May 17, 2016

Culture Wars VII:

The naked people came howling down the mountainside! Jane reached for Tomeka's arm, toppling her coffee cup, browning the scratched Formica tabletop. "Chantelle! Lock the back door!" an old waitress yelled.
"They were telling the truth," said Jane. "Not just messing with us."

Dellydel, Make America Great Again


A note on the names used for this prompt:

Tomeka has never enjoyed much popularity as a baby name. It allegedly derives from the Swahili word for sweet, tamu. How you get from point A to point B on that, I can't really say.
A more likely origin would be the Japanese Tamiko, "child of the people."
However, Tomeka is an American coinage. As a forum member on Behind the Name noted, "The name was probably introduced to the United States by the 1963 film A Girl Named Tamiko. This film, though about a Japanese woman falling in love with a White American man, was in many ways an anti-racism story. This appealed to African-Americans back in the 1960s, and some of them who saw the movie named daughters Tamiko because of it."

Jane, on the other hand, has taken root in dozens of languages. From Ivana to Xoana, the name varies from language to language, country to country, until it takes on shapes that challenge belief. But then, Jane means "Grace of God," and what typical parents throughout History would sneeze at that?

Chantelle comes to us from French Chantal, meaning "stony" in its original incarnation. (Or "inlapidation"? "Inlithification"? I don't know.) Now people associate it with chanter, to sing. Which is just as well.

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