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Ever since those days I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that people can have names which reflect their job or profession.
Through New Scientist [newscientist.com], which features the subject briefly this week and provides some fine examples, I learn for the first time that the phenomenon is called ‘Nominative Determinism’.
Two examples that I’ve come across in the last couple of months are:
Dr Mellon – food scientist
Prof. A. Bass - author of a scientific report on fish sounds (noted also by this week’s by New Scientist).
In spite of my tendancy to rant against lawyers, Leech is a nice man, we actually go for coffee now and then (and he doesn't even add it to his billable hours.)
His eldest son is a defective writer who survives by means of government art grants.
And since we're talking about surnames, shouldn't the entire family line be examined? How many Mellons are food scientists? Or farmers? Or fruits? ;)
And how does nominative determinism fit in with the current job market? How many Chandlers are candle makers? Smiths blacksmiths or silversmiths? Coopers barrel makers? Wheelers wheelwrights? How does necessity fit in? How many Farmers had to farm in order to eat?
Just things I wonder about when I have too much time on my hands...
How many Chandlers are candle makers? Smiths blacksmiths or silversmiths? Coopers barrel makers? Wheelers wheelwrights? How does necessity fit in? How many Farmers had to farm in order to eat?
I see that as more legit, for the reason that someone in the lineage held that job, and was probably passed down in the family at one time.
Guess I'm stating the obvious.
The other stuff, I just find amusing, not determinitive.
We used to have a Doctor Donald Duck listed in the telphone directory here in the West of Scotland but I don't know if he was a quack?
On the subject of genuine funny names we seem to get a lot of these in Scotland. How about ...
There was also a poor guy in our area called Archibald Archibald. Parents ... why do they do it?
Quadruple nominative determinism
...a case of quadruple nominative determinism. We would actually put it somewhere between triple and quadruple - but that is still pretty impressive. Marsh is referring to the book The Imperial Animal by Lionel Tiger and Robin Fox.
Lastly on this topic, Alex Gough has discovered that the chair of anaesthesiology and pain management at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, is William J. Tranquilli.