Truly, what’s in a name? 

In Shakespeare’s play: Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene ii

Juliet said:

“What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.”

 

The dialogue between Juliet and Romeo conveyed a message that a name is but an artificial and meaningless convention.

 

Why did some people spend so much time in the naming convention of their babies?  So what’s in a name?  Does it mean anything? Is there any significance in the name you were given?  I have always thought of names just a bunch of symbols to help us identify one from the other. It is highly likely that you will come across several people with the same first name and even the same full name.  Do they represent the same person to you?    

 

I have been purchasing international airline tickets from a lady called “Julie” for some time.  She informed me recently that she had changed her name to “Vicky”.  So the “Julie” I knew is now “Vicky”.  I also know a few Taiwanese who change their names several times in a year because they grew tired of their existing names.  Will this then confuse you as to who they truly are?  My colleague once told me that the new hired had a different name prior to joining our company.  If so, does it matter?        

 

In the US, it is very easy to change your legal full name, not only the first name but also the last name.  You get that chance when you apply to be a US citizen.  You do not have to go through any complicated legal procedure or hire an attorney to do that. There is a field in the form asking you if you want to legally change your name.  All you have to do is to fill out the name you want to go by in the future.  Some of you might have wondered if I am related to the English family by blood, adoption or marriage.  Guess again. 

 

Changing names in the US is a very task.  Besides naturalization, the easiest way with no questions asked or a court order, you can change your last name when you get married.  You can change your last name to your spouse’s last name or to the combination of both yours and your spouse’s.  As long as it is not for fraudulent or other illegal purposes, you can also change your full legal name to anything else for any reason.  However, you may need to file some paperwork to the courthouse for institutions to accept your change.  In addition, you may need to announce your name change in a newspaper as legal notices. 

 

Again, what’s in a name?  To my brother, my name is “Sis”.  To my kids and my daughter’s friends, my name is “Mama”.  However, my daughter isn’t so keen on the idea that her friends call me “Mama”.   She can get pretty feisty and extremely loud and demanding when it comes to things that she thinks she possesses.  Oh, I can easily get sidetracked.  Anyway, to me, a name is just a way for us to refer to someone without adding too much description to the person.  Wouldn’t it be easier to just call my neighbor “Our neighbor, Joe” rather than calling him “Our neighbor who lives two houses down”, or “Our neighbor with a puppy Labrador retriever and two black dachshunds?” It doesn’t make any difference whether my neighbor is called “Joe” today and “Jim” tomorrow.  He is still my neighbor living two houses down, with a puppy Labrador retriever and two black dachshunds. 

 

  **版權所有 – Elisa English

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