23 April 2010

LingLing and Sean

I have a lovely co-worker named Collying.  (It's ok to reveal her identity because if you Google just the first name Collying, she's the fifth result.)  It's pronounced coʊ - lin' (like "coco"), not cɑ - leen "Colleen".  She's really pretty and she's from Honduras but customers at the store all the time mistakingly think she's Asian somehow.

She doesn't really look very Asian at all.  I think her nametag throws the customers for a loop.  I overheard a customer once ask her, "Is Coll your first name and Ying your last name?" What an ass.  --but visually, you know, at first glance... I understand spotting the ying.

Because she's Hispanic, of course her mother has the same name as her.  (See post below.)  Aside from that, though, there seems to be no other record of anyone ever named Collying.  Ling says her mom--or her grandmother, I guess--read a character in a book named Collying and liked it, but I have found no such character in any such book.  According to the official White Pages, there is only one Collying listed in the whole country.  I'm assuming that is her mother, because she's listed in Louisiana.  (There are 415 Chelas.)

Having lived in Ireland for a while, and having been exposed to some of their outrageous and lovely names, I noticed a lot of their traditional names end in -ing so I made the connection and assumed Collying was a traditional variation of the Irish name Colleen.  OR SO I THOUGHT.  I came home, searched and searched and searched.  Turns out, the only Irish name I can think of with -ing is Aisling, pronounced "ash-ling"--but I think it such a pretty name, it must have stuck in my mind.

The fact that collying--as in "to colly", pronounced /ˈkɒlin/ is an actual verb [meaning to blacken with coal dust; begrime], it was tough to search around that.  In Irish and Irish English I actually found no record whatsoever of the name Collying ever existing.  There is no evidence--in fact there is evidence to the contrary--that Collying is in any way a derivation of Colleen.  The Irish spelling of Colleen is Cailin (meaning "girl"), but if anything, that became Americanized to Kaylin or Cailin.

So really, I was all wrong.  -ing is not really a common Irish name ending, and Collying is in no way related to Colleen.  I think they just made it up.


Sean likes to argue.  A lot.  About everything.  On a recent trip to Chicago, the question came up: "Is Sean more of an Irish name or Scottish?  You should blog about it."  Ugg.  Thanks, Maggs.  Ok.
WAIT.  Did you know Sean is the Irish form of the name John?!  I had no idea.  The anglicization of Sean is Shane; and Shaina and Shanna are the female forms.

According to the last census done in Ireland by the Central Statistics Office, An Phriomh-Oifig Staidrimh, Sean is currently the most popular male name in Ireland (followed by Jack, Conor, Adam and James.  The female names: Sarah, Emma, Katie, Aoife [How do you pronounce this?!] and Sophie).

Turns out Sean is in no way a Scottish name.  There are no records of it as a derivation of any traditional Scottish name.  Only recently in Scottland has Sean become popular in part as a result of the fame of Sean Connery (whose first name is actually Thomas). Sean was the 24th most popular boys' name to be registered in Scottland in 1999 with Shaun 51st.

In summary:  Collying is not Irish and Sean is not Scottish.  The end.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On Fri, 23 Apr 2010 22:19:43
Dr. Hall said:

Enjoyed your blog entry, Chela. I learn a lot every time you post! I especially enjoyed the one about your own name; I had often wondered about it.

Keep up the good work, and come visit when you can!