05 September 2014

Australians, Poms and Poems

Sometimes, I have been called a "Pom" by people who are not particularly well-educated or informed.  Nor did I arrive in Australia as a Ten Pound Pom.  I am not descended from convicts.  Nor have I have ever been a "Prisoner of Mother England".

The fact is no-one really knows how the term POM came to mean English or even British.   Even so, it has been a well-known expression for many years, as an article from 1929 reveals.

Yet to say that I am a "Pom" is more revealing of the person using the term, especially as an indication of their prejudices, ignorance and lack of courtesy.  I am just as much of an Australian as anyone born here. Why do I know this?  Because when I read poetry about an Australian landscape, I know that I am part of that landscape.  When I read poetry about an English landscape, it rarely evokes a feeling of home.

27 August 2014

The Seriously Silly Name of Nominative Determinism

Academic words often make interesting subjects sound dull.  Nominative determinism itself sounds like a very serious subject.  Who would believe it is about something humorous?  I think it should be called Funnynameology.

Our given names are rarely a matter of our own choice.  I have never met anyone possessing the ability to choose their own name at or before birth or soon afterwards.  If you managed to tell your parents of your preferred name, prior to them putting something on your birth certificate, please let me know!

The funny subject of funny names is not usually referred to by most people by the mouthful of nominative determinism, but it is useful to know that term when doing a web search of the subject. If you do not yet know anything about it, then you might like to do a web search yourself for a few insights into the topic. 

Here are just a few links I found very quickly some time ago:

Wikipedia - Nominative determinism

Mental Floss - Nominative determinism

SciLogs - Nominative determinism

Crikey - Nominative determinism

BBC - Nominative determinism

London Evening Standard - Nominative determinism

09 April 2014

Inconsistent Names

Do you have a name that has been given to you but it is inconsistent with your current sense of identity?

When I lived and worked in London, I had a friend whose parents were originally from India.  My friend was even more English than me in her attitudes, speech and manners.  She had lived in the south of England all her life.  She had never been to India.  All her friends and work colleagues were of Anglo-Saxon origin.  All the activities and events we shared were very English indeed.

I now have an Italian surname.  I am not Italian.  My husband is not Italian.  He has been an Australian all his life.  Both his parents were born in Australia.  Our culture is mainly that of educated, socially aware, environmentally conscious, well-travelled, reasonably well-informed, English-speaking people.

If your name is inconsistent with your social identity, you may feel as if you are a blue rose even though everyone says you are a pink one!