I have enough trouble remembering names so what chance with pronouns

When people demand you respect their chosen pronoun, they seem at least to forget how difficult it is to even remember surnames.

Speaking from experience, I had enough trouble remembering names when I was young. This became crystal clear after sharing a coffee with a friend at graduate school, we encountered someone outside the coffee shop and I plain forgot his name. We shared the same first name.

When I was at graduate school in Japan, there are over 20 nationalities among the student body. At the suggestions of the professors, we just focused on learning each other’s nickname.

Do not go on about how we should try and learn to pronounce each other’s name. Japanese, despite learning English at high school, often pronounce my name Jimu Rosu. That became important when a guy called Ross was paid my salary at University I was working on the side. Rose and Ross are written the same way in katakana.

People who are good at languages are more arrogant than those who are good at maths. They think something wrong with you because they by accident of birth have a natural gift for languages. Members of many language groups cannot hear certain sounds because they are simply filtered out in the way the brain processes sounds.

That is before we get to face blindness with some people simply cannot see people’s faces in the way other people process the information of the whole face. They see the nose and the mouth but not the whole picture.

Going back to graduate school in Japan, Korean friends were quite insistent of being called by their family name. As the majority of their country is called Kim, Lee or Park, I really do not know how they keep track of each other. How do you work out if you have a friend in common, much less who to vote for?

Then we come to the many friends who had no family name. What more, some came from countries where you could change your name at will such as Burma.

With Japanese, it was important to remember to add san after speaking to them because otherwise they would not realise you were speaking to them. Many of their names have other meanings unless the honorific is added at the end. Japanese developed family names in the 19th century. Many are related to place or occupation as are many old English names.

If you want someone to remember your name, or other details about you, most people use a bit of charm to win cooperation. Going back to forgetting my friend’s name despite him having the same first name as me, the cause was the stress of having to remember it. People do not remember names well when under stress.

The mechanisms for winning cooperation and friends are well known. Badgering people is not one of them . Why people choose to badger people rather than use charm and patience is not a mystery.

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This entry was posted in economics of media and culture on by .

About Jim Rose

Utopia - you are standing in it promotes a classical liberal view of the world and champion the mass flourishing of humanity through capitalism and the rule of law. The origin of the blog is explained in the first blog post at https://utopiayouarestandinginit.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/why-call-my-blog-utopia-you-are-standing-in-it/

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