Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's Just A Little Name Calling

Baby - ONE spellingThe Social Security Administration has released the list of the Top Ten Baby Names for both boys and girls for the year 2007. Finally! News you can use! Apparently they've been doing this since 1997 and no one has told them that we don't care, so they continue. And so will I. Thus, without further ado, the Top Ten Baby Names for Girls Born in 2007:
  • Number 10: Elizabeth (As in Taylor?)

  • Number 9: Hannah (One of two palindromic names on the list.)

  • Number 8: Abigail (I hear Abigail, I think van Buren.)

  • Number 7: Olivia (Feminine of Oliver. Much more pleasant than Oliver.)

  • Number 6 Sophia (I think of exotic house cats for some reason.)

  • Number 5: Madison (As in Avenue, that is correct.)

  • Number 4: Ava (Palindromic name number two & the name of Heather Locklear's daughter.)

  • Number 3: Emma (Rachel on 'Friends' named her baby Emma.)

  • Number 2: Isabella (Ross on 'Friends' had Isabella Rossellini on his 'list'.)

  • And at Number One (drum roll please): Emily (As in Dickinson, correct again.)

Same Baby - Same SpellingI'm not totally sure what the appeal is for some of these names. They sound rather old. Almost as if this should be the list of Top Ten Names Appearing on the Social Security Death Index for 1910. But what do I know? (Besides knowing enough not to have children in the first place?)

And now the boys....

  • Number 10: Andrew (Will get beat up. A lot.)

  • Number 9: William (Sounds pretentious.)

  • Number 8: Anthony (Has a sort of 'Sopranos' sound to it.)

  • Number 7: Christopher (Will be "Chris" before high school.)

  • Number 6: Daniel (Of Day-Lewis fame?)

  • Number 5: Ethan (Sounds 'lispy', even though it's not.)

  • Number 4: Matthew (See Number 7, replace "Chris" with "Matt".)

  • Number 3: Joshua (Will likely end up as "Josh" before he's 6.)

  • Number 2: Michael (See Numbers 4 and 7 and insert "Mike")

  • And at Number One (drum roll please): Jacob (See Number 3 and insert "Jake".)
One of the odd trends in the baby name realm is the name "Neveah". No one has any idea how to pronounce that (mainly because it's kind of made up), but I guess I'd probably go with neh-VAY-uhBlue?  What's blue mean?  Aw, crap.. Why are people naming the little screaming, crying, pooping, bundle of joy Neveah? I have no clue, because "Neveah" is "heaven" spelled backwards. I always thought that if something was backwards that it was the opposite of what it was forwards. OK, well, wait. That would make sense then. Because if you're asking me, a small, newborn child, especially one that I would have to be in charge of twenty-four seven that just expelled itself through my uterus in a process akin to ramming a pot roast through my nostril, would be the opposite of "heaven". (And I'm sure it's extremely politically incorrect to name your child "Hell". So, Neveah it is! Problem solved!) Along that same line of thinking, I also think that people are unlikely to start naming their child "Natas", but they really should consider it. (Just for the sake of making this "backwards name" thing make sense, if that's even possible. I'm afraid that it might not be, though.)

Another trend that I am at a loss for an explanation of is the naming of both boys and girls with a moniker that rhymes with "maiden". That would include all of the Braydens, Jaydens, Kaydens and even a Raiden and a Zayden (you get the point, right?). Some spokesperson over at the SSA (who knew they needed a spokesperson? It's probably the one gig per year that the guy actually does.) said that the SSA would resist any sort of legislative efforts to regulate the spelling of any name, making reference to the variations on anything "maiden-rhyming-ish". And while I agree more than 100% with the notion that spelling shouldn't be regulated in a legislative sense, it would be nice if there was a bit more public ridicule and general nonacceptance of ridiculously spelled names. (I think I have some sort of a complex from going to school with a kid named Cefan. That's KEVIN, for those of us who spell things the way that they should be spelled.)
Some of the spelling variations on these names (and where they rank over yonder at the SSA within the top 1,000 baby names ) would include:
  • Aiden (27); Aidan (54); Ayden (102); Aden (264); Aydan (598); Adin (983)
  • Jayden (18); Jaden (76); Jaiden (191); Jaydon (415); Jadon (423); Jaeden (593); Jadyn (696); Jaydin (757); Jaidyn (841); Jaydan (887)
  • Caden (92); Kaden (98); Cayden (175); Kaiden (220); Caiden (286); Kayden (507); Kadin (657); Kaeden (701); Kadyn (878)
  • Braden (156); Braeden (325); Braydon (361); Braiden (529); Bradyn (629); Braedon (805)

Also included on the "rhymes with maiden" list were Zayden, clocking in at 588, and Raiden, just squeaking into the top 1000 names at 931.

What does this tell us? Well, it certainly doesn't explain the fascination with the "-aiden" sound, that's for sure. But it does tell us that people have this need to be unique. The problem with that is that "unique" means "being the only one" or "something without a like or an equal". Clearly, even through concerted efforts of new parents across this fine land to create (ie, invent) unusual spellings for their child's name, they are far from unique. That makes them just unusual. Or, as I like to call them, weird. But whatever the reason for it all is, it has resulted in at least SIX ways to spell Aiden, TEN ways to spell Jayden, NINE ways to spell Caden and SIX ways to spell Braden. Four names THIRTY ONE DIFFERENT SPELLINGS. Those are hardly "unique".

And here's the most amusing part: No matter how much these people want to spell the name of their child so that it is "unique", the name will STILL be pronounced THE SAME as the SAME name that is spelled DIFFERENTLY. And if you're asking me, that kind of defeats the purpose. On top of that, when there are SO many different spellings of the same name out there, what are the chances that your kid is EVER going to have his or her name spelled CORRECTLY on anything? Slim to none if you ask me. And Slim just left the building. Tormenting and frustrating your child isn't the goal now, is it? So can we just spell the name one or two different ways (NOT ten) and get over this? Soon?

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baby names said...

I love the name Ethan, I don't care how many babies this days have this name .

Anonymous said...

My name is Jazmyn. =]