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"Names, once they are in common use, quickly become mere sounds, their etymology being buried, like so many of the earth's marvels, beneath the dust of habit." That's what Salman Rushdie thought anyway. This is the first in a series called Full Name Please where we're going to look a little more closely at names - people's names, more specifically, with Amelia Nurse. In this first progamme, Joel Rosenthal, professor emeritus at the State University of New York at Stony Brook talks with Amelia Nurse about what names can tell us about the society they originated from. (13′01″)
Samuel Goldwyn once said, "Every Tom, Dick and Harry is called Arthur." Well that's clearly not true - especially if you're from China. In the second of the series Full Name Please, Amelia Nurse looks below the surface of the names of people we encounter every day. Naming protocols in places like Iceland and China are vastly different from mainstream New Zealand conventions. Amelia talks to Kristjana Gudmundsson about some amazing Icelandic names and Steven Young, president of the New Zealand Chinese Association about how naming is changing for Chinese in New Zealand. (12′47″)
"If you should have a boy, do not christen him John...'Tis a bad name and goes against a man. If my name had been Edmund I should have been more fortunate." John Keats is not the only one to feel this way. As a parent in Iranian culture, the most precious thing you can give a child is a good name. Maybe that's why Iranian women don't take their husband's names. Neither do Mongolian women, although that's about all these two cultures have in common when it comes to naming. Amelia Nurse talks to Nora Munhuu and Danaa Vandangombo, both of Victoria University of Wellington, about why most Mongolians suddenly have the same last name - and to Saeid Zahedi, Counsellor at the Iranian Embassy, about why names are increasingly important to Iranians. (13′00″)
"The name of a man is a numbing blow from which he never recovers." So said Marshall McLuhan. But you might recover if you change it! There are many reasons people might change their names, and Amelia Nurse tries to ferret out a few with Fiona and Ewan Lincoln who created a new last name when they got married, Shahram Aryan and Andy Thompson who changed their names to distance themselves from religious backgrounds they didn't share, to Roger Steele about pen names in New Zealand, and to Karen Trebilcock who uses a pen name. (12′44″)
Produced and presented by Amelia Nurse
Amelia Nurse looks below the surface of the names of people we encounter every day to consider what names can tell us about the society they originated from, the naming protocols in other cultures, where they come from and why we have two or more names?
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