Heard on The Judges II: rare (to me) name; instance of code-switching(?)

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Mon Apr 28 22:10:41 UTC 2008

On Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 4:46 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> When I was in the first grade et seq. in Saint Louis, I had a classmate named
>  Delores _Swanagan_.
>  The defendant in a case before (the black) Judge Joe Brown, today, was
>  a twenty-ish black male Chicagoan named
>  Carl _Swanigan_
>  These are the only two instances of this name, pronounced
>  "SWAN-uh-gn," that I've ever heard.
>  It's also true that there are names borne by white people that are
>  unique in my experience: Hoogstraet, Bouckaert, Bollwerk, Hindelang,
>  Zupez, etc.; names of my high-school classmates that I heard for the
>  first time when the teacher called the roll on the first day of class.
>  It was all that I could do to keep from cracking up. Only the fact
>  that no one else - all of them white kids - found such names laughable
>  forced me to control myself. Most colored people are generally named
>  Smith and Jones. But I assume that, if I knew enough white people,
>  that might cease to be the case.

If you want to follow up questions like these, Wilson, try the
American Name Society discussion list <ANS-L at listserv.binghamton.edu>.

Mark Mandel

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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