jay and Kay in Men in Black. And then there's always Q from Bond.....

  3. My grandmother named all her children names beginning with J (with the exception of the eldest, who was named after my grandfather, Walter). So there's Janet (my mom), Jean, James... and Walter. I think it was some sort of deal between my grandmother and grandfather. That said, my half-sister also seems enamored by J-names, having named her first two sons Jackson and Jacob. The youngest she named Aidan. Go figure.

    I'm an only child, so I'm lucky, but since you mentioned B-names and I have one... My given name is Brianna, but I've always been called Bri. My dear (other) grandma's first and less-than-tactful remark when she heard was, "You're naming her after a CHEESE?!" I've never had anyone else make the connection, though, unless it was pointed out to them - and when I was old enough to know about the cheese I was convinced that they named it after me. A modest child I was not.