NIckname or Proper name?

My husband and I were recently having a conversation about the merit of giving a child a proper name or a nickname as the official name on their birth certificate. I was telling my husband that a proper name would be better because then the shild has more options in what to go by, but my husband brought up an interesting point… “why can’t a child named [name]Charlie[/name] go by [name]Charles[/name] if he chooses?” I didn’t have an answer to that. Why do children given proper names get to go by nicknames if they choose, but a child given a nickname is “stuck” with the name that they are given? What are your thoughts?

Someone named [name]Charlie[/name] could go by [name]Mike[/name] if they wanted, it just doesn’t make much sense. People will generally call you by what you ask to be called, but I would find it strange if a [name]Kate[/name] asked to go by [name]Katherine[/name]- it just seems backwards. Plus, with a full name you can change diminutives- a [name]Margaret[/name] could go by [name]Mara[/name], [name]Greta[/name], [name]Rita[/name], [name]Maggie[/name], [name]Peggy[/name], [name]Meg[/name], [name]Mae[/name], [name]Maisie[/name], or [name]Daisy[/name], but It would be downright bizarre if a [name]Maggie[/name] decided to go by [name]Rita[/name].

Giving a child a full name means giving them options. I think its way better.

Plus, [name]Charles[/name] sounds so much more professional than [name]Charlie[/name], so better in a business setting.

by kaybee ” Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:31 am
Giving a child a full name means giving them options. I think its way better.

by kaybee ” Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:33 am
Plus, [name]Charles[/name] sounds so much more professional than [name]Charlie[/name], so better in a business setting.

This is the standard, requisite response… but you’re kind of missing the point of the question: why can someone named [name]Katherine[/name] choose to go by [name]Katie[/name], but someone named [name]Katie[/name] can’t choose to go by [name]Katherine[/name]?

[name]Truth[/name] is, they can, but it doesn’t really occur to anyone. All my life I’ve been asked, upon introducing myself, “is that short for anything, or are you “just” _________?” I suppose I could’ve chosen a lengthened version of my name, something my name could be a nickname for, to go by in formal situations… I just never felt the need.

This thread has given me something to think about, as my favorite boys’ name is a nickname whose full form I dislike. I’d resigned myself to using it even though I don’t like it, so I can get the nickname I want, but courtlett… you make a very interesting point.

Still, in the end I’d likely give the full version, just because there is a bit of an awkwardness to this kind of thing (and it’s not really worth trying to make a statement about it with my kid’s name). Now I feel a bit less convinced of that, though.

yellow, I’m glad this got you thinking, because it really was a thought provoking conversation for me. I had never thought about the fact that a child whose given name was a nickname had any choices in what to go by. After thinking about it for a while I guess I ended up with the reasoning why not?

My husband is so fond of his nickname that he uses it everywhere, on resumes, bank accounts, I think the only places you’ll find his given name are on his passport and our taxes. Outside of me, his family, and very few friends, nobody konws that his nickname isn’t his real name. So a person given the name [name]Charlie[/name] or [name]Kate[/name] could put [name]Charles[/name] or [name]Katherine[/name] on their resumes and business cards and very few people in their adult life would know their given name.

I was also informed that [name]Charles[/name] is actully just a nickname for Charlemagne that has been given “proper” name status. So what’s to say that names we consider nicknames today won’t, over time, be considered proper names?

My great grandmother Griet (Dutch/Frisian version of [name]Gretchen[/name]) always went by [name]Margaretha[/name] or [name]Marga[/name]. Actually now I think about it, more family members have a nickname name and go by something different, so for me it’s not that unusual.

I know a guy whose propper name is [name]Charlie[/name] but his friends call him [name]Charles[/name] as a nickname. It kind of makes sense because [name]Charles[/name] has less syllables than [name]Charlie[/name] :slight_smile:

This is an interesting thread OP! I’ve wondered about this before in the past. My hubby is one of those people who goes by a nn. It’s not even a nn for his fist name…lol. He’s goes by a nn for his middle name instead…lol.