Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Mother names her child "Le-a," which she insists be pronounced "Ledasha."
Example: [Collected via e-mail, October 2008]
Origins: The e-mail quoted above began circulating on the Internet in early October 2008. While the unusually-named child is almost always said to attend "a school in Livingston Parish (Louisiana)," we encountered one stray version that stated "This child attends a school in Richland County, Georgia" and another that said "This child attends a school in Detroit, MI."
The closing line of the anecdote ("the dash don't be silent") positions the person who bestowed the moniker as African-American through its phrasing in African American Vernacular English (also known as Ebonics): Such use of "don't be" in place of "isn't" is particular to
The racist (and disapproving) aspect of the mailing is clearly expressed in a comment appended to many of the forwards: "And we let these people vote!!!!"
As to whether there is such a child, we've yet to find documentation of anyone's bearing a name of
While the e-mail being circulated dates to early October 2008, the first online appearance of the "Ledasha" story is at least a month older. In this
Kerry writes:As to the use of symbols within (or in place of) names, while such practice is rare, it is not unknown. In 1993, recording artist Prince changed his name to an orthographic representation he dubbed "Love Symbol" and styled himself "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince" before reverting in 2000 to his original name. And the author of the 2008 book The Fortune Cookie Chronicles renders her name as
"My bro in law just told me a fantatic apostrophe story. Friend owns an indoor swim complex. Little girl came in for lessons and spelled her name Le'a. His friend called roll and pronounced Lea like the princess. She got attitude and said its
Symbols and letters can be combined to form words that are easily pronounceable based on the understood sounds assigned to various symbols: The male name "Matt" could be rendered as "M@" for instance, with most people easily working out how to say it. However, such a system of creative (or "kre8tiv") spellings has some drawbacks, which we'll highlight by looking at how those factors would affect a name like
Last updated: 5 May 2009
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