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Alethea & Athena
Clearing the air 
23rd-Aug-2015 07:25 pm
We just have a minor rant about that thing on Facebook everybody's posting that supposedly tells the origin of your name. The first time we saw it, the comment to go with it was something like, "I'll take it!", indicating the poster knew it was just a silly gag thing, but then people kept posting it like they thought it was real. Some people obviously got that it wasn't, but man. We thought about posting it ourselves and saying, "As linguists, we find this offensive." But mostly we were just consternated...wait, I looked that up and it indicates a more terrified version of confused. So mostly we were just puzzled.

It was like, "Wait, don't you guys just have baby name books lying around your house that you randomly browse?" We don't, but we did when we were kids. Our baby sister was born when we were seven, so it makes sense that we'd have one around. Athena just said, "We always did have dreams of writing stories, but I don't think that's why we looked at those books." Nope. It was just because we found it fascinating, so we guess we were just always destined to become linguists. So like, if somebody named Julie posted that Facebook thing, we'd be like, "Doesn't everybody just know that that's related to Julius Caesar's name, so obviously it's from Latin?" So I guess it was just a bit of a culture shock. In addition to just being fascinated with names, people have been asking about the origins of my name since I can remember, so it's strange and unusual to us that people would be grown adults and not already know what their first name means. But I guess we just need to check our educated privilege and move on.

So let's move on to the more important part of this post. This last week has been very busy activity-wise and emotion-wise, and one of the things that happened that I have yet to post about is that we confronted our arrogant friend about the comment he made about how he could probably translate better than we could. It took him a second to remember that he said that (which we expected, because he did almost seem to say it in passing), but then he confirmed that he was, in fact, joking. He seemed genuinely stunned that we took it seriously, and the only thing we can figure is that, since the exchange happened late at night, he was too tired to use the proper joking intonation and we were too tired to assume it was implied.

And when I type it all up like that, it sounds like, "Hello? He's obviously making excuses after the fact," but he did apologize, and go on to talk about why he's convinced we must be very good translators despite the fact that he's never read any of our translations (it's okay; most of our friends and family haven't (okay in the "I've resigned myself to it" sense)). So I thought it would be unfair of me, after coming onto LJ and destroying his image, to not come back and clear his name. Especially because he did say he was sorry, and it was sincere, and I cannot stress enough the importance of sincerely saying those words to someone.

So there you have it. It's just like Susan Roman said at Anime Expo 2014--talk things over with your friends, because usually they didn't mean to hurt you, and if they really care about you, you can clear it all up.

Today I'm thankful for getting some tasty chocolate muffins at Bread Day today, the choir performance going really well, clearing up misunderstandings with friends, fun with words, and the kids in Primary liking Singing Time today (which was sadly a little short because Sharing Time went a little long).
24th-Aug-2015 12:10 am (UTC)
I'm glad you were able to talk about the incident with your friend!! And I'm glad he was only joking (even though it wasn't a very nice joke): hopefully it works as a good reminder for him and all of us to think a little before we say things (of course that'll ruin a good snappy comeback, but...).

Oh, that name meme. I saw a couple posts last night on fb and a couple more today and then one (less gullible) friend posted it with a "name" made up of two words starting with b and s, and the results were admittedly pretty funny. I dunno, every once in a while the "your name in Chinese!" thing or the like goes around too, and that's probably not any more grounded in reality. The internet is full of lies, and full of people who don't realize it.

We had a baby name book around our house when I was younger too! My youngest brother was born when I was 4 but the book must've hung around several years longer, and then I got my hands on it and studied up. Not that I remember any of the names/meanings I pored over at the time except that I think it listed my name (Alyssa) as being of Teutonic origin. And then I got curious about the Teutons and looked them up in our giant antique dictionary, which usually led to more words and curiosities... Etymology (the real stuff) is cool.
24th-Aug-2015 07:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Yeah, it could make snappy comebacks difficult...if only people didn't take things so seriously. XD

Haha, yeah, we've seen the BS one, and we've seen variants using other words that shouldn't be used in polite society. We had a few friends who posted the "what your name means in Japanese" thing, and since we actually know Japanese, we thought about commenting with what their names really meant in Japanese, or what their names would be in Japanese, but it was always something that was too hard to figure out. It was a little disappointing.

Yes! I don't remember any of the names we looked up either, except that I remember looking up either James or Jacob and seeing that it meant supplanter. But the James/Jacob thing is a whole other rant. Etymology is the best! I tend to get bored when I looked up a word and it says "from the Old English..." and then it's just the same word spelled funny, but when you start learning other languages and seeing what words are similar, it gets fun again.
24th-Aug-2015 07:43 pm (UTC)
Aaaaah so just a few minutes ago a friend who should know better (I say so because she's our age, unlike my grandma and older people from church who were posting it before) posted the "origin" of her name and commented, "[mom], did you know?" and so I had to say something. I tried to not make it condescending or know-it-all-ish though.

Oh, what's the James/Jacob thing? Is it related to Iago? I think we talked about it before but I don't remember what would make it rant-worthy...
24th-Aug-2015 09:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, goodness.

Yes, it is related to Iago! We did talk about it before, but it was a long time ago. We have a certain friend who read the Bible in German and found out that in the German version, the Epistle of James is the Epistle of Jacob (only in German), and decided that there was no such person as James in the Bible, and the only reason the name James exists in the New Testament is that King James commissioned the version of the Bible we're all familiar with. We tried to explain to him that James was just the English version of the name Jacob and he wouldn't buy it until after a more heated discussion of the matter he decided to look it up for himself. He decided we're both right: James may be an English version of Jacob, but why not use Jacob unless the head honcho says otherwise?

There's really not much point in arguing the matter any further, but sometimes it still bothers me, so recently I looked up the two English versions of the Bible that came before KJV, and lo and behold, they both used James (or Iames) before King James was old enough to care (the one right before KJV was translated when he was two years old).
24th-Aug-2015 02:03 am (UTC)
I'm glad you got the thing cleared up with your friend, and that he was joking, and that he apologized sincerely. I do believe that sometimes people just shoot off a smart-mouthed remark that they don't mean at all, or don't mean truthfully, so I don't see that as back-pedaling on his part. And yeah, a sincere apology goes a long way, IMO.

Ramble ahead: I remember looking up the meaning of my name when I was old enough to read. It always was a bit frustrating to me because my name is spelled "Gale", and it is generally listed as a masculine name meaning "jovial"; however, as a feminine name, it was said to be a short form of "Abigail" (which I actually like better, and that used to irritate me, too - "Why couldn't they have named me that?" - *laughs* - which means "father is rejoicing". I did kind of like that, because (when I mentioned it) my father always said he was very joyful when I was born. :) :)

My daughter's name is Katie, which means "pure". It is, of course, the short form of Katherine, which we liked a lot; but we were afraid that she would be called "Kathy", which we're not all that fond of. So Katie it is, and it's probably a pain to her because people are always asking if that's her real name or a nickname. The other annoying thing is that, before I had her, I didn't know one single person who was called "Katie". Not ONE. Lots of Kathys, though. But, by the time she was old enough to go to school, there was a plethora of Katies, just as there had been a lot of Gales, and Gails, and Gayles when I was growing up. If I was to do it again, I would have named her something more unique (like your names), but she likes it well enough, I guess. ;)

What are the meanings of your names?

Edited at 2015-08-24 05:07 am (UTC)
24th-Aug-2015 07:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your support! We've found that usually only the best people will actually say the words "I'm sorry" (in a sincere tone, without adding "but..."), so we definitely appreciated it.

That's such a nice story about your name! It gives me warm fuzzies.

I think it's just a fact of life that people are going to have to constantly answer the same question about some aspect of their identity (as I'm sure you're aware, we always get the, "Are you twins" question). It bothers us when people write up lists about what not to ask people and they're innocuous questions. We're like, "People don't know. Calm down and be nice. Use it to mess with their heads."

You probably know that Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom. Alethea is also Greek, and means truth. The story is, since our older sister was named Aurora (light, dawn) after Sleeping Beauty, and Mom saw the name Athena on a store clerk's nametag, she told our egghead family that she was going to name her next daughter Athena, and one of our egghead relatives said, "Well you can't have light and wisdom without truth, so you have to have another girl and name her Alethea."
24th-Aug-2015 10:45 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you were able to talk to your friend and clear the air there. *hugs*
25th-Aug-2015 07:47 pm (UTC)
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