Back in July on Language Log, Victor Mair posted on Sun Yat-sen, saying among other things:

Like most Chinese with any pretensions to cultural dignity, Sun Yat-sen has many names (the renowned 20th-century author Lu Xun had over a hundred).  His real (genealogical) name was Sūn Démíng 孫德明 (Sun Virtue-Bright).  Sun Yat-sen, the name by which he is best known in English, is actually derived from the Cantonese pronunciation of one of his pseudonyms, 逸仙 (Leisurely Immortal; pronounced Yìxiān in Modern Standard Mandarin).  Most ironically, the name by which he is best known in China, Zhōngshān 中山 (Middle Mountain) is based on his Japanese name, Nakayama Shō 中山樵 (Woodcutter Nakayama).

As a person with many names — as I noted in a November posting, I post under my real name, but for many years signed postings to soc.motss with a large collection of pseudonyms — I am touched with the reference to cultural dignity, though I can’t say that my pseudonyms are at all dignified.

Here’s the list, in order of their appearance, with brief explanations:

1.  zotling [from my Princeton nickname Zot, from the B.C. cartoon anteater, combined with –ling, the suffix as in princeling, and also an abbreviation for linguistics]

2.  Ebbing Craft [Studies Out in Left Field pseudonym, from Krafft-Ebing the sexologist, with word reversal]

3.  Alex(ander) Adams [my name for making reservations, since “Arnold Zwicky” is rarely heard correctly over the phone; and eventually my sexy alter ego Alex]

4.  biiig arnold / b a (in  p a) [a motss-joke on my putatively imposing size, with a reference to Palo Alto]

5.  woo(l)ly mammoth / w m (in ca) [from a New Yorker cartoon, with a reference to California]

6.  Rice Highland [my drag name]

7.  mot inconnu [found in a web search for “Zwicky”]

8.  Tierisch Zwieback [??]

9.  Fox Silver [for personals ads, a play on silver fox]

10.  Ivy Hall [halls of ivy]

11.  Dick Little [word reversal from little dick, with reference to dick size]

12.  Richard Small [from #11, by word substitution]

13.  Dick Thirsty [play on #11, a pun on dick thirsty ‘thirsty for dick’]

14.  Fowler Gay [apparently a reference to a Fowler brand gurney that took me into surgery]

15.  biiig daddy [see #4, plus reference to Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof]

16.  wee moth [play on mammoth and small (wee) dick (wee-wee) size, with sense reversal: a second mammoth]

17.  peninsular penguin [San Francisco Peninsula, with allusion to penis; first penguin name, alluding to one of my totem animals]

18.  Tenuring C. Upbraided [a spam address]

19.  so crazy Arnold [??]

20.  literate tapir [?? an anagram of something?]

21.  Opal’s grandmammoth [grandfather + mammoth; the third mammoth]

22.  p a dutch boy [P.A. Dutch (PA Dutch, Pennsylvania Dutch) crossed with P.A. for Palo Alto, then the whole thing portmanteaued with Dutch Boy]

23.  the eggcoronel [ref. to eggcorn and to historic coronel for colonel]

24.  swiss lad [play on Swiss Maid, suggesting swish]

25.  arnold the grammarous [cf. Conan the Barbarian]

26.  zap mama [pseudonym in a WCBE-FM contest, directly from the singing group Zap Mama]

27.  sophisticated grammaratition [??]

28.  gwmammoth [the fourth mammoth]

29.  DOM [Dirty Old Mammoth]

30.  porno penguin [the second penguin]

31.  dick key [another dick play, suggesting the name Dickie]

32.  andrew g. smart [from a “gay and smart” quote about me from Max Vasilatos; Andrew as one of the many mistakes for Arnold]

33.  linguamammoth [the fifth mammoth; a lingua- formation]

34.  da penguin [the third penguin; from my daughter’s godmother’s pseudonym Da Godmudda, a play on Da Godfadda]

35.  (#)285 [the tune Arnold in The Sacred Harp]

36.  Dlonra [my female counterpart: Arnold reversed]

37.  Brute Black [September 2010, from the “brutal black’ splint and brace I was wearing]

More on pseudonyms to follow.



4 Responses to “Pseudonyms”

  1. Pseudonyms 2: Samuel Steward « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] Arnold Zwicky's Blog A blog mostly about language « Pseudonyms […]

  2. Today’s anagram and initialism « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] biiig arnold” — the latter part uses one of my pseudonyms, #4 of 37 on the list here — and can be turned into an acronym by pronouncing it like hubba, as in hubba hubba!, an […]

  3. Patrick Henry A Pseudonym | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] postings on this blog (in 2011) about pseudonyms: here on my pseudonyms, here on Samuel Steward’s. Meanwhile, also from 2011, there’s Carmela […]

  4. Remarkable names | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] names are also chosen for real people. As pseudonyms or pen names, for example. Or stage names (Benjamin “Benny” Kubelsky becomes Jack […]

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