December 01, 2007

From Alberto Leon C.:

Re: What’s in a name? Studies link initials to success (Nov. 14): Congratulations for your report. It´s very interesting and makes to think, but, sorry, seems your study results, are very local and partial, maybe just focused on a first sight-culture style and background. Also it is not very new in latin American countries. By centuries, there is an old creed in Spanish:” From noble origin it´s name comes...” There are some points that your issue doesn´t mention ( and very possible Drs. Nelson and Simmons already previewed). Anyhow I mention in honor to my hobby “to understand” the Semiotics of Cultures:

1. Meaning: In my personal thinking, all depends of what the culture guides you. “K” for latin persons does not mean nothing.

2. Background: In old Mexico (coimng from early XIX century), to utilize nomograms was well accepted for the poets and always was related to a “well public known” author, that was not needing to write his or her complete name to be recognized. To sign in that way was a “very high status situation” for the author. . . Even today it means “enough popularity”... Very often I receive mails like this: “DO this or that... Thanks. . B.” ... and the author hopes I understand it´s status, popularity or authority

3. Culture: I work for Japaneses, and the first name does not mean nothing for them. Many of them always skip it, or consider it´s not polite to call using it... The last name, is the truly important one if really is an important family name.

4. Education: Even more, in my country more than the name itself, is the way how a child is educated and guided in the life abouth his or her name, and such makes more influence on his or her appreciation of name. Truly! 5. Tradition I agree your explanation that name meaning guides, but not about the weigth and meaning itself. I can say so in a country where, 50% of men are called “Jose”, and 50% of women are “María” Some of them are proud of the name, because they feel some link with the family name or the valuable traditions that they learned related to their name (that includes an strong guidance through religion, and regionalty), and many others seem very embarrased to utilize it, because

they think it´s too common and unpersonal in their very competite world and activities, and it can jeopardize their status or the way they get relationship with others and their enviroment...

6. Utility Also all depends about how the name is pronunced along your life. Certainly I see you are right in the fact that name makes an image of you: But, additional to your idea, the persons make the name to mean in a way or other... My family name LEON, for many elders, including my parents, means “Tradition” (coming from old Iberic Spain), but for others is a comic way to be a big cat (lion) or for the Japaneses I work, it means “aggressive guy”... and not for many persons means what I want to show: An Chemist and Science and Astronomy hobbist. In other hand, I´d learned to pronunce my name in a more soft way ( Leeonnnn, using a soft nose noise), to make the persons to understand I´m not a though guy... and for my bankers, and bussiness customers I use to point a dry “Lion”, that means I´m sure what I negotiate. I mean, in my common life, I modify the name depending of circunstamces, not the name to me...

By the way, coming back to your explanation, yes, as a “noble cat”, first impression is I´m proud of my fear family name, but the other 50% of time, my human reaction is conviniently to modify it in a more “personal” way and need...

So, the semiotics esence of your study is very interesting but the meanings will always be in danger of change, depending of the person and circunstances...


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