North American Names: Just Joking

Earlier this week, I was talking with two Californians, Warner Henson and Praveen Shanbhag. We were discussing ways to teach people to respect the names of others, especially names that are hard to pronounce. This is a daily conversation for those two, who are co-founders of NameCoach.

I had interviewed Praveen eaerlier in the year, and he shared stories about growing up as an immigrant kid and his family’s struggle with names.  You can listen to his interview here.

If you’re curious how to get “difficult” names right, you can get tips from this 3-minute video.

Although Praveen, Warner, and I are serious about names, we also recognize that you can’t be serious all the time. In that spirit, I share below some of my favorite name riddles. Can you guess the answers to them? (The first two are given to help you get the idea.)

1. What do you call a guy who gives you an invoice?  Answer: Bill

2. What do you call a woman in a Jacuzzi?  Answer: Beth

3. What do you call a guy who hangs on museum walls?

4. What do you call a woman who will consider your proposal?

5. What do you call a guy lying outside your front door?

6. What do you call a guy adrift in the ocean?

7. What do you call a woman with a nickname?

8. What do you call a guy who is very blunt? 

Write us to share your answers. Also, please share your favorite name riddle with us. There are many we don’t Noah yet.

Alan Headbloom

Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and expats how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture. Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. Visit his website for information on consulting, coaching, or speaking engagements.