Wednesday, April 11, 2018

J is for J #AtoZchallenge

#atozchallenge J letter

"Don't assume that a single letter name is an initial. People do have names that are one letter long." -

Hi from J, 2018 A to Z team captain, debut author interviewer at Operation Awesome, Speculative Fiction writer, blogger, Lenni-Lenape indigenous person, and someone with an unusual name.


Names are tricky monsters. People tend to take it personally when you call them by the wrong name. Interestingly, this applies even to people who haven't chosen their own name. In some cultures, parents select the name for their offspring. Sometimes this even takes place before the person is born! (If that didn't shock you it's because you live in a culture where that's normal.)

Some people do not have the same name their entire life. There's a childhood name, which is generally just a reference to parentage and birth order. At some point, the person distinguishes themselves in some manner and earns a new name. (This is not the same as a nickname.) Occasionally you'll even find cultures that offer a third naming opportunity in the elder stage of life. Religions sometimes add a name in the middle. There are also several cultures where a person retains their given (first) name but changes their surname (last name) after getting married. In some languages, the surname is first and the given name is second.

Around the world, there are cultures where names come from a "name giver" via divine messages. These names are often sacred and not shared with outsiders. Thus, a second name is generally chosen as a means of reference for outsiders.

I'm J. Just J. It was early in my life when I found myself surrounded by outsiders who demanded to know my name. The Name Giver hadn't visited me yet, so I didn't have one to offer. (And couldn't share that one anyway, as I can only share it with one other person.) I didn't know that people sometimes spelled J with a superfluous "ay" tacked on. I didn't understand the questions that resulted in my second, or middle, name (which I chose based on my tribe, and is NOT an indicator of gender). It's also fine to call me by last name (something I discovered people did when I ran cross country).

I love learning about names.

From where did you get your name? 
Do you know anyone else who received their name in a manner different from the one used by your culture?
Does your name indicate your gender and, if so, how do people of other cultures know this? 

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Anonymous said...

hello everyone! :)

Pradeep Nair said...

Hello ... I just posted "Judge me, but judge me right"

Cathy Kennedy said...

Howdy J! My baby brother was given first and middle names. For some reason my folks decided to the initials of both to refer to him as JC. Sometimes, we called him just J but mostly JC. It always bothered me to no end when someone spelled his name Jaycee. His wife that he had at the time of his death spelled it like that which drove me nuts. Did she not care enough to spell his name the way he spelled it all of his life? Or, was she just that ignorant? *smack forehead* Then there's my name 'Cathy'. Everyone wants to spell it with a 'K'. Alright I get that, it's the most common spelling for my name but my grandmother until the day see died which was in 2012 spelled my name with a 'K'. No one else in the family did except her. I always cut her some slack because she's my grandma after all and that's what a good granddaughter does, right? The weirdest thing happened this past Christmas. We got return greetings from some of my uncles and their wives and guess how they spelled my name? Yep, they used a 'K'. First off I signed our cards and both of our names was on the return, still they spelled it wrong. Was this by design or an innocent mistake? I have no idea but I had to laugh at it. Oh well... I just thought I'd share my experience with names. Thanks for sharing yours and happy A2Zing. :)

~Curious as a Cathy
A2Z iPad Art Sketches 'Jars & Jelly'

KatyTrailCreations said...

Joseph's Coat and 'Just a Smidge' for my Letter J entry

KatyTrailCreations said...

It didn't look like this when I first wrote it, sorry.

Kelsey Ketch said...

Hi J! Thanks for inviting me to join the challenge, BTW. :) Kelsey is my pen name, but my real name was picked because it was tradional and rare--and not in the family. It also is not gender specific, but there is a slight difference between the male and female spellings no one realizes.

Jayashree Srivatsan said..."

Charan Deep Singh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charan Deep Singh said...

Today's post from letter J is about demerits of Jugaad (quick-fix) in India.

Jugaad we don't need

Kat Seaholm said...

My mother loves all things Irish, so my brothers and I all have Irish names. However, I am very proud of the fact that my middle name is the same as my mom's middle name and my maternal grandmother's middle name. There's something to be said about the power of heritage and tradition. I love learning about names, great post, thanks!

Carrie-Anne said...

My real first and middle name came from the D.H. Lawrence novel The Rainbow. I've never liked my real first name, and used to go by my middle name, Ursula. My real first name is the most overused female name in history after only Mary, and even Mary seems like an original choice these days.

Anonymous said...


diedre Knight said...

Hi J!

My grandma named me. I've no idea why or how or where she came up with the spelling. I've never minded the name - except when someone unfamiliar with the name tries to say it ;-)
I do think names are intriguing as you carry them forever and tend to sense yourself as such.
I'm glad you came by today. I'll figure this technical (linking) stuff out sooner or later.

Emily in Ecuador said...

Love your name, J! I occasionally have difficulty in Ecuador because I have only one last name. Here, they typically have two first names and two last names. Instead of four names, only three are listed for me. People do not know if I have only one first name or only one last.

My parents chose my first name after I was born because (a) they liked it and (b) they knew of no other infants named Emily. It did not become a popular name for another 20 years. My middle name is the same as my maternal grandmother's middle name. I changed my last name to the same as my husband when we married, which is common in the United States.

Also, I went to school with a guy with only the letter E as his middle name. He had difficulty applying for some colleges because they told him he could not just use an initial.

Emily In Ecuador | Javico, A Puerto Lopez Grocery Store

Roland Clarke said...

My mother chose my name from the French chivalry hero of Chanson du Roland and from an uncle called Roland.

Lady In Read said...

i have three names - one used officially and what many people know me by; another my nick name; and the third the name of a goddess given to me by my paternal grandpa, and he was one of the two people who called me by that name.. this is excluding the pen name i use to comment and name my blog.. my post for j thru l - #blogboost day 11,12,13 book -

Gonz said...

"Immovable objects and unstoppable forces don't exist in universes ruled by a single ruler." Here is my entry for J: "J is for Juggernaut", in which I tell you about this challenging monster within the D&D game.