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What’s your good name?

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Sep 13


This is an expression that is probably common in India and Pakistan and owes its origin to the expression in Hindi and Urdu, ‘shubh naam’. Native speakers would be flummoxed if you asked them their ‘good name’. They only understand ‘first names’ and ‘last names’.

In India, everyone has a pet name or nick name. A name that your parents, friends and neighbours call you. Others, I mean professional friends, would know your ‘good name’ or official name. Your pet name can be far removed from your official name. It may not have any connection in spelling or sound. Preethi, in India, would be Pinky at home.

On the contrary, Christian names are usually shortened. So, when you meet Bill, you know his first name is William. William likes to be called Bill. He introduces himself as Bill.

But, an Indian would always introduce himself with his official name. That is his ‘good name’.
If you are visiting India or Pakistan, expect to be welcomed with this expression.

Posted by : Sharmila Gautama

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