Caro Stow-Crat speaking! I've just read some awfully good tips on dealing with people's names in the Times, by Sathnam Sanghera (or Satan Sinatra as some people call him). Here's the gist of what he said:
Never make a joke about someone’s name when you first meet them.
Never give someone a nickname without their permission.
Memorise the names of junior staff (and use them).
Make an effort with foreign names.
But not too much of an effort. If someone has Anglicised their name, don’t pronounce it as you think it should be said. And don’t be the only person still saying Marleen Dear-trick and Bob Geldorf.
It’s also rude (and unfunny after the first 50 times) to call George Osborne “Gideon”. It’s his first name, but he prefers his second name, George. It’s rude and unfunny to call Americans “Merkins”, too, though some people think it's hilarious.
Forcing your children to call an unrelated friend of the family "Aunty Mary" has gone out, thank goodness.
Strictly speaking, a "close" is an enclosed area around a cathedral, a "cross" is a market cross not a mall, and a house called “Something Lodge” is either a hunting lodge or the gate lodge to a big house. I cringe at "Whyteleafe" done in loopy wrought iron, but there are some genuine old houses with yyys: Tyntesfield, Compton Wynyates.
More about namesI have the feeling “vicar” is a bit naff, like “settee”. (HP)
You’re more likely to get a place at Oxbridge if your surname is of Norman origin (Pierrepoint, Somerville), latest research shows. (Times July 2014)
Latest survey results show Amelia, Oscar and Oliver overtaking Tyler and Madison. (Aug 2014)
Superannuated girls’ names, per styleblazer.com: Blanche, Myrtle, Ethel, Barbara, Mildred, Agatha, Phyllis (they think it’s a combination of Phil and Willis), Beatrice, Marge, Ruth, Gretchen, Gertrude, Martha, Opal, Rose, Eleanor, Marlene.
They’re all called Margaret or Jean around here. (Tim Wonnacott on Bargain Hunt)
Isabel has got to be the new Sharon, surely? (mumsnet)
A yougov poll shows which names are connected with which political party (May 2015)
Most likely to vote Tory: Charlotte, Fiona, Pauline
Labour: Michelle, June, Andy
LibDem: Tim, Kathryn, Samantha
UKIP: Jill, Nigel, Terry
Least likely to vote Tory: Sharon, Samantha, Clare
Lab: Nigel, Nick, Jonathan
LibDem: Lynne, Joan, June
UKIP: Tom, Rachel, Alex
Tom, Rachel and Alex shared a house in the 80s. They all had jobs in arts administration and ambitions to work in street theatre.
Eleanor, Peter, Simon, Anna, Katherine, Elizabeth, Richard, John and Stephen are likely to get into Oxford, while Stacey, Connor, Bradley, Reece, Danny, Kayleigh, Jade, Paige, Shannon and Shane have little chance. (bbc.co.uk, April 2014)
Pupils with names such as Kayleegh, Destiny, Haydon or Chantal tend to do less well at school as a result, while those with traditional names such as Laura or William do better. (Times 2014)
And Richard is more likely to get a job interview than Mohammed.
Comedian Arthur Marshall’s childhood friend imagined Jesus having children called Cynthia and Roland Christ. Upwards are never called Valmai, Maxine, Sheryl or Moira. Retro kids’ names have reached the Edwardian era, but maybe not to the point of Archibald or Gwladys.
More here, and links to the rest.