Reason for African American names using apostrophes?
March 9, 2008 at 10:17:22 AM
Hello all, I'm doing a project comparing name popularities of the US, my state and the local population, using the nearest city and largest hospital. The city had a large African American population and I'm seeing a significant amount of names using apostrophes, i.e. Ja'mira, James', De'Ondre, etc.
I was wondering if anyone, throughout their study, has found a reason behind this usage? From what I can see they aren't being used to form contractions or denote possession. In some instances it seems that they're being used as a substitute for an accent mark to stress a specific letter or sound, but not always. Other times they just seem to be thrown into the name randomly with no apparent reason. Perhaps simply to be different and "U-Neek"? I realize it's likely a combination of the two. A friend suggested that the usage could have been adopted from French spellings of words/names since the French were sympathetic to abolishing slavery, and past ancestors of today's African American population could have integrated it into their names as a tribute of some kind?
Does anyone have any information to this curious happening?