"A mind once stretched by a new idea can never regain its original dimensions." ~Oliver Wendall Holmes

Current Weather Info

Current Sun and Moon Info

Sunday, March 16, 2008

What's in a name?

When I first got my student roster way back in August, I noticed right away that the names were different. They were unusual...to me. The names that I'm used to seeing on a student roster were not there...names like Black, Carpenter, Jones, Smith, Brown, Wilson, Evans, Johnson, Clark, Edwards, Davis, Miller, Sanders, Bidlack, Matthews, Myers, Baker, Martin, Hill, Childs, Good, Crawford, Adams, Gordon, Ricker, Frederick, Young, and Taylor. Now, I will say that if you look those names up in the phone book, you will find one or two listings. So, there are people here that have those names, just not very many. Not the usual number.

So...what names are common here then? Pete, Russell, Thomas, Andrew, Jacobs, Lewis, Tony, Moses, Oscar, Peter, Lindsey, Charlie, Paul, John, Jimmy, Nick, Jimmie, and Charles. Sound like first names, right? NOT! These are common last names. And, to beat that, many people have two first names, such as...Paul Paul, John Paul, Paul John, Charlie Lindsey, Thomas Jimmie, and so on....I actually had John Paul in one class and Paul John in another class at the beginning of the year....as if it's not already hard enough to learn all the students names. I'm not sure why so many people have first names for last names, but I imagine that it must have something to do with being settled by the Western missionaries and being given english names.
Other common last names that are more native in origins are Egoak, Yupakik, Angaiak, Waska, Nagasiak, Alexie, Kawagley, and Wassilie. Yup'ik language is very heavy on vowels and gutteral sounds. Even though these names are more native, they are still english names. Many Yup'ik people have an english name and a Yup'ik name. They get their Yup'ik name from a person who has passed on. The family of the deceased and the family of the person who is given the name become one.

1 comment:

Reese-E said...

Woa! That's so interesting! I bet it's really hard to keep up with all of those! John Paul and Paul John. Too weird!