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  1. #1
    GeneD is offline Senior Member
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    producing proper names from verbs

    We were shocked to discover that someone had graffitied “Tootles was here” on our front door. We were relieved that Tootles had used washable paint.

    I looked up the word "tootle" in one or two dictionaries and found that this is a verb. Do you often produce proper names from verbs?

  2. #2
    J&K Tutoring Guest

    Re: producing proper names from verbs

    No, and I might argue that "Tootles" is not a proper name. It's more of a nickname.

  3. #3
    GeneD is offline Senior Member
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    Re: producing proper names from verbs

    Quote Originally Posted by J&K Tutoring View Post
    No, and I might argue that "Tootles" is not a proper name. It's more of a nickname.
    I thought nicknames fall into the category of proper names. At least, they have a similar (if not the same) meaning, don't they?

  4. #4
    J&K Tutoring Guest

    Re: producing proper names from verbs

    Hmmm, What is the meaning of a "proper name"? To me, it would be the legal name parents give their new-born baby on its birth certificate. How would you feel if your parents had said to the hospital person filling in the forms, "His name is Tootles." Perhaps a better question would be, 'What would you consider an improper name?'

    I work a few hours each week at a Chinese kindergarten, and each student is supposed to have an English name. Among the 'names' that parents have given their children are: Rain, Rainy, Peas, Seven, and Kaka. Would you consider these names 'proper'?

  5. #5
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: producing proper names from verbs

    The second President Bush fondly referred to one of his top advisors as Turd Blossom. This is clearly a proper noun but the esteemed* Mr. Rove may not have found the name very proper.

    *Relatively speaking.
    I am not a teacher.

  6. #6
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    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Re: producing proper names from verbs

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneD View Post
    We were shocked to discover that someone had graffitied “Tootles was here” on our front door.
    I'm more surprised that no one has taken exception to the "verbification" of "graffiti."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  7. #7
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: producing proper names from verbs

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I'm more surprised that no one has taken exception to the "verbification" of "graffiti."
    I rather liked it. Graffitoed​ would be truer to the Italian root but it would be harder to understand.
    I am not a teacher.

  8. #8
    GeneD is offline Senior Member
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    Re: producing proper names from verbs

    Now I'm just not sure how the thread title should have named. I used "proper name" in it as a linguistic term. I might have been (and still am) completely wrong calling given names and nicknames proper names. I just don't know what general word (or term) is used for them. In Russian they are not divided in general linguistic terms. Whether they are divided or not in English I'm not sure. I looked through the article in Wikipedia Piscean gave the link to, but I can't say it became crystal clear to me that nicknames aren't proper names (rather I got the impression that they are, but I may be mistaken because I didn't see nicknames mentioned among others).

    Quote Originally Posted by J&K Tutoring View Post
    Hmmm, What is the meaning of a "proper name"? To me, it would be the legal name parents give their new-born baby on its birth certificate. How would you feel if your parents had said to the hospital person filling in the forms, "His name is Tootles." Perhaps a better question would be, 'What would you consider an improper name?'

    I work a few hours each week at a Chinese kindergarten, and each student is supposed to have an English name. Among the 'names' that parents have given their children are: Rain, Rainy, Peas, Seven, and Kaka. Would you consider these names 'proper'?
    I understand what you mean calling nicknames improper names. But I'm not sure there isn't some ambiguity concerning the word "proper".

    That's a funny story about the kindergarten. There was some obvious misunderstanding between you and the parents. They might have taken the task literally and therefore translated the children’s given names literally. Would I consider such names proper? I would because every name has its meaning, and I don’t see why "Peter" (meaning "stone") is better than "Rain". But I must confess the name "Kaka" remains a funny mystery for me because I don’t know what this word means in English, and in Russian it means "poo".
    Last edited by GeneD; 14-Sep-2017 at 10:02. Reason: errors

  9. #9
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: producing proper names from verbs

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneD View Post
    But I must confess the name "Kaka" remains a funny mystery for me because I don’t know what this word means in English, and in Russian it means "poo".
    That's a child's word for it in English, too.

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: producing proper names from verbs

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    it may have been a version of Toots
    Frederick Hibbert is far better known as the Toots of Toots and the Maytals, reggae pioneers. Where do nicknames end?

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