Sunday Summary: 4.18.21

We’re missing something lately.

I’m calling it cross-pollination.

Strictly speaking, that’s what happens when two plants’ genetic material combine. It can happen accidentally – thanks to flower-hopping bees. Or even the wind. At other times, we intentionally create hybrids for our own purposes.

It happens in language, too.

Talking to people – friends, colleagues, people we vaguely recognize from our kid’s soccer team or because we walk our dogs at the same time – cross-pollinates our language in subtle and unexpected ways.

Except there’s precious little of that these days. It’s tough to make small talk when everyone is wearing a mask. And my social skills? Rusty to the point of embarrassment. 

Even when we’re not actively discussing names – or even revealing that we’re pregnant or hoping to grow our family – hearing lots of names helps us evaluate them.

I think for lots of expectant parents, that’s the missing piece right now. Not places to actively discuss names – I hope the internet, including my tiny corner, can make up for that. But it’s the richness of random spoken interactions that add to our ideas about how names sound.

Is there a cure? Maybe. In the moments we do have a chance to listen, make a point of actively tuning it. Even if our opportunities are fewer than we need, listening with an ear for names might help us get just enough information to make a good decision.


Laura Wattenberg recently took a closer look at the rise of boy names ending in a. This might be a prime example of how we slowly change our minds about sounds. Forty years ago, boys’ names didn’t end in a. Now no one blinks at Elijah or Luca.

Did you see this great list of names not in the current US Top 200 from The Friendly Fig? It’s always interesting to see which names pop out depending on how you draw the line.

The Name Warehouse argues that these three one-syllable names are the next Grace and RoseI can see it, especially the third one on her list.

Not one, but two girls named Cara in a recent round-up of British Baby Names birth announcements. I tend to think of Cara as a mom name, but maybe it’s fresh and new for this generation, too?

Completely fascinated by this look at popular names by visitor country at Nameberry. Or, why parents in Pakistan look up Ludo, while Russians are all about Lilibet.

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That’s all for this week! Thank you for reading – thinking of you.

Girl Names 4.18.21 Boy Names 4.18.21

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 Comment

  1. The other day my mum was actually talking about when work colleagues tell her about their new grandchildren’s, er, unusual names! I told her what you said about asking people “Is that a family name?” She says “That is brilliant! I’ll have to remember that.”