Naming Things

We’ve all heard, “Which came first?  The chicken or the egg?”  This has never been a difficult question for me.  The answer is the chicken.  This isn’t something I’ve ever had to ponder.  The question I really enjoy is “Was the orange named an orange because it was orange?  Or was the color named after the fruit?”

Were colors named first?  Or objects? I think it must have been objects.  Objects are more important to name than colors.  Unless the red berries are poisonous and the purple berries aren’t.  The color orange is unique enough that someone probably saw a sunset and said, “Hey!  That’s the color of this fruit we eat.”  Although, I wonder why the word “red” isn’t “apple” and “blue” isn’t “sky”.

Naming people used to be very specific a long time ago. The names in the Bible are some of my favorites because they’re so literal.  Enoch (The man who walked with God.  One of God’s favs) means “dedicated” in Hebrew.  Esau was born covered in red hair so his folks named him Esau which means hairy.  My grandmother has always said I was a scrawny little newborn and that I looked like a plucked chicken in my baby clothes.  I’m so grateful that no one named me “Naked Chicken”.

Someone tagged me in a link recently of memes dedicated to renaming animals.  For example, a raccoon is a trash panda.  A llama is a giraffe sheep.  And so on…You should read those sometime.  They’re hilarious-but I wonder what made a person call a dog a dog in the first place.  I realize that english was definitely not the first language on the planet, and that it derived from several other languages, but what in the world made someone name anything?  How did they agree on a word?

One dude might call a rock a “flarkin” and the other a “piptoot”.  How did they settle on “rock”?  If I had no language, what would I have called a dog?  A couch?  A bucket?  Water?

Okay, folks.  I realize it’s getting really weird up in here.  You’re allowed to stop reading now if this just isn’t your area of randomness, but for those who stick it out, let’s look at a picture of an elephant and try to imagine seeing it for the very first time:


Look at that.  LOOK AT THIS ELEPHANT.  Wow.  If someone had described this to me, I wouldn’t have believed them.  This is straight up, a mystical creature from Star Wars. If I hadn’t seen one in person, I’d stick it in the same category as unicorns.  The word comes from Greek and Latin meaning, big, arch, and ivory.  I would name it Big Eared Long Nose Horned Creature.  Actually, I’d probably name it “Gahhhhh!” and run the hell away from it.

Before I really understood the English language, I named a few things.  My favorite is the word I used for scrambled eggs.  I called them pinkpink.  Whenever I wanted some scrambled eggs, I’d yell, “PINKPINK!” and my dad would scramble his little angel some eggs.  We aren’t sure where I got this from, but I like knowing that if I named things, our language would sound a little funnier.

Jack calls all dogs “Heidi”.  Anything with wheels is “Choo choo”.  And every time we say “I love you”, he says, “Bye bye!”  We think it’s because we always say “I love you” before we leave the house or hang up the phone.  I wish it were moral to refuse to name a few things for Jack to see what he comes up with.  People get all judgmental whenever I bring up developmental experiments and babies.

Naming things is weird.  Language is weird.  The fact that I am communicating how weird communicating is-is really weird.  It’s probably good that I never had to come up with this stuff.  I guess I’ll just keep living my life and writing hardcore literature in my native language while I chow down on some gourmet pinkpink.


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