What you’ll notice in various countries is a certain habit found among poor people knows no borders.
That habit being naming your kids some foreign sounding name or changing your name to something foreign sounding because “it sounds better.”
Though, to be fair, it’s not ALWAYS a thing that poor people do here in Latin America.
Here in Mexico, we have a lot more American influence in certain parts of the country and it’s not entirely uncommon to find someone who happens to have a foreign dad or a foreign mom married with a local.
As a result, the kid might be given a slightly strange name but it’s not because the parents in question are trying to be fancy with giving him a name that they think “sounds better” within the culture.
It’s really just the foreign parent wanting a name that works back home to be put on the kid.
And I’m sure there are other parents who name their kids foreign sounding names that don’t come from poor backgrounds.
Their reasoning is sometimes unclear to me but we’ll leave it at that.
At any rate, when discussing the naming of kids with foreign names, one habit you’ll notice among some poor people down here is giving the kid a name that has the ending “son” to it.
It’s not something you’ll notice as much unless you have been here long enough and have been around areas where more poor folks would happen to be.
Just today, I found someone just like this.
Even among poor people though, I don’t want to overemphasize this small detail to life down here.
It’s not a majority of poor parents naming their kids with the ending “son” but, among different socioeconomic demographics, you will notice that this type of naming is a tiny bit more common among them.
Let’s get to it anyhow.
Ordering a Sandwich
So today I went to buy a sandwich near me in the south of Mexico City in Pedregal de Santo Domingo.
Specifically a chicken and ham sandwich with a small bag of doritos to the side.
All for a total of 60 pesos or 3 bucks as you can see it here.
As I’m waiting for the food to be made, the young guy doing whatever is making small talk with me.
There were two guys doing food work.
One who I recognize – an older man with a big moustache – who always seems to be doing the cooking.
I’ve never spoken a word to him outside of “cuanto cuesta?” but I recognize him as he’s always working at this spot.
And they usually have this fatter looking dude who could pass for mid 30s working to the side of him.
Honestly, I don’t know what the side dude really does outside of prepare the sandwich with the other ingredients as the dude is cooking.
At any rate, the fat mid 30s dude wasn’t there and they had some younger guy who could be my age working on the side.
As I’m waiting for the chicken and ham to be cooked, the younger man began making small talk with me as said.
And we really weren’t having a discussion worth talking about here.
It was the usual type of conversation you have often with folks down here when they want to know you more.
“Where you from?”
“You speak English?”
“How long you in Mexico for?”
“You like Mexico?”
“Got a Mexican girlfriend?”
“You work or study?”
So on and so on.
Doing the casual chat anyhow, the guy also asked me my name.
I asked him his.
While not completely surprising, I did ask him to repeat it.
Probably because, with his accent also, it truly didn’t sound like a typical Spanish name.
“Anderson” he said.
I didn’t ask him anyhow a million details about how he got the name.
Though I did ask, during our casual chat, if he has family from the US or knows the US.
Thankfully, I was able to sneak that into the conversation a minute afterwards when he asked me “where from the US are you?”
And so I asked him – out of what would be a normal question back – if he has ever been to the US or has family from there.
So, in hindsight, I could ask myself again “how did he get the name Anderson?”
I didn’t ask to be fair.
I have no idea.
He’s not from the US and has no parents from the US.
So where did the name come from?
While I have no idea as I felt like asking that question might be seen as rude – you know, could be interpreted as me asking him if he’s “really Hispanic?”
I doubt he would’ve taken it that way but maybe an American Latino would or something.
Still, part of me thinks that probing too much into the origin of his first name would be unnecessary or at least seen as weird by him.
So I didn’t ask any questions about it.
Though, as I said, it’s not the first time I’ve met someone down here with that “son” ending to the name.
Be it Anderson whatever you can imagine that would be similar.
And while those sound like last names, they are oddly used as first names whenever you encounter them down here.
Why does it happen?
My only guess is that the parents in question, however they did, came across those names maybe in a movie exported down here and used it on their kids.
As I said, it’s not common at all to find someone with the “son” ending to their first name down here in Latin America but it does happen once in a blue moon.
If you want a better shot at finding someone like that, you’ll notice it better among poorer folks as I said.
Like “Crystal” or “Mercedes” as names for people back in the US.
Nothing more than names that simply sound better, for whatever reason, to the parents.
Or at least that’s my interpretation and interpretation alone of the issue.
Does this happen in other countries outside of Mexico?
Honestly, I’ve never seen it anywhere else except Mexico and, if I remember right vaguely, I think maybe in Colombia once.
But outside of those two countries, I don’t know if the same phenomenon happens elsewhere.
You can be the judge on that.
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Thanks for reading.