19 January 2012

Ollie Ollie Ollie, oy oy oy


Have a picture of Oliver, half-awake. It's the best picture I've ever taken of one of my cats.

18 January 2012

What's in a name?


This is Darron Gibson, a Republic of Ireland footballer who has just moved from Manchester United to Everton. Good player. And I'm sure he's a nice young man too.

I have a bugbear about his name though. And I know Darron is an Irish take on Darren, along with Darin, Darryn and even Dara, but I'm going to be unreasonable about it. Darron doesn't look right at all. He should be called Darren. Of all the aforementioned versions of the name, only Darren doesn't currently have a dotted red-line underneath it courtesy of Blogger's spellchecker. That's good enough for me. Google and its sister companies are never wrong.

A mate of mine has a daughter who should be called Hayley, but is in fact named Haley. The first 'y' is, apparently, entirely unnecessary. The male half of Ashford & Simpson was called Nickolas, not Nicholas. Conversely, the female equivalent of Nicholas doesn't look right if you leave the 'h' in - that smacks too much of being desperate for a boy to call Nicholas and being disappointed upon delivery of a girl. When I was a swimmer, there was a girl at the same club called Joann, whose name on a competition starting list would always be spelled incorrectly as a result. Or correctly, if you prefer.

There are names where different spellings are seen as the 'norm', of course. Our own beloved Clair could have been a Clare or a Claire, and each would have been as worthy as the next (though Blogger only underlines Clair - gulp). Graham and Graeme, Philip and Phillip, Brian and Bryan, Rachael and Rachel, Deborah and Debra. A girl I was briefly at school with is called Kathrine. Now that's some serious choice in spelling - not only choosing the 'k' option, but also removing the first 'e'. Do parents really think so much about this? With that name, there could have been the use of 'y' too. Catherine, Katherine, Cathryn, Kathryn, Kathrine, Cathrine (presumably), and the list could potentially continue.

Now, of all the names in the above paragraph, which do you think don't meet with Blogger's approval? Well, aside from Clair, it doesn't like Phillip. It also, oddly, disapproves of both Rachael and Rachel, and therefore assumes the name has never existed (incurring the wrath of Jacob immediately, he's probably shifted his Flight And Dream blog to Wordpress in protest). For the former version it suggests Raphael; for the latter, quite brilliantly, it thinks I meant to write Earache. Needless to say, it dislikes all of the options at the end which aren't Catherine or Katherine.

I'm trying to think of the most far-out spelling of a supposedly normal name I've ever seen, and it's probably Timothee, though there may be a cultural reason to do with Africa attached to that. My brother is called Jon. People assume it's spelled John and are surprised when he corrects them. The truth of that is, as I expect is the case with most Jons (including this one?), that he is actually a Jonathan and finds the name too long and clumsy. Dennis Bergkamp, the fine Dutch footballer, was named after Denis Law but the Netherlands only recognised the name with two 'n's in and so his parents had to conform by law.

My own name, for what it's worth, is forever misspelled Mathew (which, gratifyingly, has a red line under it) by people - I've never seen a namesake of mine spell their name with one 't' - though there is the Matthieu alternative, which again I've never seen and Blogger doesn't appear to like.