Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Name Game continues

There are certain things that you simply shouldn't do to your children. Giving them a fork and telling them to go play with Mr. Power Socket is pretty high on the list, as is telling them that paint chips taste better with real butter. And, as we've discussed here before, naming them completely off-the-wall names really needs to be on that list. After all, there was the couple that fought to name their son "4real" before settling on "Superman". There are all of the celebrities that decide that they want to name their kids something really weird (prime evidence comes from the Zappa family, with Moon Unit, Dweezil, Diva Muffin and Ahmet).

And then there are the people who want to name their children a symbol. Of course, this particular story comes out of China, where thousands of characters stand in the place of the Western alphabet, so choosing a symbol might not seem so weird. Unfortunately, when the symbol chosen is "@", it gets filed right into the bizarre category.

Yes, you read that correctly. A Chinese couple applied to name their child "@", largely because the pronunciation by Chinese speakers sounds very similar to a Mandarin phrase meaning "love him". Of course, the more common usage for the symbol was known to the parents, who didn't merely think they were being clever with their usage of an "a" with a wraparound tail.

This all comes during a time when the Chinese are trying to change their naming conventions, complaining about the outdated and ancient symbols used to represent many names. The government recently issued new rules (one of which, oddly enough, would have put the whole "4real" debate to rest right away), but there is still some resistence.

Interestingly enough, no indication was given whether young "@" will be keeping his name, or if he'll be given a new moniker. If a name change is necessary, might we suggest avoiding things like "$", "&", and "*", and maybe even shy away from things like "Kal-El" (Nic Cage's son), "Peaches Honeyblossom" (Bob Geldof's daughter), or, for obvious reasons, "Suri". Oh, and definitely shy away from any name Chris Tucker could make jokes about, which means include at least two syllables. We'd suggest "Moxie Crimefighter", but that's already taken.

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