Name-dropping

Errors in appellation
Jeff Samardzija’s is not the first difficult name on the Notre Dame football roster, nor does one expect to find familiar names—that is, familiar to Anglos—in sports in this cosmopolitan era. Yet his name signals a problem for many. USA Today (October 13) took pains to deal with it: “suh-MARR-zhuh.” The story told of how frustrated the Fighting Irish’s suh-MARR-zhuh was in his kiddie football days, when no announcer ever got the name right. There is an upside, however. “With a name like that,” he said, “once people know it, it sticks with you.”

Picture Jeff marrying someone with an equally difficult name—and then envision the couple hyphenating their names. I used to worry about what happens when the descendants of two hyphenated families wed. Now I let the Germans do the worrying. Mary Jacoby reported from Luxembourg in the Wall Street Journal (October 12) that “Germany Tells Parents to Keep Names Simple.” Achtung!

 

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