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Indicators of an Era: NAMES

Indicators of an Era: NAMES

Names give us information about eras, circumstances of societies and cultures of those eras. While a family gives a name to their child from the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, another one can name their children from a movie character which is popular at the time. Besides that, it is believed that if people name their children with the name of someone precious for them, the child will have a personality like him/her.

Furthermore, not only people are affected from events of era while they are naming but also naming streets is affected from the political and social structure of society. On the other hand, it can be claimed that naming people have more individual reasons, such as admiration to famous people. So we can say that political changes, politicians of eras, precious people of eras, structure of societies, culture and individual reasons affect the naming process and may give us information about each of these segments.

Most of the names are bestowed because of many different reasons. The reason can be admiration to an emperor, aspiration to a former darling, concern to politicians. There can be many personal reasons. For instance, my mother’s name is Sekine and the meaning of this name is “Stop”. Her name was bestowed by my grandfather and the reason is that after four daughter demand to have a male child. This belief is also mentioned by İlhan Başgöz in his passage which has heading ‘’The meaning and dimension of change of personal names in Turkey’’. He argues that similar names like Yeter further reveals that the name itself is the subject of a magical belief which is expected to make the next baby a boy, the inherent desire imbedded in the name (Başgöz, 1983, p 21/201). In my family without of my father’s allof our names were given by my mother and because of religious reasons or the reasons because of feeling admiration to ancestors such as Ottoman Sultans. My brother’s name is Ertuğrul and it is because of affection to ancestor Ertuğrul Gazi. For example, my father’s and my name were given also because of religious reasons. My name is the second name of our prophet Mohammed Mustafa and my father’s name is Abdullah because the name of our prophet’s father was Abdullah, which means the servant of God. Not only that, I have also two sisters. One of their name is Zeliha, which has same meaning with Züleyha and the other’s name is Özgül. Züleyha was the prophet Joseph’s wife’s name. Only my little sister Özgül’s name was not related to religion or affections to our history. The reason why her name was bestowed her is that according to my parents’ thoughts, out of three siblings she would leave family home and my parents latestly. So she would lookafter our parents mostly. And because of this she was named Özgül which means ‘’pith rose’’.

On the other hand, our surname is ‘’Gerdan’’ and it means ‘’neck’’. It was given because our ancestor who decided to our surname was a butcher and butchers cut the sheeps from their necks. My father told us the story of our surname in this way. Furthermore, most of my male relatives were butcher up to now. Accordingly, it can be claimed that the conditions of era, political events, thoughts beliefs of elders and parents and also sociologic structure are the things which influence names. Başgöz’s fixing should also be mentioned here. He says ‘’…education and urbanization are two important factors in changing names.’’ (Başgöz, 1982, p 23/205). It is true because when we look at his statistics, we see that the people who has an affair with cities are mostly using more local names by the influence of urbanization and education. The names of people in my family were mostly influenced from religious people, affection to great people from history and this shows that we can see the general values by looking at the names.

In conclusion, people bestow names of politicians, emperors, caliphs, officers, teachers and so on to their babies. Because it is usually believed that their babies would be like them if they name their babies with those people’s names. While ancestors’ and other model people’s names are used by people when they are naming, people’s names also show the general beliefs and thoughts of the era by these names. In short, names are bestowed under impression of political changes, precious people of era, structure of society and because of too many different individual reasons.

Mustafa Gerdan

Names give us information about eras, circumstances of societies and cultures of those eras. While a family gives a name to their child from the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, another one can name their children from a movie character which is popular at the time. Besides that, it is believed that if people name their children with the name of someone precious for them, the child will have a personality like him/her. Furthermore, not only people are affected from events of era while they are naming but also naming streets is affected from the political and social structure of…

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