HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

What is in a Name?

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Names are a feature of everyday life that may easily be taken for granted. Unbeknownst to many names are actually symbols. But honestly, what is a name?? Names are terms we use to identify people, places, and things. In relation to people, names have the most value. My name is a symbol that represents who I am. My name is my quintessence. Not only is it the objective and/or subjective property of my being, but it is also both an intrinsic and central part of my very being. Through and through, our names define us.  My given name, or legal name, that I was ascribed at birth, distinguishes me just as much as it identifies me. Over and above that, names are symbols that we use to communicate meaning about what we value in our culture. My given name is a proper example of this fact. I was born into a Christian family and due to my family’s religious devotion it is no surprise that my name is of Biblical origin. Joshua in Hebrew means “Jehovah (God) is Salvation.” This situation is a result of one of the characteristics of verbal communication: that language is cultural. The phenomenon of naming only proves that language and cultures are, essentially, intertwined. As aforementioned, names are powerful symbols that are fundamental to all of us. It is often hard to change such a property of us that is both essential and static in our existence. The only instance that I can think of in which I would change (part of) my legal name is for the sake of marriage. In other words, I would only do so in the event that my spouse and I agreed on changing our legal surnames for sharing a different surname of our choice. In the event that my spouse and I cannot reach or find a surname that we both agree name, I also totally am amenable to hyphenating my surname. I hope to be a very liberal and down-to-earth spouse, so the matter of naming actually would not matter a huge deal to me. I believe that a crucial part of marriage is compromise. I am more than open to compromising my attitudes, values, and beliefs with those of my spouse for the sake of creating a happy and fulfilling future with her. Still, Nonetheless, my name is still important to me and who I am.

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