Saturday, October 23, 2010

Oh what to name the baby!

 I found the following article very interesting from The Wall Street Journal.


Baby Names Q&A: Why Jayden Rules the Crib

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New York City revealed the most popular baby names for 2009 earlier this week: Jayden remained king among boys for the second year, and Isabella rose to the top after a second place finish in 2008. That made us wonder what’s in a baby name. How has Jayden reached this level of popularity? Why is Isabella on the rise?

We posed our questions to expert Laura Wattenberg, author of “The Baby Name Wizard” and creator of the popular website with the same title. It turns out we have Britney Spears to thank for the triumph of Jayden, and Utah could teach New York City a thing or two about creative names.

Metropolis: Give me a sense, nationally, of the baby naming scene. What are the trends?

Wattenberg: It’s easy to look at a list of the top baby names and find familiar names, like Matthew, and say: “Oh, names are traditional.” The names that ruled English baby naming for centuries are disappearing. Mary and John are the obvious examples. William, James, George and Henry were dominant names.
Even in last 30 or 40 years the percentage of babies getting a name in top 10 or 20 has plummeted. Individuality has become a prized virtue and there’s a kind of competitive landscape — a baby name arms race — where parents are determined to make their child stand out.
And we all think it’s a personal quirk of ours that I happen to like unusual names. But, in fact, that’s the trend for the whole country.

Metropolis: Does New York lead the nation in creative names?

Wattenberg: New York does not have a particularly creative baby naming culture. Utah is the creative baby naming capital.

Metropolis: When we look at the list of girls — Isabella, Sophia, Mia, Emily, Madison, Olivia — they are romantic names or soft names. What is behind that?

Wattenberg: You are sensing something about names. The most powerful trend in baby names is something individual parents are almost never aware of: we don’t like consonants anymore. Every parent will say I like old-fashioned names, quirky, I’m looking for something really powerful and creative. What they don’t say is, I’m really looking for a name with no two consecutive voiced consonants. That is really what America wants.

Metropolis: Let’s talk about Jayden.

Wattenberg: Oh, that’s an interesting name. A boy’s name usually, but not always. Some will tell you they chose it as a Biblical name (Jadon). Jayden started taking off after Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith named their son Jaden. That was perfect timing for an explosion of every name rhyming with Aiden: Jayden, Brayden, Caden, Zayden, Haden.
There were all different spellings of Jayden and all equally popular. Then Britney Spears named a son Jayden and she established the standard spelling. Jayden is at the top of the list because parents have agreed on one spelling.

Metropolis: Selfishly, I have to ask: Melanie is a rising name for baby girls born to Latina mothers. Is there a sudden resurgence in popularity for “Gone with the Wind?”

Wattenberg: Speaking of “Gone with the Wind,” you’ll note that Ashley is still a top ten name in New York and not at all in the rest of the country. And that’s because it’s increasingly a black and Latino name. New York is such a diverse city that a name can’t climb to the top of those lists without appealing to a broad cross section of races and cultures.

Metropolis: What about baby girl middle names, any standouts?

Wattenberg: Grace is the hottest middle name. Grace and Rose. The United States keeps no statistics on middle names, but Grace and Rose dominate as middle names much more than any first name dominates. It’s overwhelming.

So I ask:
Does anyone know what a name with "two consecutive voiced consonants" would be? Can you give me an example of what they are talking about here. I didn't get that part. 

And I wish Dennis would let me call him George, but he won't. I've always loved that name! His mother obviously liked it too.


Lynn said...

Jill, actually "George" has two consecutive voiced consonants! The "r" and the "g" consonants are both voiced with no vowels in between. What I don't know is why it's objectionable!

cristie said...

This is a fun post. Such a big responsibility choosing a child's name. xox

Jared and Heather said...

I don't think the expert being interviewed is saying that two consecutive voiced consonants are objectionable, just that the generation naming their children right now gravitates away from them. I think this article is so interesting, because I have noticed this trend as well. For example, I have loved the names Olivia, Hannah, and Emma since I was a child, long before they became trendy (they are all in the top ten now I believe). McKenna has loved the name Isabella for years and now it is number one! It just seems like each generation gravitates towards certain sounds and names. My parents named my youngest sister Hayley, not knowing anyone else with this name(besides the old actress Hayley Mills). All of a sudden in the year after my sister was born, the names Hayley (Haley), Kayley (Kaylie) and Bailey became popular. This is such an interesting phenomenon, I wonder what causes it...

Anonymous said...

PJ!! How about McKay and Tyler--those have 3 consecutive voiced consonants. Then there is Grandma and Grandpa.

Grandma Honey said...

Lynn~ Thanks! Now I get it a little. So since I told Dennis this morning what you wrote he came up with Marge. But that's as much as we can come up with. Oh, and I just thought of Madge. But those names have gone by the way side decades ago.

Heather~ I thought it was interesting for those very same reasons. I never had thought that we are attracted to certain sounds from one generation to the example of your sister Hayley's name. I also thought it was funny what the article said about Utah names being the most creative!

Anonymous~ But aren't McKay and Tyler's names separated by vowel sounds? Maybe I don't understand. Oh yes, I can hear it in Grandma and Grandpa! PJ? Is anyone really named that?

Karen Mortensen said...

What ever happened to plain, simple and ordinary?
My dad told my mom that those were the kind of names their kids would have. Hence, David, Karen and William.

grandmapeg said...

All I know is I like the fact that some of the older names are becoming popular again like Grace and Piper. I thought my daughter was the only one coming up with Piper for her daughter's name but I've since heard of two other young moms that have daughters with that name. I'm wondering what 'creative' names Utah has. Did the article give any examples?

Jared and Heather said...

More consecutive consonant names just from your own family: Campbell, Katlynn, Austin, Chandler and Brock. :-)

Grandma Honey said...

grandmapeg~ Nope, that was the entire article. I never knew Piper was an old fashioned name.

Karen~ My Dad also was into very traditional names. When I was pregnant with my first, he told me he liked the old standard names like John.

Anonymous said...

Marge and Madge, excellent! How about Midge, Mitilda, Barb, Patricia, Priscilla, Henry, Oscar? George? Then Georgia.

PJ indeed. The only one I know is in MI!! Gotcha!

Grandma Honey said...

Heather~ WOW, you are GOOD!!

Okay Pam~ Now I get it!! :))

Richard said...

Jilly is still my favorite.

the Rich girl said...

I love all the older names - the ones that have fallen by the wayside.

I even secretly like Sophronia (after Joseph Smith's sister) but I could never do that to a child. Much better to stick with the (now popular) Sophie.

But I understand the trend for uniqueness. Tyler has told me that he hated being one of several Tylers in his classes. I never had that problem. I was always the only Karen. (Though, occasionally, I'd have a Taryn in my class too.)

When I was in ninth grade, I told my friend Michael that I was going to compile a list of the the Michaels I knew or had heard of--the list got to be 40+ people before I finally stopped counting Michaels.

Nate and Julie said...

I took a socialization across childhood class at BYU and we spent a whole class period talking about names and the psychological effects they can have on children. As part of the conversation it came up that Utahns are notorious for making up names. The professor had a long list of names people in Utah had actually named their children. i.e. lemonjello (la-mon-jah-lo) and orangejello (or-on-jah-lo)and Biblical names like Celestial and Nehor that you might not hear anywhere else. There are plenty of Matthews and Marys in Utah, but people seem to go out of their way to attempt to be original as well.

Grandma Honey said...

Julie,.. Really? Those names sound abusive to me. How very sad.

Karen~ Only a week after I learned I was pregnant with Tyler a thought suddenly came to my mind, "It's another boy and his name is Tyler Matthew." I had never had a name come to me like that, so I knew he was Tyler. And it sounds good with Karen!

Yeah right, Richard. :)

Brock said...

This is the perfect time announce that our new child will be named McGullicuddy.

Grandma Honey said...

Brock~ I hope the Mcs weren't planning to use that name.

darlene said...

This name topic reminds me of the video you put up about Elora calling one of her relatives "Tennis Ball". Whatever happened to that video? It was the funniest yet!

Tyler said...

Some names should never come back into popularity, like Howie, Clarence, and Gertrude.

Sue said...

My mom's first name is Grace, but she never used it. Instead, she went by her middle name: Darlene.

I like the name Grace now, but when I was young, I agreed with her that it was not that desirable.

Funny that I now find it beautiful.


The Taylor Family said...

I wanted to name my kids unusual names since I was stuck with an ordinary name. We went with Addison (Addi, our oldest daughter, and we named her when it was #79 on the names list), Indiana (Indy, our oldest son, and his name still doesn't show up on the top 100, he's named after Indiana Jones...not the state), Brooke (Is my step daughter, so I don't know how she got her name), and our baby is Jameson (named for his great-grandfather James, I just wanted something we can shorten as a nickname, hence....Jameson).


Grandma Honey said...

Karen~ It was interesting learning your kids' names since you don't say on your blog...which I understand. I've never heard of Indiana for a name but I like it. Very original sounding. Addison has become quite popular. And I know a few Jamesons :)

Grandma Honey said...

Darlene~ I just gave a link to that video about Tennis Ball a few days ago...Oct 19th, 'Mourn with Those who Mourn." You have a great memory because the original was quite some time back.

Tyler~ Gertrude...really, can you even picture parents naming their sweet little baby that years ago? I've heard Hazel has come back. Wonder if Agnes ever will.

Sue~ Isn't that interesting how Grace has made this great comeback. In 1974 a girl who lived next to us was named Grace and I thought it was an odd name a real has been name, but now I LOVE IT.

pebble said...

My name is Melinda...which is probably why it isn't popular anymore..that nd together? And my last name is there again the rg... I was named after my two grandmother's so even though Melinda does not seem old fashioned it was indeed. My maternal grandmother was Melinda I'm glad I didn't get her middle name, there is one that is gone...and my paternal grandmother was Ruby May...and I got the May. Now all my kids and their cousins are all hoping to have a girl they can name Ruby, which was out of style when I was young. Back in now! (so far mostly boys) Oh, and my grandson is George...I guess some of us like those old names :). This article was very fun...thanks!

Grandma Honey said...

Melinda, I didn't realize your maiden name was George! I thought your daughter just liked that name...but it makes it even more special that it's a family name. George is actually my husband's name but he goes by Dennis. I would love to have a George in the family. Your 2 grandsons George and cute together!

I know a few Rubys and even Lucy. I love them both!

Anonymous said...

Anton, Andrew, Buster, Ellsworth, Linda, Edward, Lawrence, Esther, Milton, Wolfgang, Whitley, Camron, Walter, Douglas, Fredrick, Burton, Ezra, Martin, Johnson, Dwayne, Stanley, Jordan, Gilbert, Norma, Myrna, Arthur, Patrick, Jeffrey, Colby, Kathryn, Marlene, Ishmael