Archive for Names

How to pronounce Finnish Moomin names

A video about how to pronounce the original Finnish names of many of the Moomin characters. (12-min video, from August, 2022; from @KatChatsFinnish, a channel intended as a resource for English speakers who are learning Finnish.) If I understood right, the person who made the video doesn’t know some of the characters’ English names; at […]

A girl named Jed

I’ve known maybe six or eight other people named Jed in my life, but all of them have been (as far as I know) male. Today I learned that Jed can also be a woman’s name. In 1993, a John le Carré novel called The Night Manager included a woman named Jed—a nickname for Jemima. […]


Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos is a book, published around 1825, containing a paragraph for each letter of the alphabet; each entry adds something new at the start and then repeats everything that came before. The book described itself as a game, in which players were to quickly read entries aloud, without stumbling. Some of the entries included long […]

Double garden path

Turns out that although I mentioned garden-path sentences once here in passing, I’ve never really written about them. A garden-path sentence is one that initially leads the reader to parse it in one way, but turns out to be structured differently than it appeared to be. The usual example, and the first example I encountered, […]

Some spaceship names

I feel like in science fiction lately, there’s been an occasional tendency (though with many exceptions) for authors to adopt the style of Iain M. Banks in naming their fictional spaceships. Before Banks came along, I feel like fictional spaceship names tended to be one or two words (of course, many of these names were […]

Punny names revisited

Way back in column n, I linked to my uncle Dobe Doinat’s Punny Names archive. That particular page that I linked to is gone, but Dobe has more recently created the Punny Name Archive (NSFW), a wiki that currently lists about 200 names. If you like names like Alice Well, Justin Case, or Robin Banks, […]

Swaziland renamed to Kingdom of eSwatini

According to the BBC: King Mswati III of Swaziland announced on Wednesday that he was renaming the country "the Kingdom of eSwatini". […] The new name, eSwatini, means "land of the Swazis". The change was unexpected, but King Mswati has been referring to Swaziland for years as eSwatini. I think there are all sorts of […]