Wednesday 29 May 2013

What Your Name Says About You, Part III

“Mister is a courtesy title, so shop and hospital staff should call me Mr Weybridge! Anything else is impolite!” Yes, Mr, Mrs, Miss and Ms are courtesy titles – that means they have no legal force, unlike aristocratic, military, legal, religious titles. It’s against the law to call yourself “Major Weybridge” or “the Rev Weybridge” unless you are a major or a minister. Lord Weybridge is the lord of his domain. It’s not about being polite. Manners change, and a democratic smiley friendliness is now the norm, thankfully. (Howard Weybridge will now have a conniption fit about the use of “thankfully”. “Who’s being thankful? It’s a dangling modifier!” He enjoys all this very much.) Wikipedia explains that courtesy titles began as titles for the younger sons of Dukes.

Posh Caroline Stow Crat fills us in: "To the Normans, a person called de Launay owned land in a place called Launay. So calling yourself 'de Snooks' in an attempt to look more posh only makes you look silly."

Middle-class Upwards like “old-fashioned” names – their grandparents’ generation. Working-class Definitelies like names with no history because they don’t know any. They call their daughters Madison and Tayla because they think it sounds pretty (it does).

Upwards never call their children Tulip – unless they’re Rowena. She may call her kids Brandi, Cullum and Kane as a gesture. Arkana called her kids Gandalf and River – but there were still five Gandalfs in the playgroup (run by a co-op whose members could never agree about anything and eventually split into three. All three parts failed after a few months.). Lower middle-class Teales used to call their daughters Heather, Sorrel, Fern and Bryony. Middle-aged Weybridges are Cherry. Sharon Definitely's gran is Rose. What are the flower names de nos jours?

At the risk of sounding snobbish, I… favour children who have good old-fashioned Victorian names such as George, Henry and Victoria. And, if a child has a name with a Latin or Greek derivation such as Ariadne or Helena, all the better. It indicates the parents are well educated. (Katie Hopkins, Daily Mail May 2013) She says her children know she likes them to befriend high achievers. And she’s worried about sounding snobbish? Read the whole ghastly farrago here.

Expect a notable absence of men called Derek, Roger or Nigel from the garden centres of Britain today. #UKIPConference (James O'Brien‏/@mrjamesob)

Part II here.

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