Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'm still relatively new to Utah. There's a lot that I could say about how different it is from the outside world, but I'm sure anyone who has come here from out-of-state can pick out those things (the "Utah tumor" hairstyle, abundant plastic surgery, etc). I've probably been assimilated enough into the culture that I don't notice some things I noticed when I first got here. But I've been here long enough to catch a few things that a short-term visitor might not notice. I'd just like to point out one:

In Utah, you can spell any name with any combination of letters.

I encountered this phenomenon when I was in a BYU student ward at a ward activity (must have been when I first moved here and didn't realize what student ward activities really were and stopped going). I had to write down the names of people in my group and one girl was named "Erica" or something so I wrote down E-R-I-C-A. Then in a snooty tone she corrected me and said, "NO, it's A-I-R-I-K-K-A." I thought maybe her parents were just hippies and her full name was "Airikka Treebranch Summer Fawn" or something and shrugged it off.

After meeting Aimmee, Errick, Kelie, Ashleigh, Kielee, Annali, Mikle, another Aymie, and seeing another Arikka on the 5 o'clock news it didn't take long to see the pattern. See here for a more in-depth expose, and to prove it's not just my imagination.

It almost seems like it's encouraged, like a competition maybe. Who can have the most original spelling?

I picture Relief Society after a new baby is born going something like this: "Ooohhh, how cute! What did you name her?" "Emily" "And how do you spell that?" "E-M-I-L-Y" "Oh, that's... nice. Where are you from again? I have a niece with the same name up in Bountiful, and they spell it E-Q-M-A-L-E-E-Y, but the Q is silent. Isn't that cute? There was already someone in the ward that didn't have the Q."

Or during the blessing: "...and the name by which this child shall be known... "Peter". That's P-I-E-T-E-R-R, not P-I-E-T-E-R like the Romneys. And we bless this child with the ability to make up original spellings for the names his own children..."

Maybe I could capitalize off this and create a database of the most common names and the least common spellings.

#8 Aaron

Alternate spellings: Aron, Aren, Arron, Arren, Aronn, Arenn, Arronn, Arrenn, Aaronn, Aarronn, Errin, Erron, Errinn, Erran, Erran, etc...

Then there is the whole idea of combining existing names, ideas, phrases, body parts, or chemicals to make up your own name, which is also common here, but I won't go into that today.


  1. Mike,

    You're a good writer . You made us laugh. Thanks for sharing your blog with us.

    Dad & Mom H

  2. I Knew we should have named you Meyekl....but your sister was the one born in Youtaw.....