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The Challenge to Be and Not to Do by Carrie Foster

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CHAPTER 3

A Name, Not a Number

Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask why me? Then a voice answers nothing personal, your name just happened to come up.

—Charles M. Schulz

Names. Everyone has one, most people have a vague idea what their own name means, but few of us give much thought to names and their importance in our life. Onomastics, the study of names, is a field that traverses a variety of disciplines including linguistics, history, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and philology. When people refer to the “meaning of a name”, they are most likely referring to the etymology, which is the original literal meaning of the word. The historical significance of your name can be fascinating, but, in reality, the words that join together to ...

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