Saturday, July 28, 2012

Usual Nickname, Unexpected Name--Len/Leni/Lena

Poor Lenny. The go-to nickname for old-man Leonard, he's probably out of general favor for another generation or so, since boys' name trends cycle more slowly than girls. Short and simple Len, however, fits in nicely with other succinct names in style right now, and it, along with Leni (LEH-nee), are also quite chic for girls abroad.

  • Balendin (bah-len-deen, Basque)--form of Valentine
  • Cillian (KIL-ee-an, Irish)--Anglicized as Killian
  • Emilian (em-EE-lee-an, Romanian)--masculine of Emilia
  • Erlend (EHR-lend, Scandinavian)
  • Laurence (LAW-rens, English)
  • Lewin (LOO-en, English)--"dear friend"
  • Stelian (stel-ee-AN, Romanian)
  • Waylon (WAY-lon, English)

  • Apolena (ah-paw-LEH-nah, Czech)
  • Belén (beh-LEHN, Spanish)
  • Eleni (el-EH-nee, Greek)--form of Helen [actually, pretty much any variant of Helen would work nicely]
  • Ghislain (zhees-LEHN, French)--form of Giselle
  • Kalena (kah-LEH-nah, Hawaiian)--form of Karen
  • Leandra (leh-AHN-drah, Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Lenora (len-OR-ah, English)--form of Eleanor [pretty much any variant of Eleanor would work nicely, too]
  • Lenuţa (len-OOTZ-ah, Romanian)--form of Helen
  • Lorena (loh-REH-nah, Italian, Spanish)--form of Lorraine
  • Magdalena (mahg-dah-LEH-nah, Latin)--form of Magdalene
  • Marilena (mah-ree-LEH-nah, Italian, Romanian)
  • Ségolène (say-goh-LEN, French)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Well, We're Not in Rome, But...

Many sorts of traditional males name types are "being overtaken" by girls. I'm not really sure that's true, but it can sure seem that way at times, I imagine.
However, although you can probably think of several occupational names, patronymics, or Biblical boys' names that have been used by girls, I'm betting that you can't think of any Roman names that have been, and yes, there are quite a few still used in English today--Julius, Titus, Felix, Marcus, Lucius--and several more that closely resemble their ancient ancestors.
Whether they've never made the gender-jump is due to the "gladiator" feel, or because in Latin a name's gender was pretty easy to swap (Julia, Tita, Felicia, Marcia, Lucia), I'm not sure, but I lean towards the former. Feminine Roman names have, of course, been a staple of Italian naming for centuries, and are starting to really catch on in the U.S. today as well.

Now, the names ancient Romans were actually called fell into two categories: the praenomen (given name), and/or the cognomen (nickname). There was also the nomen (clan name). Praenomens were the official given names, and often related to birth order (nothing like being known as 'Fifth') or a god important to the family. Later, when the Roman Empire turned largely Christian, virtue-names began to be used as well. Cognomens were originally nicknames, and thus related to physical characteristics, personality, or place of birth.
Only rarely did girls have praenomen or cognomen on their own (it was more common in earlier times). Usually they were just known by the feminine form of their father's name.

You'll note that most names are simply '_____us', but some are '_____ianus'. The '-ian-' (or sometimes just '-in-') makes it an adjective; while Lucius means "light", Lucianus means "like/from Lucius" or "like/from the light".

And I'm just going to list masculine names, since making them feminine is ridiculously regular: just change the '-us' to '-a' or '-ia'. Where the feminine forms differ from expected, I've noted. Obviously in some cases, the masculine form is more usable; in others the feminine is.
A few masculine names did end in '-a'; they've often been considered unisex historically.

  • Aelius (EYE-lee-us)--"sun"
    • Aelianus (eye-lee-AHN-us) [modern feminine form: Eliana/Éliane]
  • Aemilius (eye-MEE-lee-us)--"competitor" [modern forms: Emil/EmilioEmilia/Emily]
    • Aemilianus (eye-mee-lee-AHN-us)
  • Aetius (EYE-tee-us)--"eagle"
  • Albus (AL-bus)--"white"
    • Albinus (al-BEEN-us)
  • Amabilis (ah-mah-BEE-lis)--"lovable" [modern feminine form: Mabel]
  • Amadeus (ah-mah-DEH-us)--"love of God"
  • Amandus (ah-MAHN-dus)--"worthy of love"
  • Amatus (ah-MAH-tus)--"loved"
  • Antonius (an-TOH-nee-us)--meaning unknown
  • Appius (AP-pee-us)--meaning unknown
  • Aquila (ah-KWIL-ah)--"eagle"
    • Aquilinus (ah-kwil-EEN-us)
  • Augustus (aw-GUS-tus)--"venerable"
    • Augustinus (aw-gus-TEEN-us)
  • Aurelius (aw-REH-lee-us, aw-REE-lee-us)--"golden"
    • Aurelianus (aw-reh-lee-AHN-us, aw-ree-lee-AHN-us)
  • Beatus (beh-AH-tus)--"blessed"
  • Caelius (KYE-lee-us, SYE-lee-us)--"heaven" [modern feminine form: Celia]
    • Caelinus (kye-LEE-nus, sye-LEE-nus)
  • Caietanus (kye-eh-TAHN-us)--"from Caeita/Gaeta" [modern form: Gaetano, Gaetana]
  • Caius (KYE-us)--meaning unknown
  • Callistus (kal-LIS-tus)--"most beautiful"
  • Camillus (kam-IL-lus)--meaning unknown
  • Cassius (KAS-see-us, KASH-us)--"proud"
    • Cassianus (kas-see-AHN-us)
  • Clarus (KLAR-us)--"bright, clear"
  • Claudius (CLAW-dee-us)--"lame"
  • Clemens (KLEM-ens)--"merciful". Feminine is Clementia [modern feminine form: Clementine]
  • Cloelius (kloh-EL-ee-us)--meaning unknown [modern feminine form: Clelia]
  • Columba (kol-UM-bah)--"dove" [modern form: Callum/Colm]
  • Cornelius (korn-NEE-lee-us, korn-NEH-lee-us)--"antler, horn" [figuratively, "strength"]
  • Cyprianus (sip-ree-AHN-us)--"from Cyprus"
  • Dionysius (dee-oh-NEE-see-us)--from the Greek god Dionysos [modern form: DennisDenise]
  • Donatus (don-AH-tus)--"given"
  • Drusus (DROO-sus)--meaning uncertain, poss. "strength". Feminine is Drusa or Drusilla.
  • Duilius (doo-EE-lee-us)--"war"
  • Eligius (el-EE-jee-us)--"chosen"
  • Fabius (FAH-bee-us)--"bean"
    • Fabianus (fah-bee-AHN-us)
  • Fabricius (fah-BREE-see-us)--"craftsman"
  • Faustus (FAWS-tus)--"auspicious"
    • Faustinus (faws-TEE-nus)
  • Felinus (fel-EE-nus)--"cat-like"
  • Felix (FEE-liks, FEH-liks)--"lucky". Feminine is Felicia.
    • Felicianus (feh-lee-see-AHN-us)
  • Flavius (FLAH-vee-us)--"yellow"
  • Florus (FLOHR-us)--"flower"
    • Florianus (flohr-ee-AHN-us)
  • Gratianus (grah-tee-AHN-us, gray-shee-AHN-us)--"from grace"
  • Honorius (on-OHR-ee-us)--"honor"
  • Horatius (hohr-AY-shus, hohr-AH-tee-us)--meaning uncertain, poss. "season, time", or from Egyptian god Horus.
  • Julius (JOO-lee-us)--"downy-bearded" [figuratively, "young"]
    • Julianus (joo-lee-AHN-us)
  • Junius (JOO-nee-us)--from the goddess Juno
  • Justus (JUS-tus)--"just"
    • Justinus (jus-TEE-nus)
  • Laelius (LYE-lee-us)--meaning unknown
  • Laurus (LAWR-us)--"laurel"
  • Livius (LIV-ee-us)--"envy"
    • Livianus (liv-ee-AHN-us)
  • Lucius (LOO-see-us, LOO-shus)--"light"
    • Lucianus (loo-see-AHN-us)
  • Magnus (MAG-nus)--"great"
  • Marcus (MAR-kus)--from the god Mars
  • Marius (MAR-ee-us)--also from the god Mars
    • Marianus (mar-ee-AHN-us)
  • Maximus (MAKS-ih-mus)--"greatest"
  • Nonus (NOH-nus)--"ninth"
  • Octavius (oc-TAH-vee-us, oc-TAY-vee-us)--"eighth"
  • Ovidius (oh-VEE-dee-us)--"sheep"
  • Paulus (PAWL-us)--"humble"
    • Paulinus (pawl-EE-nus)
  • Pontius (PAHN-shus, PAHN-tee-us)--meaning uncertain, poss. "sea" or "bridge"
  • Porcius (POHR-see-us, POHR-shus)--"pig" [modern feminine form: Portia]
  • Primus (PREE-mus)--"first"
  • Priscus (PRIS-kus)--"ancient". Feminine is Prisca or Priscilla
  • Quintus (KWIN-tus)--"fifth"
    • Quintinus (kwin-TEE-nus)
  • Quirinus (KWEER-in-us)--"spear" [modern form: Quirin/Corin]
  • Renatus (ren-AH-tus)--"born again" [modern forms: René, Renée/Renata]
  • Rufus (ROO-fus)--"red-haired"
    • Rufinus (roo-FEE-nus)
  • Sabinus (sah-BEEN-us)--"from Sabine"
  • Scaevola (sye-VOH-lah)--"left-handed"
  • Seneca (SEN-ek-ah)--"old" [unrelated to the Native American tribe name Seneca]
  • Sidonius (sid-OH-nee-us)--"from Sidon"
  • Silvius (SIL-vee-us)--"forest"
    • Silvanus (sil-VAH-nus) [modern form: Silas/Sylvain]
  • Tatius (TAH-tee-us)--meaning unknown
    • Tatianus (tah-tee-AHN-us)
  • Titus (TYE-tus, TEE-tus)--"honorable"
    • Titianus (tee-tee-AHN-us) [modern feminine form: Tiziana]
  • Tullius (TOO-lee-us)--meaning unknown
  • Ursus (UR-sus)--"bear"
    • Ursinus (ur-SEE-nus)
  • Valerius (val-EHR-ee-us)--"strong, healthy"
    • Valerianus (val-ehr-ee-AHN-us)
  • Velius (VEH-lee-us)--"concealed"
  • Viator (VEE-ah-tor)--"traveller". Feminine is Viatrix [modern feminine form: Beatrix]
  • Vinicius (vin-EE-see-us)--"wine"
  • Vitus (VYE-tus, VEE-tus)--"life"

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Random Fact of the Day:

Because I'm tired of seeing this bit of misinformation on naming boards--Edward has NOT been jumping in popularity because of Twilight. In fact, the cultural phenomenon seems to have discouraged just as many parents as it inspired, because Edward's steady 75-year decline doesn't really seem to have been affected at all!
(Or, alternatively, you could interpret this as Twilight not even being important enough to influence naming trends. Either way works for me.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Same Name?!--Peter

Peter is an interesting case. While some names have only a few forms and are spelled the same in several languages (Andrew, Matthew, and Anna come to mind), Peter takes a slightly different form in just about every language. And thanks to the apostle, and several saints, Peter has spread throughout the world. Impressive, since the apostle's name wasn't even Peter!
When the Bible was translated into Greek, instead of Hellenizing his name, like the translators did with most others (Channah --> Anna; Yitschaq --> Isaak; Miryam --> Maria), they swapped it out entirely for a Greek name with the same meaning: Peter was actually named Cephas.
Makes me wonder what the list below would have looked like if they'd left his name alone.

Original Aramaic form: Cephas (SEE-fas)
Greek translation: Petros [Πέτρος] (PEH-trohs)
Modern English form: Peter (PEE-ter)

Other forms:
  • Boutros (BOO-tros)--Arabic
  • Peadar (PYAH-dar)--Irish
  • Peder (PEE-dehr)--Scandinavian
  • Pedr (PAY-dr)--Welsh
  • Pedro (PEH-droh)--Portuguese, Spanish
  • Pehr (PEHR)--Swedish
  • Peio (pay-oh)--Basque
  • Petrus (PEH-tros)--Dutch, German
  • Pier (PEER)--Dutch
  • Pierce (PEERS)--English [via Pier]
  • Pierre (pee-EHR)--French
  • Pierrick (PYEHR-ick)--Breton
  • Pietari (pee-EH-tah-ree)--Finnish
  • Pietro (PYEHT-roh)--Italian

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Is "Name-Stealing" Really Increasing?

Of boys' names, by parents of girls, that is. (I'd wager than ours is the first generation to really care about "name-stealing" by family and friends)
Many parents who like "softer" names for boys, or more "modern" names, are understandably concerned about their favorite boys' names "turning girl". While I'm not convinced that teasing is a big issue for this generation--unisex names are more common than ever--I can understand the appeal of a gender-obvious name.
Tons of our current girls' names were originally boys', but since I've heard of elderly women named Billie, Freddie, George, etc., I have to wonder if giving girls masculine names (or masculine nicknames as full names) has really been jumping lately; or if we're just victims of the over-information effect, and it's really been going on for decades with most names not really "sticking" for girls. (and yes, if this seems familiar, it's because I did sort of do a similar post earlier).

So, I've gone through the Top 1000 SSA lists from 1890, 1920, 1950, 1980, and 2010 (approximately the past 5 generations); and counted up every name on the girls' side which was more common for boys at the time or within the prior 15 years (a bit arbitrary to be sure, but I needed some way to count names like Morgan, Avery, Leslie, etc., that suddenly sky-rocketed in less than a generation). I also added in any alternate spellings from the full SSA lists.
Some names were not included in this analysis because they were never widely used for boys in the past, despite being masculine in meaning: MadisonAddison, & Mackenzie, for example.

And yes, the 1890 and 1920 lists will be more prone to inaccuracy than the others (SSA registration was optional before 1937), but hopefully we'll still get a rough idea.

So, tallying it up--
1890: 66 names, 1.3% of girls. Most used: Willie, Ollie, Francis, Artie, Frankie
1920: 62 names, 1.3% of girls. Most used: Willie, Johnnie, Billie, Ollie, Francis
1950: 51 names, 1.3% of girls. Most used: Leslie, Bobbie, Jerry, Billie, Willie
1980: 43 names, 1.7% of girls. Most used: Ashley, Casey, Bobbie, Toni, Corey
2010: 31 names, 3.0% of girls. Most used: Riley, Avery, Jordyn, Jayden, Camryn

Holy crap! Honestly, I hadn't expected that big of a jump from 1980 to 2010. I also find it interesting how the number of boys' names used on girls decreased, even though the percentage of girls with boys' names increased overall.

A few interesting things:

--In the first 2 sets (1890 & 1920), almost all the names were the diminutives of boys' names, and almost always spelled ____ie.

--Nearly every "boys" name from 2010 had several spelling alternates, while only 3 did in 1890.

--Most of the boys' names used by girls over the years did not end up "going to the girls".
Out of the 155 boys' names that made it onto a girls' Top 1000 list, only 26 have become more popular for girls: Shirley (1890s), Meredith (1920s), Leslie, LaurenLynn (1940s), Dana, Kelly, Kim, Tracy (1950s), Ashley (1960s), Aubrey, Jamie, Kelsey, Lacy, Lindsay, Morgan (1970s), Blair, Sydney, Taylor (1980s), Avery, Kendall (1990s), Emerson, Emery, Quinn, Reese, Riley (2000s).

--The wider variety, but smaller percentage, of boys' names used on girls in earlier decades indicates to me that parents didn't do it because it was "cool" or "cute", but that it was done for more personal reasons, like perhaps honoring someone, or passing down a family surname. The fact that the more recent conversions became very popular, very fast, rather than over the course of decades, seems to support that.

--Rather than increasing, the overtaking of boys' names by girls seems to occur in random bursts; possibly slightly periodic. Of course, this doesn't take into account the names that "turned girl" prior to the late-1800s, like Vivian, Jocelyn, Beverly, Evelyn, and Esme.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bemusedly, I Relay..... (2011)

Yay, another headache-inducing '-ley' list. But, this time I figure out how to make the computer do it for me, for the most part. A side effect of that it is, though, that this list is in alphabetical order, rather than popularity; and the spelling listed is the simplest or the original, rather than most common.

  • Adalie
  • Adanelly
  • Adley
  • Ailey
  • Aimsley
  • Ainsley
  • Airlie
  • Aisley
  • Akili
  • Aleli
  • Allie
  • Amberley
  • Amelie
  • Anahli
  • Anaily
  • Anallely
  • Anarely
  • Anayeli
  • Angelie
  • Anjali
  • Annabellee
  • Annalee
  • Annley
  • Ansley
  • Aquetzalli
  • Araceli
  • Arceli
  • Areli
  • Arieli
  • Arlie
  • Ashley
  • Asley
  • Atalie
  • Atley
  • Aunalee
  • Aurelie
  • Avalee
  • Averly
  • Avonlea
  • Bailey
  • Benelli
  • Bentley
  • Berkeley
  • Beverly
  • Bexley
  • Billie
  • Blakeley
  • Blakley
  • Bradley
  • Brantley
  • Braylee
  • Breeley
  • Brendalee
  • Brentley
  • Briley
  • Brinley
  • Brinsley
  • Britley
  • Brixley
  • Brookley
  • Brooksley
  • Callie
  • Caralee
  • Carly
  • Cecily
  • Celie
  • Chaley
  • Chanley
  • Chantilly
  • Charlie
  • Chaylee
  • Chylee
  • Ciclaly
  • Citlali
  • Coley
  • Conley
  • Connelly
  • Coralie
  • Corley
  • Cylie
  • Dally
  • Damali
  • Daneli
  • Danielly
  • Darely
  • Darly
  • Dayeli
  • Daylee
  • Denali
  • Dennesly
  • Dianely
  • Dolly
  • Eiley
  • Eisley
  • Elee
  • Ellie
  • Emberly
  • Emily
  • Emsley
  • Ensley
  • Esli
  • Evalee
  • Everly
  • Eztli
  • Finley
  • Gabrielly
  • Gali
  • Galilee
  • Gianelly
  • Gracelee
  • Greenley
  • Hadley
  • Hailey
  • Haisley
  • Hallie
  • Hanley
  • Hannalee
  • Harley
  • Hartley
  • Hatley
  • Heavenlee
  • Heli
  • Henley
  • Hensley
  • Hiley
  • Holly
  • Holy
  • Huntley
  • Hurley
  • Huxley
  • Idali
  • Isabeli
  • Isaly
  • Isarely
  • Isley
  • Italy
  • Jadalee
  • Jakaylee
  • Janelli
  • Jareli
  • Jashley
  • Jaylee
  • Jehieli
  • Jennalee
  • Jesly
  • Jiali
  • Jolie
  • Jorley
  • Jubilee
  • Julie
  • Kahlie
  • Kaisley
  • Kamali
  • Kashley
  • Kately
  • Kaylee
  • Keeley
  • Kelly
  • Kemberly
  • Kenley
  • Kensley
  • Kentley
  • Kerly
  • Kesley
  • Ketzaly
  • Kimberly
  • Kinberly
  • Kingsley
  • Kinley
  • Kinsley
  • Kylie
  • Lailey
  • Lakely
  • Lali
  • Langley
  • Lauralee
  • Layali
  • Leelee
  • Leigh
  • Leslie
  • Lily
  • Lovely
  • Loxley
  • Lucely
  • Lylee
  • Lynlee
  • Mackinley
  • Madilee
  • Magali
  • Mahaley
  • Mahli
  • Maithili
  • Makaylee
  • Makylie
  • Malley
  • Marieli
  • Marilee
  • Marley
  • Matalie
  • Mattingly
  • Mayeli
  • Maylee
  • Mayreli
  • Mckinsley
  • Meli
  • Merly
  • Metzli
  • Mialee
  • Miley
  • Millie
  • Minelly
  • Mirely
  • Mireyli
  • Mitali
  • Mixtli
  • Molly
  • Morley
  • Myalee
  • Mythili
  • Nalleli
  • Naralie
  • Nashley
  • Natalie
  • Nayeli
  • Neely
  • Neftali
  • Nelly
  • Nevaehlee
  • Noeli
  • Nollie
  • Noralee
  • Novalee
  • Nylee
  • Oakley
  • Ollie
  • Orly
  • Pailey
  • Paisley
  • Pearlie
  • Polly
  • Presley
  • Quetzali
  • Quinley
  • Raleigh
  • Raylee
  • Ridley
  • Riley
  • Rilley
  • Ripley
  • Rosalie
  • Saheli
  • Sahily
  • Sally
  • Sarely
  • Saylee
  • Seeley
  • Shanley
  • Shaylee
  • Shelley
  • Shirley
  • Shivali
  • Shylee
  • Sibley
  • Sicily
  • Siddalee
  • Skylee
  • Solie
  • Sonali
  • Steely
  • Suley
  • Sully
  • Sumalee
  • Taisley
  • Tallie
  • Tanley
  • Taylee
  • Tenley
  • Thaily
  • Tigerlily
  • Tillie
  • Timberly
  • Tinsley
  • Truely
  • Tylee
  • Vallie
  • Vanelly
  • Veralee
  • Wakely
  • Waverly
  • Wesley
  • Whitley
  • Wiley
  • Wrigley
  • Yaeli
  • Yameli
  • Yaneli
  • Yanisley
  • Yardley
  • Yareli
  • Yaresli
  • Yesli
  • Yetzali
  • Yoli
  • Yorley
  • Yuli
  • Zaylee
  • Zolie
  • Zuley
  • Zully
  • Zylie

(310 in total, in case you're wondering)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Breaking the Patterns, Part 2

Last year, I did a post on names that didn't use a typical construction, as of 2010. This time, I'm using my analysis of 1940 & 2011 names, which really showed which characteristics were "modern", and which were more constant.

To recap, modern boys' name trends are to start with Br-, and/or end with N (especially -son, -den, -ton) or R. Modern girls' name trends are to end in "lee", "aya", or "ia" (in any spelling), and/or be able to shorten to Addy, Maddy, Bella, Emma, or Lily.

Obviously, the number of names that don't fit these criteria are much more numerous than those that do. So, I'll be limiting this list to names with a history of usage in English, below the SSA's current top 500.

  • Aldous (AHL-dus)
  • Ambrose (AM-brohz)
  • Amos (AY-mos)
  • Angus (ANG-gus)
  • Ansel (AN-sel)
  • Arlo (AR-loh)
  • Asa (AY-sah)
  • Benedict (BEN-eh-dikt)
  • Bertram (BER-tram)
  • Blaine (BLAYN)
  • Byron (BYE-ron)
  • Cary (KEHR-ee)
  • Cassius (KAS-see-us, KASH-us)
  • Cecil (SES-il, SEE-sil)
  • Cedric (SED-rik)
  • Clarence (CLEHR-ens)
  • Clark (KLAHRK)
  • Claude (CLAWD)
  • Cornelius (kohr-NEE-lee-us)
  • Cosmo (KOZ-moh)
  • Craig (KRAYG)
  • Cyril (SEER-il)
  • Cyrus (SYE-rus)
  • Dashiell (DASH-yel)
  • Dell (DEL)
  • Dorian (DOHR-ee-an)
  • Douglas (DUG-las)
  • Duncan (DUN-kan)
  • Edmund (ED-mund)
  • Edric (ED-rik)
  • Eugene (YOO-jeen)
  • Forrest (FOR-rest)
  • Francis (FRAN-sis)
  • Franklin (FRANK-lin)
  • Frederick (FRED-er-ik)
  • Harris (HEHR-ris)
  • Heath (HEETH)
  • Harvey (HAR-vee)
  • Howard (HOW-ard)
  • Jethro (JETH-roh)
  • Kendrick (KEN-drik)
  • Lloyd (LOYD)
  • Loren (LOH-ren)
  • Matthias (mah-THYE-as)
  • Myron (MYE-ron)
  • Neil/Neal/Niall (NEE-al)
  • Nigel (NYE-jel)
  • Quincy (KWIN-see)
  • Rhett (RET)
  • Roderick (ROD-er-ik)
  • Roland (ROHL-and)
  • Rufus (ROO-fus)
  • Simeon (SIM-ee-on)
  • Stewart/Stuart (STOO-art)
  • Thaddeus (THAD-ee-us)
  • Tobias (toh-BYE-as)
  • Vaughn (VAWN)
  • Wade (WAYD)

  • Agatha (AG-ah-thah)
  • Agnes (AG-nes)
  • Aldith (ALH-dith)
  • Anita (ah-NEE-tah)
  • Avis (AY-vis)
  • Blythe (BLITHE ['i' like "eye", 'th' like in "the"])
  • Bonnie (BON-nee)
  • Clarissa (klehr-IS-sah)
  • Clotilda (kloh-TIL-dah)
  • Coral (KOHR-al)
  • Damaris (DAM-ah-ris, dah-MAHR-is)
  • Dana (DAY-nah)
  • Davina (dah-VEE-nah)
  • Deirdre (DEER-dreh)
  • Dinah (DYE-nah)
  • Dorothy (DOHR-oh-thee)
  • Esmée (es-MAY, EZ-may)
  • Faye (FAY)
  • Frances (FRAN-ses)
  • Geneva (jen-EE-vah)
  • Greta (GRET-ah)
  • Harriet (HEHR-ee-et)
  • Honora (on-OHR-ah)
  • Imogen (IM-ah-jen)
  • Isadora (iz-ah-DOHR-ah)
  • Katrina (kah-TREE-nah)
  • Kirsten (KER-sten, KEER-sten)
  • Lenore (len-OHR)
  • Leona (lee-OH-nah)
  • Lois (LOH-is)
  • Lorena (loh-REE-nah, loh-REH-nah)
  • Magdalene (MAG-dah-leen, MAG-dah-len)
  • Mahala (mah-HAY-lah)
  • Mara (MAHR-ah)
  • Margo/Margot (MAR-goh)
  • Marian (MEHR-ee-an)
  • Millicent (MIL-lih-sent)
  • Petra (PET-rah)
  • Philippa (FIL-ip-pah)
  • Ramona (rah-MOH-nah)
  • Rosamond (ROZ-ah-mund, ROHZ-ah-mund)
  • Rowena (roh-EE-nah)
  • Sibyl/Sybil (SIB-il)
  • Tabitha (TAB-ih-thah)
  • Tamara (TAM-ah-rah)
  • Ursula (UR-sul-ah)
  • Verity (VEHR-ih-tee)
  • Willa (WIL-lah)
  • Yvette/Evette/Ivette (ee-VET)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Usual Name, Unexpected Nickname--Margaret

As the centuries have passed, so have our nickname conventions. Most of the historical nicknames for Margaret seem fusty or nonsensical now--Madge, Peggy, Marge, Midge. Even many foreign nicknames have come and gone, or are now considered independent names--MeganRita, Greta, GretelGretchen, Margot.
Of course, the "is it mature enough for a grown woman?" Maggie is still popular, and Maisie is definitely hip.
Sheesh, are there even any "new" nicknames for Margaret left?

  • Gita (GEE-tah)--Czech
  • Gosia (GAWSH-ah)--Polish
  • Greetje (KRAYT-yeh)--Dutch
  • Mamie/Mayme (MAY-mee)--English
  • Manci (MAWN-tsee)--Hungarian
  • Märta (MEHR-tah)--Swedish
  • Marzena (mahr-ZHEH-nah)--Polish
  • Meta (MEH-tah)--Scandinavian
  • Molly (MOL-lee)--English

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fireworks Day!

Happy Fourth of July to my fellow Americans!
After toying with a couple of vaguely-Independence-Day-related ideas, I decided to do something nice and simple--a list of the names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Admittedly, this is partially because most of my lists are girl-centered, and this one's pretty much guaranteed to be all male! Another reason is simply that I can't name more than 3 or 4 signers!
Rather embarrassing, actually.

  • Abraham
  • Arthur
  • Benjamin (x3)
  • Button
  • Caesar
  • Carter
  • Charles
  • Edward
  • Elbridge
  • Francis (x3)
  • George (x6)
  • James (x2)
  • John (x6)
  • Joseph
  • Josiah
  • Lewis
  • Lyman
  • Oliver
  • Philip
  • Richard (x2)
  • Robert (x2)
  • Roger
  • Samuel (x3)
  • Stephen
  • Thomas (x6)
  • William (x6)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Then and Now: 1940

Trends in general fascinate me, and being a math nerd, I just have to try and quantify them somehow. My alphabetical/pattern analysis for 2011 can be found here (warning: lots of percentages), and I thought it'd be interesting to see how the trends have changed over time.
Unfortunately, the SSA data before 1937 isn't terribly reliable--SS cards were optional before then, so the data is skewed towards the types of parents who willingly registered their kids with the SSA. On top of that, the data-collection techniques weren't as refined, so some of the data is questionable (Were men really being called 'Wm' & 'Geo', or were they actually 'William' & 'George'? Were there really over 340 boys named 'Mary' in 1930, and 400 women named 'John'?).

So, anyway, I've done an analysis on the full SSA list from 1940.

The first glaring difference is the number of names--there were over 3x as many names/spellings in use in 2011 as there were in 1940--and no, the birth rate has not tripled since then. It hasn't even doubled. Our quest for "uniqueness" seems to have succeeded on that front.
To put some numbers on it: the average girls' name (or spelling) in 1940 was given to 235 babies; the average boys' name to 301. In 2011, the average girls' name was given to 99 babies, the average boys' name to 142.

No modern trend is more pronounced than the "-aiden"s. In 2011, over 97000 boys were given names that rhymed with Aidan, nearly 5% of all baby boys. In 1940, only 151 boys were given "aiden" names--Hayden, Graden, and Graydon--0.001% of all baby boys.

Surprisingly, boys' names seem to have undergone more phonetic changes than girls.
In 1940, 17% of boys were given names that end with D. In 2011, 2% were.
In 1940, 15% of boys were given names ending with an "ee" sound. In 2011, 8% were.
In 1940, 13% of boys were given names that end with S. In 2011, 6% were.
In 1940, 0.15% of boys were given names that end in the "den" or "ten" sounds. In 2011, 9.2% were.
In 1940, 0.5% of boys were given names that start with Br-. In 2011, 3.5% were.
In 1940, 0.25% of boys were given names that end in 'son'. In 2011, 4.5% were.
In 1940, 4% of boys were given names that end in R. In 2011, 8% were.
In 1940, 13% of boys were given names that end in N. In 2011, 34% were.

If percentages make your eyes swim, here's a quick summary:
Boys born in 1940 were 8x as likely to have a name ending in D, nearly 2x as likely to have a name ending in "ee", and over twice as likely to have a name ending in S.
Boys born in 2011 are over 62x as likely to have a name ending in "den" or "ten", 7x as likely to have a name starting with Br, 18x more likely to have a name ending in "son", 2x as likely to have a name ending in R, and nearly 3x as likely to have a name ending in N.

As for the girls, the changes have been more in letter combinations, rather than in starts or endings.
The percentage of girls with names ending in A, for instance, hasn't really changed. Neither has the percentage of girls with names ending in "ee", or "anne/anna", or "lyn"; or starting with a rare letter. So, despite the fact that parents are historically more 'daring' with girls' names than for boys, they're still sort of just being 'daring' in the same old acceptable ways. The modern tendency for parents to name for a certain nickname is  pretty darn apparent, too.

In 1940, 8.8% of girls were given names containing "th". In 2011, 2.3% were.
In 1940, 7.2% of girls were given names ending in the "een" sound. In 2011, 0.8% were.
In 1940, 0.5% of girls were given names starting with Ad- or Mad-. In 2011, 3.1% were.
In 1940, 0.17% of girls were given names containing "bel". In 2011, 2.3% were.
In 1940, 0.75% of girls were given names containing "em". In 2011, 3% were.
In 1940, 0.45% of girls were given names containing "lil". In 2011, 1.7% were.
In 1940, 2.3% of girls were given name containing "ell" or "ella". In 2011, 6.2% were.
In 1940, 4% of girls were given names ending in a "lee" sound. In 2011, 10% were.
In 1940, 6.5% of girls were given names ending in the "eye-ah" or "ee-ah" sounds. In 2011, 12% were.

In summary:
Girls born in 1940 were nearly 4x as likely to have a name containing "th", and over 9x as likely to have a name ending in "een".
Girls born in 2011 are over 13x as likely to have a name with "bel", 6x more likely to have a name starting with Ad- or Mad-, nearly 4x as likely to have a name with "em", 4x as likely to have a name with "lil", nearly 2x as likely to have a name with "ell", over 2x as likely to have a name ending in "lee", and almost 2x as likely to have a name ending in "eye-ah" or "ee-ah".
Unsurprisingly, only 2 names that ended in a "son" sound appeared for girls in 1940, neither of which were patronymics--Susan and Alison/Allison. They accounted for 0.58% of girls. 

Now, of course, this is simply an alphabetic/phonetic analysis, so it can't really the capture the popularity change of types of names, like word, nature, boys' names on girls, surname, etc (although many of the final are covered by "-son" and "-den/ten"). Some of changes can be at least partially explained by the rise or decline of names from certain origins--for example, the decrease in "___d" names for boys and "__th_" names for girls likely corresponds to Germanic names falling from style (Alfred, Arnold, Gerald, Edith, Bertha).
Parents are also much more willing to import names, or use names from their own ethnicity; rather than Anglicize an ethnic name, or flat-out choose an "American" name--especially if they follow a popular trend or have a famous namesake. Aaliyah, for instance, wasn't an acceptable name in the US even 20 years ago, but now it's in the top 50 (and is probably much higher if you include all the variant spellings).