Benad's Web Site

So, why the nickname "Benad"? Well, to explain that, I first need to start with the ethymology of my real name, Benoit Nadeau.

Benoit Nadeau

My first and last name are unusual. Yes, here in Québec, both the given name "Benoit" and the surname "Nadeau" are quite usual.

To put things in context, in Québec many women would simply keep their surname after marriage, which would save paperwork and confusion after divorce. To avoid "sexism", or fights, parents would often would give both their unchanged surnames to their kids. Of course, the order of such compound surname could be the source of a fight too, and no one properly thought ahead of what would happen in the next generation.

So, for me, I got my mother's surname, "Benoit", and my father's surname "Nadeau". And since "Benoit" can be both a surname and given name, it became my given name. Don't worry, my sibblings only got "Nadeau" as surnames, keeping a bit of "tradition"...

The Circumflex Accent

But then, I'm not totally forthcoming about my name. Officially, my name is "BENOIT JEAN LOUIS-OLIVIER NADEAU", written with a cheap typewriter at the mayor's office. Years later, that was "translated" officially to "Benoît Jean Louis-Olivier Nadeau". Notice that circumflex accent (the accent "^") on the "i" that just appeared out of nowhere.

Well, I personally don't care about the circumflex accent, even though officially I was given one by the government. Why? Well, a bit of ethymology about the name "Benoit".

"Benoit" is an old Latin name that dates back to the 13th century, from the word "benedictus", or "blessed". Its original French form was "Benoist", which sounds like "buh-no-east". Later, the "s" became silent, so it sounded like "buh-no-it". To separate the vowels "o" and "i" in the sound, a circumflex accent was added on the "i". In modern French though the name now sounds like "be-n-wa", so eventually the accent will be dropped altogether, but depending of use (given versus surname, lineage, region, etc.) the accent remains. And that's what the government "guessed".

So, let me be clear: officially it's "Benoît", usually it's "Benoit", and it sounds like "be-n-wa". And I quickly learned from Anglophones that have no knowledge of French that they would almost always say "ben-oy-t", which sounds horrible, so I had to do something...


The "compromise" for Anglophones in the form of "Benad" came as an unintended consequence of me trying to figure out what my Internet nickname should be.

It was still the early 90s when I realized of the importance of the name you give to yourself for your "main" online personality. More than that, I forsaw that finding a unique name would just be harder over time as everybody became more "connected".

So, I connected the first three letters of my given name to the first three letters of my surname. And it sounded good in English. So I kept it.

Well, it's still not totally unique since "Benad" is a real given name. But if I'm lucky enough, nobody registered it before I do.

And what about the "84" I add when somebody else already registered "benad"? No, it's not my birth year (I wish). It's because the novel "1984" was one of the first English novel I've read, so I kept using "84" as a suffix.