We were talking this evening about the huge variety of words for the same thing in English. Take the small bread roll, a round flat one, just plain bread… in Oldham it would be an oven-bottom muffin, in Manchester a barm cake (not balm and no cake) in the north-east a stotty or stottie cake and elsewhere it might be a bap or a bun… How many words can there be for one thing? It might even be a cob or a teacake or a breadcake… but basically it is just a smallish round flattish bread roll. Obviously a lot of these differences arise through different dialect words, and sometimes the original item was made differently, originally barm cakes were raised by a barm leven, not the normal yeast.
In the same way each of us are called different things for various reasons, including location. When I was a teacher in a secondary school I was Miss Elsden, or just Miss (ugh) but when I was working in the pupil referral unit I was Lois. At home I might be referred to by my pet name, with my cousins I would have a different pet name, by my friends I am called Lois or Lo. people who don’t know me might address me as Miss, love, darling, duck, chuck, dear, sweetheart, oi you…
I have become aware of this in Night Vision; my main character Beulah is called Bee by those close to her, Lahlah by a special friend and Pandora by someone she wants to keep at a distance, and Mrs Cameron by the police officers who question her about certain things. Her husband calls her babe, baby or darling… yes I know it sounds silly – especially ‘babe’ , but people really do call those very close to them silly things.. I daren’t tell you what silly names I call my family.
… I see I have come all the way back to names!