Archive for March, 2005

Mar 06 2005

The Language of Names

Published by under Books

Subtitle: What we call ourselves and why it matters.
by Justin Kaplan and Anne Bernays

The book travels back and forth between the positions that names are just arbitrary labels which are only notional and can be changed at will and that names are meaningful to their “owners” and to the people that hear them. Name do or do not convey the essence of a person. On balance the authors seem to want names to be meaningful, but they cover the field on assessments of names. I’m not convinced names are inherently more than labels, but these labels do become covered in history which then makes the name seem like a part of the person.

The book is full of information on names in various situations and uses and is an informative easy read. I really liked the first few chapters, but it gradually got somewhat repetitious and a little tedious. Lots of interesting trivia and anecdotes related to people and their names, but a little too much of that for my taste.

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