Same name, different game

A name can mean nothing to a person, or it could carry a lot of weight. The word that a person responds to throughout their lives, the word that is associated with that person, can shape who they are. Whether it’s the way they interact with the world or how they perceive themselves, a name can substantially influence a person.

Junior Annika Jacoby, pronounced AWN-i-kah, and senior Annika Paulsen, pronounced ANNE-eh-kah, share similar first names but have different stories. Jacoby studies business and communications while Paulsen is majoring in theater. They have opposite interests yet have similar name experiences. 

Are you named after anyone? Does your name have a particular history either personally or in a broader context?

Jacoby: I’m not named after anyone. My mom really favors more unique names. She actually wanted to name me Hadley, but while she was sleeping after giving birth, the nurse came in and asked if they decided on a name. Without consulting my mom, my dad told her my name was Annika. She wasn’t mad, she just thinks it was funny because she kept going back and forth between the two names anyways, and I think she was glad she didn’t have to make the decision. 

Paulsen: My mom got my name from the Pippi Longstocking book. She thought it sounded pretty but didn’t know how it was pronounced. 

What are the ways that people get your name wrong?

Jacoby: I get a lot of ANNA-kah or ANNE-eh-kah. 

Paulsen: Most of the time they pronounce it in the Scandinavian way, but other times they just mishear what I am saying, and I’ve gotten Hannacha, Ann or Inca.

Were there a lot of people who had the same name as you while you were growing up?

Jacoby: Nope, I was the only one. Every time I meet another Annika I’m still shocked.

Paulsen: I never met anyone who pronounced my name the same, but there were quite a few people with the same spelling but pronounce it differently.

Do you go by any nicknames?

Jacoby: My childhood best friend calls me Anni which is pronounced like AWN-ee. Other than that, no. 

Paulsen: For the most part no. I do have a few family members who are allowed to call me Annie.

Do you think that your name suits you? Do you like your name? Dislike it? Are you neutral?

Jacoby: I like my name. I think people who use their full names sound more serious, personality-wise, and reserved than a nickname, and that fits my personality. I just think a longer name suits me. 

Paulsen: I think that my name suits me pretty well. My parents recently told me that I could pronounce it either way. I don’t really mind my name, but for me, there isn’t a whole lot of meaning attached to it. I can see the meaning of a name in other situations, and I certainly think that using someone’s name correctly is a sign of respect, but overall, I’m pretty neutral about my name and what it means to me.

If you were to change your name, what would you change it to?

Jacoby: If I had to change my name I would change it to Blanche. It was my great-grandmother’s name, and she was a really cool lady. I really like older names and I like that I’ve never met someone with this name before. 

Paulsen: I don’t really think I would change my name, but if I were it would probably still be something with Scandinavian roots.

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