producing proper names from verbs

GeneD

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2017
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Russian
Home Country
Belarus
Current Location
Belarus
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?
 
J

J&K Tutoring

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

GeneD

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2017
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Russian
Home Country
Belarus
Current Location
Belarus
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?
 
J

J&K Tutoring

Guest
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'?
 

GoesStation

No Longer With Us
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
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.
 

Barb_D

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
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."
 

GoesStation

No Longer With Us
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
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. :)
 

GeneD

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2017
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Russian
Home Country
Belarus
Current Location
Belarus
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).

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". :-D
 
Last edited:

Rover_KE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
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". :-D
That's a child's word for it in English, too.
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
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?
 
Top