So, what’s in name….
Words of course! And contrived meaning mostly…As you know humans are peculiar creatures…
They give meaning to things, based on whether they like them or not. Feelings drive the world, more often than not. Humans are funny beings. They even feign affection or affiliation.
Don’t ask me why. It’s just what humans do.
So yeah, names carry all sorts of meanings. People like christening things. They like making things up. Names are one of those things that are made up.
Have you ever thought why Elephant was named as such? Or Rhino was aptly christened Rhinoceros? Sounds more like Cicero, the Roman emperor… Or was he Greek? I forget. My history sucks! Never met the guy. Guess it doesn’t matter.
So here goes the theory. Me thinks must have had a lot to do with Adam and how he was feeling at that moment in time…. that’s why he saw something with a tall neck that looked like a joke and called it Giraffe. Remember there were too many Grapes in the Garden. I also imagine after a long day, he must have been really in a mood to call another Hippopotamus…. No wonder the fellow has such low self-esteem and hides in water most of the time and comes out only when no one is looking. Poor Hippo!
Then there is this thing called inspiration that does amazing things. A few days ago, fellow Timitude Writer, Ceejay send me a note. Squiggles, was the title. Totally loved the sound of the word even though didn’t know the exact meaning. As Ceejay explained later, the meaning conjured was around the art of scribbling on pen and paper. Aptly so, Squiggles was a collection of freshly penned poetic expressions sautéed in palatable nayyirah waheed sauce.
Totally, savoured them!
So yeah, thanks, Ceé…
I could live on Squiggles any day I’m a lover of words. Some more please…
So, what the deal with names then?
Names of places like Paris, Stuttgart, Czechoslovakia, Vladivostok, Johannesburg, Tora Bora or even Wollongong
Names of creatures like Lobster, Armadillo, Dik-dik, Octopus, Aardvark, Wombat
Names of people… need I point out the obvious? Ponder for a second the meaning of your name(s), even beyond how it sounds and what it conjures when someone reads it or hears it for the first time.
Certainly, many names sound pleasant, (there are exceptions of course) even though they might have completely different meanings than how they sound. Some names are certainly difficult to even pronounce! The meaning might be ‘angelic’ even though the choirs of heaven might struggle pronouncing it. As you can see it’s complicated. It’s not an easy subject. That’s why people adopt nicknames…. Others sounding even stranger than the original all in the name of fitting in or becoming cool.
I have heard of Popo, Commando, Saddam (my uncles friend, no kidding!!) and even a guy I met who preferred to be called ‘Glass’ even though his other names sounded better. He was a crass individual and guess serves him right he chose such a name as he behaved more like an ass in the way he treated people.
And that’s the other thing…. We first choose a name or so we think. Then over time this name takes over and we become that name. The name becomes us…. and thereafter we are intertwined and entangled and our identity engulfed in a word that is our name.
So yeah, names are not just words though made up.
We become those names, and the meanings associated. And just like an address, that defines us. Names become us.
So, what’s in a name?
As you have noticed much more really.
So, as you name. Be kind. Be gracious. Be gentle. Be naughty. Be nice. Be bold. Feel it. Declare it. Pronounce it. In whichever sense you do, remember in time what you name becomes the compass and barometer with which the world reads and presumes that thing, place, idea or person.
Also remember, that words are not just words. Words are creative forces in your arsenal, more so as an author. Use them to spice up the world. Certainly, we could do with more Squiggles – let your imagination run wild and have fun creating new words, words that might define the very world you have lived in.
Create beauty and magic with the power of words!
- Nkateko Masinga : Award Winning Poet, Talking Poetry as Medicine, Mandela Washington Fellow - October 8, 2020
- Raymond Mutura: Director, Organizations, Work and Family @Strathmore Business School - September 21, 2020
- Jacquiline on Philanthropy and Volunteerism in Africa and the mission at Voluculture and Podcast - September 13, 2020