Sunday SummaryHappy Sunday!  Thanks to the Fourth of July falling on a Thursday, this is my second post of the day.  Read my first at Nameberry: India, Maven & Knute: Controversial Names in the News.

Yes, I’m talking about Katie Hopkins and the ITV This Morning controversy.  Ugly as Katie’s comments were, I know what she means about shortcuts.  Like many name nerds, I can guesstimate someone’s age by their name.  Some names reveal even more.  The trick is to remember that the name tells you something about where that person’s life might have started, but nothing about that person’s present or future.

We don’t rename ourselves at 20 – or 35 or 62 or any logical age when we might have a better sense of who we really are in this world – and so our names become vestigial.  Just like an ostrich’s wings, we can observe them.  But they serve no purpose – an ostrich can’t fly.  But Nevaeh can earn a PhD in astrophysics.  It takes more than a superficial glance to know someone’s capabilities.

Speaking of things that require more than a glance, anyone have any great resources on Jewish naming to share?  (Blogs, books, etc.?)  I made some basic mistakes in my post on Zev, and I’ll be going back to try to fix them – but it occurs to me that this is a deep and rich area of naming traditions, and I’d like to learn more.

Elsewhere online:

  • Fjord as a middle, more than one Elowen, and a sibset consisting of Magdalyne, Mordakai, Moses, Melisande, and Magnolia-Rose?  It’s gotta be the quarterly babyberry report at Nameberry.
  • The Name Lady gives good advice to Marlo and her mom.
  • Dear Frankie Sanford, The only reason I know your name is because of the name you suggested for your baby-on-the-way with footballer Wayne Bridge: LondonAs in London Bridge.  And yes, you’ll get lots of headlines reading “First North West, now London Bridge.  Where will wacky celebrity baby names end?”  If you’re okay with that, go for it.  I’ll try not to judge.
  • Thanks to Geek Baby Names for including Tanith in their June round-up.
  • Speaking of geek, check out this Skywalker Family Tree graphic scooped by the ever-on-it Clare!  If Han replaces John in the future, I’ll be completely fine with it.  Schmi, however, belongs only in a galaxy far, far, away.
  • Oh, and thanks to Clare for calling this article “the voice of reason.”  Much appreciated!
  • As for the results of this study, I think that 22% of parents are now aware of fashion trends when they choose their children’s names.  But any glance at the data tells you that we’ve had name trends for eons – before the internet, even before newspapers.  Names are mixed up in language use and cultural change, and those patterns are bigger than baby names.
  • New Mexico has some wonderfully unexpected names!  Ramona Sparrow, Fynley Orabeth, Maizie Blue, Moses Arrow, Van Dexter.
  • For Real made some great finds in Pennsylvania – my home state.  Elizabelle, Leonidas, Piers, Ridge, Abel, Aurora Lorraine.
  • A fascinating list of Maori baby names from the New Zealand Herald – they’re very wearable.
  • Baby Name Pondering dived into the -leigh ending.  Great analysis, and a nice point about Kayley and her seemingly infinite re-spellings.
  • Call me crazy, but Arianne does make me think Aryan.
  • From the wayback machine: in 2008, the featured name was Jemima.  Great name – too bad about the pancake thing.  2009 was all about Dahlia.  Adele took center stage in 2010, followed by Ella in 2011.  And in 2012, Milla was Baby Name of the Day.

That’s all for this week!  As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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  1. The Complete Book of Hebrew Baby Names by Smadar Shir Sidi
    The New Name Dictionary: Modern English and Hebrew Names by Alfred J. Kolatch
    The Complete Dictionary of English and Hebrew First Names by Alfred J. Kolatch

  2. Alfred Kolatch’s book “These Are The Names” is a definitive work on Jewish names.

    In Ashkenazi tradition babies are not named after living relatives, whereas they are in the Sephardi tradition.

  3. Abby,

    I watched the Katie Hopkins interview on YouTube and didn’t quite know what to think. I was definitely confused when she dissed place names, then admitted she has a daughter named India, but that her name has nothing to do with the country! What??? If I judged anyone by their name, it would be their parents, not the person. I love so many names, I try not to judge anyone, or attempt to assign them a social class by their name. However, the social class situation still exists in England, and maybe that has something to do with her strange opinions on names.

    Regarding Jewish names, a great blog is Fascinating information on Jewish names, the Brit Milah, and the girls’ naming ceremony.

    Of the names mentioned above, I love Elowen, Melisande, Tanith, Leonidas and Abel. I also love Arianne because it was Audrey Hepburn’s name in the wonderful movie, Love in the Afternoon.

    1. Ha, I just came here to write that we considered the name Arianne/Ariane because my mother idolized Audrey Hepburn and suggested the names of some of the characters she played for our daughter. We wound up with a Marianne, so, not far off, but it does nicely avoid the Aryan problem. In any case, I don’t think the similarity is that problematic, since the pronunciation is fairly different, and with Arya and Aria being up-and-coming names, Arianne could just coast along nicely with that trend.

      I like your ‘voice of reason’ article a lot, Abby – very comprehensive yet succinct. I’ve just bookmarked it and will link to it any time I come across the usual tiresome comments about how celebrities have ruined their children’s lives by giving them unusual names. I STILL hear people make derisive comments about the names of Frank Zappa’s kids (and Bob Geldof’s and many others). The Zappa “kids” are now in their 40s and are doing just fine – it’s time to get over it!!