Thursday, 2 May 2013

What's in a Name: Part 1 of 3

One of the "making sense of the unknown leap into fatherhood" followers posted a question on the blog's Facebook Page asking what my views are when it comes to baby names.  She asked if meaning is important, what influences a parent to choose specific names, etc.  Generally, baby names seem to follow either traditional family names or names which are trendy at that particular time (and I don't mean "trending"; otherwise we would have a whole lot of two-year-olds with the name "hash-tag" running around!)

Due to the broad nature of this topic, I have decided to break this blog up over a series of three separate posts; so if this is something which interests you, I'm afraid you will have to keep returning to get the full story - or you could be like me when it comes to things like 24, Grey's Anatomy or, more recently, Game of Thrones...wait until the series is finished and then watch them all back-to-back over the shortest time period possible!  The choice is yours.

It seems that our preference for the familiar seems to affect our choices in baby names along with most other choices in life.  It seems that phonemes (a small unit of language) which are more popular in a previous year tend to be more common in the following year when it comes to choosing names; especially the first letter of a name.  So what exactly am I trying to say here?  Basically, if the name Katie became popular in the year 2000, trends seem to show that names such as Caitlin or Karen will then become more popular in 2001.  The letter "K" here is the phoneme which influences the choice in name.  A recent study to come out of the University of Pennsylvania looked at the relationship between hurricane and baby names.  Why hurricane names?  Well, these names will be mentioned more frequently in day-to-day conversation as well as through the media, therefore planting a seed in the minds of soon-to-be parents (excuse the pun!  Intended of course!!).  Interestingly the year following on from Hurricane Katrina, the number of little ones born who were given a name starting with "K" jumped by 9%.  WOW!  Talk about subtle subconscious influence.  Now I'm off to listen to Katrina and the Waves (sorry, I couldn't resist!) 


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