Sunday, April 07, 2013

Heidelbergerin / Brummagemerin

13 comments
My new blog title may seem a little mysterious at first glance, especially for those who neither speak German nor are familiar with Birmingham. We don't need any mystery around here, so I will explain!

The old title, Heidelbergerin, was just a reference to where I was living.  In German, a man from Heidelberg is called a Heidelberger; a woman from Heidelberg is called a Heidelbergerin.  To use the name Heidelbergerin as a foreigner was stretching it a little bit - the term is generally used for natives of a city - but I didn't really understand that yet at the time I named the blog.

This blog's history is of course still very tied up in Germany, and all my future observations will still be influenced in some way by the years that I spent there,  so I wanted to keep something German: the -erin ending was a simple thing to keep.  So why not Birminghamerin?

If you've a bit of experience with Birmingham, you may already know that its nickname is Brum.  A person from Birmingham is not called a Birminghamian or Birminghamite but a Brummie, and the local dialect goes by that name as well.  Brum is short for Brummagem - an older/dialect form of Birmingham.  Brummagem or brummagem ware also can be used to refer to imitation goods (more on the history of this through the Wikipedia link).  I went with Brummagem instead of Birmingham for a few reasons.  First, it goes better with -erin. Second, if I were to ever call myself a Brummie, I would still be an imitation. It's my home now and may even become my home permanently, but it's not my original home. Brummagem seems appropriate. Third, I like that this word is being reclaimed with positive connotations rather than the negative ones that in the past led to its second meaning.

I also considered permutations like Heidelbrumerin, but it seemed like Heidelberg should leave the title since I won't really be posting anything current about it anymore.  I had goofy ideas combining my real name and Birmingham which thankfully didn't leave the drawing board.  I also tried several ideas relating to popular local vocab that I found strange like "You alright?" for "How are you?" and "Hiya" being used amongst strangers...but they all came off a bit too hokey.

What would you have renamed this blog?  Would you have renamed it at all?  Have you ever needed to rename your blog or other online presence, and if so what factored into the decision?

13 comments:

  1. I can't speak to what you should rename the blog, but I love seeing the "hiya" thing. When I moved to a suburb of London during college, I heard "hiya, you okay?" all the time. My roommate was confused and thought people were wondering if she was sick or something. I had to explain to her it that it was like, "how, how are you?" ;) For my blog, I just chose a somewhat generic name, since I'm always off on some adventure here or there or even just in town. However, I do have to say a big "Danke!" to you. Your blog about Germany was so helpful. I read all of it and when I moved here myself, I didn't feel nearly the culture shock that I could have since, for the most part, I knew what to expect because you covered things so well.

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    1. I can't tell you how glad I am to hear that my blog has been helpful for something - thanks!!
      I still haven't managed to respond exactly right to "You alright?" but I know I'm getting closer. :)

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  2. What is that thing in the photo? An exhaust vent from a parking garage? The random civic poetry is intriguing too, although I'm all for art in public places. (On the whole, though, modern German public sculpture leaves me cold.)

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    1. It's in a parking lot - the parking for the Selly Oak train station - but it's not a vent, just art. The words come from a song written to celebrate the opening of the Birmingham Canal. http://www.waterwaysongs.co.uk/birmingham.htm

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  3. Interesting! Thanks for explaining! :)

    When I was naming my blog, I couldn't think of what to name it. That's why I just went with my real name. But sometimes I wish I had an awesome blog name, too. Saying "It's Sarah Stäbler from the Sarah Stäbler blog" just isn't as cool as having some other title.

    But I think you were right to change the blog title. And I like how you worked in the German suffix -in. So true that your time in Germany will continue to influence your life, and I like that little reference to that.

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    1. I love the simplicity of using one's own name on a blog. I don't only because I don't like being quite so Googleable (plus my is a little clonky, in my opinion...)

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    2. I know...um, 3 of your real names. And I think they're great.

      I felt name shame in the USA because my last name it was hard to spell, contains unexplainable letter combinations, and was most often mis-pronounced. I was always jealous of those with English-sounding last names.

      Here in Germany, it just doesn't matter for two reasons.
      a) there are MUCH weirder things about me than a mere name
      b) NOBODY mispronounces it once they've seen it (most often it gets mistaken for Stürmer or Stüber when given verbally, and I've been told that while definitely German, it doesn't sound Bavarian)

      I wish you liked your name(s) as much as I do!

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    3. I wouldn't want any other name, but no matter how much I like it, it doesn't really just roll off the tongue! Moving to Europe has definitely improved my name experience like yours, though. In the US people got my first name wrong all the time, but that's never happened anywhere in Europe.

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  4. Congratulations on your move! I hope you enjoy England loads. I'm struggling to get back into the swing of British life, I'm not sure if I'm ready to be 'back', and there's more than a good chance that we'll be off on more adventures within a year. But I wish you luck, and the news that really, Virgin aren't too bad. Their broadband is excellent... and I don't work for them!

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    1. Another adventure already? I await more news...
      I'm glad to hear it about Virgin! I feel I amassed enough bad customer service stories in Germany to last a lifetime.

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  5. I'm really enjoying reading your posts about the process of moving to the UK and getting situated there. If I have my way, I'll be renaming my blog in about a year and a half from Doin' Time On The Donau to Doin' Time On The Thames...

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