The Name Game
I have a fascination for unusual names. This web page has nothing to do with the serious work on the rest of this website but is just a diversion, a bit of whimsy, if you will.
Guy Nick Allagee
Sarah N Dippity
Did you ever wonder where all the names ending in “son” came from? Well, before there were last names (they’ve only been around for 500 years or so), everybody just went by their first name. Then it became important to distinguish between John, James’ son and John John’s son. So you had names like John Johnson. Following this same logic John Johnson’s son John should be named John Johnson son. However, luckily, nobody followed this logic and they stopped at one “son.” One way to determine whether a first name was around 500 years ago or not is to determine whether there is a last name with a son attached. Obviously, the name “John” was around because there is a “Johnson.” There doesn’t seem to be any “Arthursons” or “Rogersons” so I would conclude that these names are newer. This is how we do “name archeology,” to coin a phrase. The following is a list of “son” names (non-exhaustive) and also first names don’t seem to have resulted in having “son” attached to them. Some Scandinavian names end in “dotter” to indicate that the lineage goes down the female line, but we won’t go into that.
Jeffrie’s son (Jefferson)
Harry’s son (Harrison)
The Case for “Ain’t”
The word “ain’t” has all but been eliminated from the English language. Why? Not because of legions of English teachers and grammarians who demonized the word, but because of myriad TV producers who banned it from television. However, looked at dispassionately and rationally, “ain’t” is a useful word, the banning of which has left a gap in the English language which no one has noticed but me, so I gather. It goes to show that people will take whatever arbitrary conventions are dispensed from above as Gospel, never questioning their arbitrariness or the fact that they are merely conventions.
Let’s conjugate the negative of the verb “to be.”
I am not
You are not
He, she or it is not
We are not
You (plural) are not
They are not
Now let’s do the same thing (Hey, conjugation is fun) with the contraction of the verb “to be” and “not.”
I am not
He, she or it isn’t
You (plural) aren’t
There you see there IS no contraction for “am not,” thanks to the aforementioned legions of English teachers and grammarians who have eliminated a perfectly good word with a perfectly reasonable function from the English language for totally arbitrary reasons.
“I ain’t” is the natural contraction for the verb “to be” in the first person singular. Ta Da. Every other person singular and plural has a contraction of “to be” and “not.” Why not the first person singular? It just doesn’t make any sense
Of course, ain’t could be used ungrammatically such as the vulgar “He ain’t,” “They ain’t,” “You ain’t” etc., but used correctly, it serves a very useful function.
Apologists for English teachers will say that, since there were so many people using “ain’t” incorrectly, it had to be eliminated altogether and not having a contraction for “am” and “not” is a small price to pay for getting rid of a plethora of vulgar English and blah, blah, blah. I say Phooey; this never stopped English teachers before. They would drill correct grammar into their students’ heads no matter how much of an arbitrary convention it represented.
Well, enough said, but, by the way, did you know that spelling is totally arbitrary as well. The guy who wrote the first dictionary, Samuel Johnson, in 1776, just decided arbitrarily how words were to be spelled and everybody has had to kow-tow to the dictionary ever since. “Night,” for instance, could just as well have been spelled “nite.” But this is another subject altogether, and I don’t have time to go into it right (rite) now. I ain’t gonna bite off more than I can chew.
The Naming Algorithm
There are many English names that follow a similar pattern: consonant, vowel, double consonant, vowel, double consonant. For instance, Bennett, Garrett, Doggett, Carroll, Farrell, Bissell etc. Most of these names seem to end in double t or double l.
Now since I’m an algorithmist, naturally, I want to apply this algorithm to all other letters of the alphabet to come up with hypothetical names that no one has ever thought of yet. Then maybe I could patent those names and sell them to people who were in search of a reasonable sounding but unique English name.
For instance, let us take the name Carroll and retain the double r and double l. Now we work our way down the alphabet as follows:
Barroll (Good name not in use)
Carroll (in use)
Darroll (in use as a first name with a slightly different spelling)
Erroll (OK, a beginning vowel doesn’t have to be doubled)
Farrell (Any old vowel between the double r and the double l will do)
Garroll (Good name not in use)
Harrell (in use)
Irroll (a variation of Erroll)
Jerroll (OK, an e or an a as the second letter will not change the pronunciation. This might make it as a first name)
Kerroll (alternative spelling of Carroll)
Larroll (too silly)
Marrell (not bad)
Oarrell (alternative spelling of Oral)
Parroll (very English sounding)
Quarrell (why not?)
Rorroll (a Chinese tongue-twister)
Sorrell (very pretty)
Uarroll (Steve Martin would like it)
Xarroll (would require a smart choice of first name)
Yarroll (not bad)
Zarroll (could work)
Now you can see we could do this more systematically going through every vowel for the second letter. The second vowel wouldn’t matter as much since any old vowel would be pronounced pretty much the same. Even a “y” would work as in Merryll Streep? Except her name ends in only one “l.” Too bad.
This gives you an idea how a naming algorithm would work.