I often think it's comical — Fal, lal, la!
How Nature always does contrive — Fal, lal, la!
That every boy and every gal
That’s born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative!
When racial minorities and the poor chose uncommon names, they were more likely to choose the former. When Democrats or liberals chose uncommon names, they were more likely to choose the latter.
In 2006, a team of biologists determined that each dophin develops a distinctive whistle pattern that other dolphins use to identify it. (News story; original paper.) Relatives and close group members respond strongly to an individual's whistled name, even when the sound pattern is produced by a synthesizer. Strangers, meanwhile, swim on and ignore it. The name also appears to encode metadata about the dolphin's identity, such as age and sex.
Now, a new study reveals that dolphins don't just recognize each other's identifying whistles, they call them out. A dolphin mother, for instance, may produce the whistle of her calf to attract his attention when they are separated. (News story; original paper.) That sounds like a name, alright.
Dolphin names get me all philosophical. If naming practices of other cultures can give us new perspectives on the nature of names, naming practices frrom a whole other order of mammals must demand a step back for some serious reflection. What does it mean to have a name? What are they for, and what do they tell us? Are human parents, sweating over the perfect name choice for a child yet to be born, engaged in an arbitrary rite of our culture or a profound and universal undertaking?
The breakthrough 2006 dolphin name finding was based on a population of wild dolphins. An earlier study of dolphins living in captivity had found no individual naming, just shared calls.
The broader issues surrounding animals in captivity are far beyond the scope of this site, but from a pure naming perspective this difference is thought-provoking. In the confines of an aquarium, you know everybody and you know exactly where they all are. Names may simply be unnecessary in that environment. In the larger, far-flung community of dolphins off the Florida coast, tracking identity becomes an important challenge.
Do we see the same patterns in people? Consider that surnames are a relatively recent addition to our human identification system. Before that extra layer of identification was added, given names had to carry the whole identification load. Yet given names were far less diverse back then. Around the year 1200, at the cusp of the surname age in England, the top 10 names for boys and girls accounted for two thirds of all babies born. So half the families you know have a William and Alice? No big deal, you know who everybody is in your tank...err, village.
Today, in the internet age, we talk about the "global village." Not surprisingly, name diversity is skyrocketing. The top 10 names for American boys and girls account for just one twelfth of babies.
girl names are more likely to contain “soft” sounds — like the L’s in “Lola,” the A in “Ella,”
How about this quote:When racial minorities and the poor chose uncommon names, they were more likely to choose the former. When Democrats or liberals chose uncommon names, they were more likely to choose the latter.I don't know if they intended it to read this way, but when you say "A does this, B is more likely to do that", you are implying a non-overlap between A and B.
My kids all have Klingon, consonanty names, which makes me a libertarian. PIPE DOWN T'KRACHKTOK!
Campos, Paul, Paul Ernsberger, Glenn Gaesser, J. Eric Oliver, and Abigail Saguy. 2005.“The Epidemiology of Overweight and Obesity: Public Health Crisis or Moral Panic?”
Oliver, J. Eric and Tali Mendelberg. 2000. “Reconsidering the Environmental Determinants of White Racial Attitudes,” American Journal of Political Science.
“The Price of Cooperation: Psychological Differences Amongst Players in Public Goods Games.” (with Chad Levinson).
“Putting the Political Back in Political Psychology: The Promise and Peril of Evolutionary Theory for Explaining Political Behavior.”
When you make two generalizations about two groups like that and you put them next to each other, it can come across to the reader like you think the two groups don't overlap.
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