Shakespeare Was Wrong

Ashleigh A female given name; variant of Ashley
– The name “Ashley” is of English origin, from a place name and surname from the Old English words ‘æsc’ (ash) and ‘lēah’ (wood).

My mother gave me this name in the fall of 1981. She had never heard of girls being named Ashley, she had only ever heard of male Ashleys, so in an effort to be trendy and unique she gave me this name and changed the spelling to differentiate me from my male counter parts. Cut to 5 years later and Ashley becomes one of the most popular names in North America. Personally, I blame The Young and The Restless, but that’s neither here nor there.

Do I like my name? Yes, I think I might. It has taken me a long time to be able to say that. I have spent years correcting people’s spelling and pronunciation. I mean honestly, how can anyone confuse Ashleigh with Alisha? Sometimes just to freak people out when they ask my name I reply, “Ashleigh with a ‘g'” then giggle to myself over the places they think to put the G. I have seen everything from Gashley to Ashleg to Ashgley. Quite amusing. Frankly, I don’t mind when people assume that my name is spelled Ashley if they are strangers or have never seen my name spelled. It really only makes sense that they would assume it is spelled in the more common way. What really irritates me, and I mean annoys me to no end, is people that know me personally that continue to spell my name incorrectly. The amount of time I have had someone reply to an email I have sent them with “Dear Ashley,” infuriates me. Maybe it’s nit-picky or obsessive but I just find it SO disrespectful when people who have seen my name misspell it. Names are so important, they can really define how we see ourselves and how others see us, so to misspell someone’s name can be considered quite insulting.

Recently, as my friends have started having babies I have noticed not only the increase in trendy names, but the increase in trendy spellings of names. Its Madisyn not Maddison, Emmalee not Emily, Aydin not Aiden. All I can really say to this is that while I appreciate wanting to make your baby’s name unique it tends to get lost in the mix when your child is one of 3 Maddison, Madisyn and Madysin’s in her class. Parents need to understand that when you give your child an oddly spelled name you are setting them up for a life time of frustration at school registrations, hospital emergency rooms and DMV lines. Ask yourself, is the trouble you are causing your child really worth that superfluous G?


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