February 2nd, 2004


userinfo senji
2004/02/02 15:31:00
I was just musing, as I walked along the corridor down to reception, that books I read appear to have an unrepresentatively high rate of uncommon names; even among groups of people who're supposed to be 'normal' people (rather than Wizards, or Cats, or whatever).

Uncommon names appear in fiction:

Unreasonably often
22(78.6%)
About as often as you'd expect
5(17.9%)
Less frequently than you'd think
1(3.6%)

Current Mood: [mood icon] inquisitive

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userinfo emperor
[userpic]
2004/02/02 08:02:20 -
<pred>Tickybox!</>
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userinfo senji
[userpic]
2004/02/02 08:11:46 - Re:
No, no Tickybox...
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userinfo rho
[userpic]
2004/02/02 08:20:51
If we discount, for a moment, really badly writtne fiction, where every other character is called Serenity Galadriel or some-such, I think that most fiction has a slightly higher than normal occurence of uncommon names. If there are, say, ten characters in a book and one of them has an unusual name then that's still within statistical limits for believability. When you scale it up and see 100 characters out of 1000 though, that's when you notice the unreasonable frequency.
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userinfo senji
[userpic]
2004/02/02 08:22:29
Serenity Galadriel? What an implausible name :).

Good point, though.
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userinfo ewx
[userpic]
2004/02/02 11:19:44
Err. Define 'uncommon'?
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userinfo senji
2004/02/02 12:12:13 - Re:
You can pick almost any point at which 'uncommon' starts and the question still makes sense - on the other hand I guess that moderately uncommon names might, say, be less common than you'd expect, and very uncommon names more.

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userinfo lnr
[userpic]
2004/02/02 11:55:11
What rjk said. But while I do think unusual names do sometimes turn up in fiction more often than they do in real life I don't necessarily think this is unreasonable.
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userinfo vyvyan
2004/02/02 12:05:55 - Re:
Mm, yes, I was thinking this too. In an SF or fantasy book set somewhere other than roughly present-day Earth, it would actually seem odd to me if the characters had normal everyday names - in the same way that I would expect the local flora and fauna to be different too! Even in mainstream fiction set in the present-day Western world, aspiring to realism rather than symbolism in its naming approach, I might expect a high incidence of unusual names if many of the characters were famous, aspiring musicians/actors/artists etc, or from public school backgrounds (the incidence of faintly ridiculous "interesting" names at my all-girls school was notable...I don't really exclude my own name from this in fact) - and such characters might be expected to be reasonably common in many types of fiction.
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I was just musing, as I walked along the corridor down to reception,… - Squaring the circle... — LiveJournal

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