Thursday, July 13, 2006

What's in a name

Every year my local paper publishes some kind of 'very special extra', where people can pay to get a picture of their baby published. Last year I went through this very special keepsake, and made a list of some of the truly horrific names with which parents are torturing their children these days - today, I share this list with the world! I've put them into categories, because, well, I thought it'd be fun.

Normal names spelt incorrectly:
Harison Jack
Jorja Mae (sister for Braydan)
Emelia Kale
Emilee
Jorja Louise
Rylei Keith
Jacsen

Celebrity Complex:
Land Armstrong (celebrity complex is the only explanation I can come up with for this bizarre name - Armstrong is the actual middle name. I strange homage to Lance Armstrong?)
Demie Bella
Ashtyn Hayley (I'm thinking that the parents of this girl were really hoping for a boy, so they could name him after their favourite movie star of all time, the oh-so-talented Ashton Kutcher. When they discovered that they were having a girl, they thought they'd run with it anyway, and just torture the poor girl even more by spelling the name in a stupid way. This name could also be listed under the next category...)

Boy or girl?
Charlie Aaliyah
Eden Ella
Tiare

The soap opera syndrome - 'strong' names for your son:
Baxter Radford
Brock and Caden (twins)
Zane Alexander
Deegan Maxwell
Dalan James
Brandon Dudley (although I'm not sure how manly the name 'Dudley' is...)

Just plain hideous girls' names:
Nikayla Nicole Maree
Clea Rea
Maiya Josie
Kiara Vivienne
Brianna Madison
Arielle Frances
Ella-Jayde Iris
Keely Lanai
Mackenzie Debra
Kayla Ashley
Jade Ella

Top three worst baby names of all time:
Zaide Peter
Tyger James
Tallis Jet

Related to these horrific examples of child cruelty: The NameVoyager is an absolutely fascinating site that provides visualisations on the most commonly used baby names in the US for the last 100 years. It not only gives the most popular 1000 names for each decade (plus individual results for the last three years), but also the frequency with which they've been used over time. It's incredibly hypnotic and extremely addictive. After playing with it for a bit this morning, here are some of the interesting things I found:

Zaide isn't on the list, but Zaid comes in at number 981 in 2003! Other strange Z names found: Zaire (875 in 2003), Zain (871 in 2005), Zander (332 in 2005 - why oh why change the spelling like this?! There's also Zavier, 904 in 2005, and Xzavier, which is just pure wrong at 667 in 2005), and my personal favourite, Zenobia, which reached a top of 943 in the 1900s.

Compare Gail with Gael - in 2003, Gael appeared out of nowhere to come in at number 528, increasing to 298 in 2005. Gail was at number 44 in the 1950s, but had completely dropped out of the top 1000 by the 1990s.

Britney also comes out of nowhere in the 1990s, coinciding I guess with the popularity of a certain pop-singer...

The sudden surge in popularity of the name Nevaeh (heaven spelt backwards); it's currently ranked at 70!

There have been two spikes in the popularity of Kennedy as a boy's name - once in the 1960s, and again in the 1990s. Kennedy as a girl's name, however, has only been popular from the 1990s onwards (number 118 in 2003!) as the number of bogans steadily increases. Let's not even talk about the name Kennedi, which reached number 634 in 2005...

Related to the 1960s spike for Kennedy as a boy's name - have a look at the enormous popularity that names such as Jacqueline and Jackie also enjoyed in the 1960s. It's interesting to see how historical events influence how people name their children - Winston enjoyed a resurgence in popularity during WWII, and Franklin got up to 71 during the Depression. Another less serious historical coincidences: the popularity of the name Wesley, which peaks at the same time as the popularity of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Other movie correlations: there's a spike for the name Lolita in the 1960s - the movie came out in 1962. Rudolph Valentino's enormous popularity in the 1920s inspired a rash of babies named after him - Rudolph was ranked at 136 in that decade.

There was an enormous spike for names starting with 'Kr' in the 1980s, which died away almost as soon as it begun.

That's probably enough crazy name facts for today - have a play around with the site yourself, and add your own crazy facts in the comments!

4 comments:

The Scientist said...

"Dudley" - not manly

What are these people doing to the spelling of names?! Is there an inordinate amount of people living in trailers in Tassie?? I know it's got significant bogan culture, but seriously people?!

Tallis Jet sounds somehow phallic, not to mention sexually ambiguous.

PS: It would seem you are an exceptionally bored individual. "Tickle me" is back too btw.

spy said...

Zaide is not that bad a name - I think its Persian. However, I am worried that it seems to be used as a boys name... I thought it was a girls name a la Mozart's opera.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha Mads. Remember looking through those names in the library, line 4 study? Good times, good times.

James

Mads said...

Ahh, line 4 study. Good times indeed!