Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Rose By Any Other Name

I'm filling in for Jacqueline, and also on a blog tour at the moment, as mentioned in my regular (Sunday) blog.

Yesterday, Linnea talked about ultra long distance courtships, where most of the sensory cues are missing. You can't see the guy, you can't smell his pheromones (which is important), you can't hear his voice.

By the way, some actors have the most wonderfully attractive voices, IMHO. Anthony Hopkins. The late James Mason. Clint Eastwood. James Earl Jones.

Who might you fancy if their voice was all you had to go on?

Anyway, I was thinking about Linnea's blog while doing my morning-after blog-tour thing. Readers are offered prizes for the most interesting question, comment, or discussion starter.

A thread about my guilty pleasures evolved into a discussion of what Darth Vader's name meant, which turned to the pronunciation of foreign names, and whether or not Vader means father.

Having lived in Germany, I know perfectly well what father is in German. Vater. And I know how it is pronounced. Which brings me, with streaming eyes, to the thought that a person's name would be much more important than it is now.

How much respect or terror would Darth Varter command?

Would all the son-of surnames (Johnson, Masterson etc) be useful?

On Mars, it might be rather silly to have a name that makes one homesick for the green valleys, hills, and vistas of Earth: Belmont, Beaumont, Green... or of the trades ones ancestors handed down from father to son: Farmer, Baker, Mason, Fishmonger.

Flattering descriptive names might be quite effective: Richman, Handsome, Strongback, Goodmind, maybe even Goodnight.

Possibly, in a future world, we'd all use one of those ethnic descriptions that we see on the occasional census. In that case, my great grand-daughter's last name might be Caucasian.

Are names important to Americans? Given that two suitors were equally good looking (in their different ways), equally intelligent, equally good-tempered and humorous, and both shared ones interests, might a girl be swayed in her choice by which name would sound better as her married last name?

Is it taboo to wonder whether girls could really be that superficial?


  1. Since I'm a wretched speller as a child I was always anxious that when I grew up I would fall in love with someone who's name I couldn't spell. I got one with a fairly easy name, but ended up keeping my name when I married.

    I may use his as a pen name some day. I was told not too long ago (by someone I think may be an idiot) that Fitzpatrick was "too ethnic" for anything but a Romance or Fantasy writer.

    Go figure.

    I think we are going to see more and more people who have "ethnic" names that do not fit their faces. You already see that in the US and I think it will become more common world wide.

  2. mfitz

    It is my understanding that Fitz mean that the first person by that name is the illegitimate offspring of someone important and powerful.

    Fitzroy, for instance, means King's bastard.(roi, roy).

    Best wishes,

  3. I think, and I'm not 100% sure on this, that Fitzpatrick is the only Fitz prefix prefix name that does not apply to. It comes from the forced Englishization of landholders names when Ireland was under English rule in the mid 1500's. It is the Norman English verson of a Irish name used by decendets of one of the kings of Leinster who aroud 1000 AD changed his name to Mac Giolla Phádraig which meant "the devoted son of St. Patrick".

  4. "Who might you fancy if their voice was all you had to go on?"

    I heard a radio interview of Fred LeBlanc from the band Cowboy Mouth, and I totally fancy him now.

  5. Actors' voices: Christopher Lee is my favorite, and I think I would still adore his voice even if I hadn't first heard it in the persona of Dracula. It's so resonant! He's one of the few actors I can immediately recognize by voice (possibly the only one that always applies to). Darth Vader's entrance in the first Star Wars movie blew me away, and when he spoke his first line, the impression was doubled. That actor's speech pattern is a turn-on even in phone company ads.

  6. I forgot to mention Jeremy Irons as Scar in the Lion King. Now there's voice talent!

  7. I was reading the Babylon A.D. post at The Galaxy Express. How could I have forgotten the sexy voice of Vin Diesel?