Friday, March 2, 2012

Sound-alikes Will Get You

Everyone knows that Aidan sound-alikes are one of the biggest trends in boys' names right now: 97117 boys with names that rhymed with Aidan were registered with the SSA in 2010. That's 4.77% of all baby boys. To put that into perspective, at Jennifer's peak in 1974, it was given to 4.09 % of baby girls. So, if you had 7 Jennifers in your class in high school, chances are your son with have 7 or 8 '_ayden's.

I was fascinated that there's not a similar trend for girls, but then I realized just how many ay/ee/i-lyn/lee/la names there are right now. It's a more subtle trend, to be sure, but still--they all kind of run together.
(I wonder why long A/E/I's are so fascinating, but not long O's & U's.)

This is a pretty rough count, as many names are open for interpretation (for instance, the lovely Ayla is pronounced "ay-lah" in English, but "eye-lah" in Turkish--I counted it with the '__ayla's for this), and people can take great liberties with the letter Y (is Nyla "nye-lah", "nil-ah", or "nee-lah"?--I counted it with the '__eye-la's).
If I really had no clue, I left it out.

So, the number of girls in 2010 with names ending in...

__aylee: 38984 (inclusions for good merit: Ainsley, Paisley)
__aylyn: 28122 (inclusion for good merit: Kaitlyn)
__ayla: 36680
Total: 103786

__eely: 730
__eelyn: 325
__eela: 7272
Total: 8327

__eye-ley: 25750
__eye-lyn: 1724
__eye-la: 15741
__eye-a: 28475 (included because 'eye-ah' is also a very popular construction, and can blend with the 'eye-la's.)
Total: 71690
(as an aside, I really wish English had one simple letter or digraph to represent the 'eye' sound. Would make things so much easier!)

Total 'A/E/I-lee's: 63704
Total 'A/E/I-lyn's: 19150
Total 'A/E/I-la's and 'I-ah's: 88168

Total number of girls in the Mila/Maya/Miley/Kaylee/Kyla/Keely/Kayla/Kaylyn/Breelyn/Brilyn miasma: 183803--9.46% of girls born in 2010. That's over twice as common as Jennifer in 1974, and doesn't even take into account any short-vowel sound-alikes, like Kinley, Callie, or Ansley!

I see often "I wanted an uncommon name because I had a common name growing up, and hated going by an initial!".
Well, I imagine this sort of thing happening in classroom in the 70s & 80s:
"Jennifer, can you come here please? Oh--Jennifer S, not Jennifer J. Sorry; Jennifer Anne Smith, not Jennifer Marie Smith."
How is that worse than:
"Braylee, can you come here, please? Oh--Braylee, not Bailey. No--Braylee, not Braylyn. Sorry; Braylee, not Raylee!" ?

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