Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

The Art of Naming Things

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Yesterday I was in a steering committee meeting where we went through a process of trying to name certain sessions/activities in the conference in ways that were both clear and attention-grabbing. It was an interesting exercise because one of the things ended up with few suggestions that were pretty dull and straight-forward, and another thing ended up with a slew of creative names.

I was reminded of this process when my husband decided to read me wikipedia on the origins of the Häagen-Dazs name:

Mattus invented the “Danish-sounding” “Häagen-Dazs” as a tribute to Denmark’s exemplary treatment of its Jews during the Second World War,[4] and included an outline map of Denmark on early labels. The name is not Danish, which has neither an umlaut nor adigraph zs, nor did the name have any meaning in any language before its creation.[5] Mattus felt that Denmark was known for its dairy products and had a positive image in the U.S.[6] His daughter Doris Hurley reported in the 1999 PBS documentary An Ice Cream Showthat her father sat at the kitchen table for hours saying nonsensical words until he came up with a combination he liked. The reason he chose this method was so that the name would be unique and original.[7]

 

I remember in our steering committee meeting someone came up with really fun names with a frequency and speed I’d never seen before 🙂 He was on a roll 😉 I joked with him that I’d like him to name all my future kids 😉

When I read the Haagen-Dazs story, I wondered if it would be cool to do the same to make up new names for kids or something 😉

It reminded me a little also of the creativity course I teach, and how we sometimes want students to make random associations between things

Anyway – just wanted to record that funny thing my husband was reading aloud to me 😉

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