Monday, September 3, 2012

Dear Alfonso: Many Filipinos have two given names. [did you know?]

Dear Alfonso,

We thought of naming you "Juan Antonio" and maybe a future sister "Maria Monica," and call you by your nicknames, "Wanton" and "Mamon," but we think Alfonso is just perfect.

We chose a Spanish version of your name, although it could have been of many other forms: Alphonsus, Alphonso, Alphonse, Alfonse, Alonzo, Alonso, and so on. Your mom and I think that Alfonso just sounds better with our Spanish/Italian-sounding family name. If you wish to take on a different form of your name, feel free to do so, but we think you'll love Alfonso just fine. Most of your future friends (i.e. children of our friends, who are your contemporary) also have Spanish-sounding names, like Anton, Sofia, Franco, Javier, Teresa, Julia, and so on. Some have English-based names, but you know at this time and age, the language origin doesn't matter anymore. It's the meaning behind the name that is most important. Yours means "noble and ready."

By the way, in Japanese, your name will be six characters long: アルフォンソ. It's quite long, but at least you won't have two given names like I do: ロンワルド エマニュエル.

We hope though that no one bestows a too-Filipinoey nickname like "Alfonsoy" upon you, and end up with a short Filipinoish nickname like "Unsoy," similar to what happened to one of my cousins. Or that no one evolves/morphs your name from "Alfonso" to "Alfon" to "Alfon-fon" to "Fon-Fon" to "Pon-Pon" to "Pong-Pong," or change the "F" to "T" and end up with "Ton-Ton." Or "Poncho." Not that those names are bad. They're not bad at all. In fact, we have cousins with some of those names. It's just that we never intended you to be called that way. Oh hey, but "Punch" ain't bad. Ehehe :D

Of course, you were named after one saint. And you are no "junior" by name, because you will be your own person and even have it better. We certainly hope so.

Most Filipinos have two given names, like me and your mom do. You'll probably be in the 1% of Filipinos who don't have two given names. Plus "Alfonso" itself is quite unique, we think. When you're signing documents and filling up forms, it gets tiring to write down two given names plus the middle and family names. Sometimes, people would write checks using only my first given name and last name, and the bank would reject it when I try to deposit it because my real given name is two names. If my name was A B C D, where A B is my given name, C is my middle name, and D is my family name, the banks think that A C D is not my name and that someone else might be named so. Anyway, we just think your one-name given name is great. Of course, when you're old enough, maybe there won't be such things as "cheques" and hand-written "signatures" anymore. Everything could be digital already. 

Also, many people won't get your name spelled wrong. My "Ronwaldo" is sometimes spelled or pronounced "Ronaldo," "Romualdo," and so on. My mother-given nickname, "Ronjie," is sometimes spelled, pronounced, or heard as "Rongie," "Ronjy," "Ronji," "Randy," "Rangie," and so on, but worst of all "Vangie." So in that vein, I started telling people that my name is "Ron." No more misspellings and mispronunciations.

We have an idea already as to what to call your future brother(s)/sister(s), and we like food and maybe they'll have yummy nicknames at least. For you, I might just call you "Alfie," or アルフィー in Japanese. Still quite long, longer even than my (new) nickname in Japanese: ロン. Well, that's how it is in the Japanese language. By the way, the "ie" at the end of "Alfie" has nothing to do with my former nickname or your grandma's nickname. You are your own self.

Well, let's talk about it more until you are able to read this one, Alfie.

Daddy and Mommy

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