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Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics

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Universal Design For Belonging: Living And Working With Diverse Personal Names, Karen E. Pennesi Jan 2017

Universal Design For Belonging: Living And Working With Diverse Personal Names, Karen E. Pennesi

Anthropology Publications

There is great diversity in the names and naming practices of Canada’s population due to the multiple languages and cultures from which names and name-givers originate. While this diversity means that everyone encounters unfamiliar names, institutional agents who work with the public are continually challenged when attempting to determine a name’s correct pronunciation, spelling, structure and gender. Drawing from over a hundred interviews in London (Ontario) and Montréal (Québec), as well as other published accounts, I outline strategies used by institutional agents to manage name diversity within the constraints of their work tasks. I explain how concern with ...