I shudder along with Dorothea:

You start with the perfectly normal Spanish name Pablo. If you’re greatly daring, you make it into a feminine: Pabla. (Attested in current PR census data, though very rare.) Then you import Paula, I daresay from Portuguese. (Also rare.)
Then you squish them together to make Paubla, which to my eyes is an ugly abomination, but one doesn’t expect parents to be reasonable when naming their offspring. This name inexplicably becomes popular.

But no, wait, it gets worse. From Paubla one derives Paublina. And then—get this—the name migrates back to the masculine side of the ledger, ending up as Paublino and even Paublo. Gah! At least Paublo doesn’t come anywhere near supplanting Pablo.
I do hope there’s a better explanation for all this than the one I just advanced. I mean, I can live with Margarita to Margara to Margaro (that’s actually morphologically clever), but this is just plain cruelty to innocent phonemes, that’s all there is to it.

And on a similarly onomastic note: Transblawg features spammers’ names.

I regularly empty the trash in my Eudora. These are all the names I can offer at the moment: Zaida Coxum, Young Alford, Jernigan Fletcher, Yesenia Hopkins, Kermit Clinton, Genaro Lovett, Barton Kilgore, Roman Guy, Laverne Sosa, Godiva Stanley and the monosyllabic Butts.

My all-time favorite, though, is one she quotes from Rogue Semiotics: “the titanically monickered Inflorescence B. Afghan.” I think that’s better than anything W.C. Fields came up with. (I just found Backlogged L. Barents in my own inbox; once I would have been impressed, but no longer.)


  1. And this is my son, Pabulum.

  2. DrJohnEvans says

    Perhaps that’s where the brand name came from in the first place.

  3. I agree that “Paubla” *looks* ugly and unnatural, but after running it over my tongue a few times, I can easily imagine saying it with fondness to a little one. Is there maybe an echo of “pobrecita” in it?

  4. I have had the pleasure of knowing a Marcellius. Some parents should be flogged. Nothing worse though, and especially because it was done in good faith, than the twins Ronald and Donald Duk. It was the early fifties and cartoons were easy to ignore in the European outback.

  5. You need to talk to some NYC schoolteachers for name horror stories. Like the ham radio fanatic who named his triplet daughters Dit, Dot and Dash. To make matters worse, apparently Dot committed suicide later in life.
    Other tales include twins named Male’ (MAL’-ay) and Female’ (Feh-MAL’-ay) – the mother liked the look-and-inferred-sound of the hospital labels. And more than one little girl named Latrine (la-TREEN-eh).
    Pobrecita indeed.

  6. Sounds like urban legend to me. The Snopes page isn’t clear on whether such names actually exist, but it’s pretty clear why people are so fond of the stories.

  7. Going Dotty in Kansas says

    Some years ago I read a book review in which reference was made to a list of names drawn from selected birth registers of Chicago hospitals. Although the title and author of this work completely elude me, I seem to recall something about names selected for their euphonious nature, and which didn’t seem to have any recognizable antecedents (as proper names, that is)…some of the sample names remain indelibly in my head, and include the following: Gonorethia; Vaneal; Iniabase; Zikkiayah; Xtmeng.

  8. Aramis Martinez says

    Pablo and Paula rare names? Not by a longshot, at least in the Southwest US or Mexico. As well, Laura and Paula have the same sound (the ‘au’ is something along the lines of the ‘ow’ in cow); would that imply Laura was also imported from Portuguese?

  9. Aramis Martinez says

    Apologies if the author of the original column was not implying that Pablo is a rare name.

  10. Read it again: “You start with the perfectly normal Spanish name Pablo…” And nothing was said about Laura.

  11. Paula does not strike me as a particularly Portuguese name, really. Latin countries pullulate with paula’s, as do northwest european countries.

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