Gee, Your Name Looks Funny!
A semi-autobiographical account of socio-onomastic and
ethno-linguistic issues around mixed ethnicity patronymics
by Jeanne Jónsdottir, Jón Giannakos, Gianna Jenstochter and Jens Jeanneson
Published 2009. Paperback, cdxliv + 17 pages. Price: 4449 krónur
This deeply personal and insightfully revelatory book recounts the personal and professional experiences of its four authors, who together represent four generations of a uniquely named mixed-ethnicity family.
“You Ain’t From Around Here”
Beginning with the clan patriarch, Jens Jeanneau, each generation has followed the same, unusual pattern: moving far from their native land, marrying exogamously, and adopting the current or historical patronymic naming conventions of their spouse, while choosing local forenames for their offspring. Each generation has faced unique challenges, ranging from difficulty teaching peers how to pronounce their name in preschool, to outright xenophobic hostility.
“We Shall Overcome”
And yet a member of each generation has succeeded despite all obstacles, to rise to superstardom in their respective fields of bio-linguistics, neuro-onomastics, psycho-ethnography, and nano-sociology. Now this multitalented, multi-ethnic, multifaceted, multi-generational academic dynasty has come together to address one of the most important name-related crises of our time.
“Write A Book, It Lasts Longer”
The extensive preface deals with the authors’ personal experiences and professional setbacks related to their unusual names. Moving details and insightful analysis reveal both the heart-breaking difficulties faced by each author and the subtle and not-so-subtle social and linguistic influences our names can exert on our lives. The main body of the book reviews the scant academic research in this area to date, while identifying potential new areas for important and profitable research in this up-and-coming field.
What The Critics Are Saying
- “I wept openly when reading of the cruel teasing Jón [Giannakos] received growing up in Iceland without an Icelandic surname. The triumphant life and success of his dottir more than makes up for that profound existential sadness.” —Umberto Echo
- “I was terrified that something truly horrifying would happen to each of the protagonist-authors. I was only mildly disappointed by their exceptional successes.” —Steve N. King
- “It’s no mystery to me why these scholars have done so well in their chosen fields, and in life. Some seek out greatness, others have greatness thrust upon them by their names.” —Agatha Rice-Christy
- “Moderately relevant to linguistics. Suitable for a remedial high-school–level course in linguoönomastics.” —Norm Chomsky