Saturday, July 2, 2011

“Nicknames is short for Nicholas-names, right?”

As the second-years are studying the “(person) calls (person/thing) (name)” format, we are teaching them about nicknames. I’m sure you can already guess, the results are hilarious since English nicknames are nonsensical even to native speakers. I remember being hugely confused in the third grade by a teacher, first name of Margaret, referring to herself as Peggy. As Flight of the Conchords would say, “Why? Why? Why, exactly? What, why?”

We give them two lists – the nicknames from which they had to guess the full name, and vice versa. They answered creatively, to say the least:

Bob: Bobbob, Bobilion, Spongebob, Obobma, Bobson, Hairbob

Joe: Jojo, Johnnydepp, Joyful, George, John, Jousou (a train line)

Tom: Tomcruise, Tomato, Takara Tommy (a toy company)

Meg: Megawatt, Megmilk (obv. a milk company), Magazine

Giving them full names and asking them to guess the nicknames was only slightly more successful. I’ve always thought naming a child Elizabeth would be nice because she’d have so many nicknames to chose from – now I clearly need to do it so I can call her Zabe, or Izabet, the only nicknames that have not previously been derived.

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