Monday, August 29, 2016

Freshman Names

Sometime around 2002, there were a whole bunch of mommies and daddies who dreamed up some really interesting names for their adorable little newborns. And a whole bunch of those little ones are now freshmen in my English classes!

I've been in education for 37 years now, and I can't remember ever being faced with a roster of names like those that greeted me at the start of this new school year. Many of them I wasn't even sure how to pronounce.

Biblical names are always popular, but this year there were some I'd never seen outside the pages of the Bible. I now know, for sure, how to pronounce Esau and Nehemiah. And then there are those British names you read in Agatha Christie novels but never actually hear in real life, like Cyril. I always thought it was SEER-uhl. Turns out it's SIR-uhl, at least at my student's house. And then there's Cipriano. Thank goodness he told me he likes to be called C.J.

In one class, both Zonte and Jonte were enrolled. No, not twins, not brothers, not even related. Other boys' names include Khijhel and Taliesin. Taliesin likes to be called "T." He said he was named after Frank Lloyd Wright's famous school of architecture, Taliesin West, here in Scottsdale, Arizona, but his parents chose an original pronunciation: tuh-LEE-she-uhn.

The girls' names, of course, are usually the most creative, and this year is no exception. We have Deiah, Noelia, Kwamie, Exianne, Chantea, and Exxianne. My spell-check does not recognize any of these names, and neither did I at the start of the year.

Once I retire and become a full-time writer, I just might be looking for some original names to give my characters. I think the ones I noted in this post might just have some possibilities!

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