Friday, September 21, 2012

Too Many Variants! (2011)

I have a feeling this won't have changed much from 2010, but what the heck? Maybe I can also try to make sense of what makes a name likely to be "creatively" spelled.
Yet again, these are the names from the boys' top 200, and girls' top 100, with 20 or more alternate spellings.
↓ indicates a name was given to fewer children than in 2010; ↑ to more.
(I used the lists compiled over at NameNerds, in case you're wondering, and of course there is a bit of subjectivity. For instance, is Caleigh "kay-lee" or "cal-lee"? It's listed with Kaylee, but I imagine that both pronunciations are in use.)


  • 59 spellings--Kayden ↓ (yup, that's 4 more spellings than last year!)
  • 54 spellings--Giovanni ↓ (up 8 spellings from last year!)
  • 47 spellings--Aiden ↑ (up 5)
  • 38 spellings--Jayden ↓ (down 8)
  • 34 spellings--Kason ↑ (up 4)
  • 31 spellings--Josiah ↑ (up 4)
  • 28 spellings--Zachary ↓ (down 3)
  • 27 spellings--Cameron ↑ (down 2), Isaac ↑ (down 4), Jaylen ↓ (up 2)
  • 26 spellings--Zayden ↑ (up 2)
  • 25 spellings--Brayden ↓ (down 1), Braylon ↑ (same), Isaiah ↑ (down 4), Nicholas ↓ (down 4)
  • 24 spellings--Malachi ↓ (up 7)
  • 23 spellings--Caleb ↓ (down 7), Grayson ↑ (up 8)
  • 22 spellings--Elijah ↓ (down 2)
  • 21 spellings--Damian ↓ (down 3)

  • 82 spellings--Arianna ↓ (down 8)
  • 74 spellings--Kaylee ↓ (down 6)
  • 69 spellings--Aaliyah ↑ (down 3)
  • 62 spellings--Makayla ↓ (down 11)
  • 58 spellings--Jocelyn ↓ (down 11), Kaelyn ↓ (down 9)
  • 57 spellings--Madelyn ↓ (down 1)
  • 41 spellings--Abigail ↓ (up 1), Aniya ↓ (up 3)
  • 40 spellings--Amaya ↑ (up 1)
  • 39 spellings--Mackenzie ↑ (down 2)
  • 37 spellings--Brianna ↓ (down 8), Liliana ↑ (down 2)Riley ↓ (down 3)
  • 36 spellings--Hailey ↓ (down 4)
  • 35 spellings--Kaitlyn ↓ (up 3)
  • 34 spellings--Alaina ↑ (down 1)
  • 31 spellings--Natalie ↓ (up 5)
  • 30 spellings--Emily ↓ (up 1), Kylie ↓ (down 1), Nevaeh ↓ (same)
  • 29 spellings--Chloe ↓ (same), Kennedy ↑ (down 4), Peyton ↓ (up 1)
  • 28 spellings--Adalyn ↑ (up 2), Amelia ↑ (down 5)
  • 27 spellings--Addison ↓ (down 4), Kaydence ↓ (down 2)
  • 26 spellings--Allison ↓ (up 9), Juliana ↓ (down 4), Reagan ↑ (down 1)
  • 25 spellings--Eliana ↑ (down 1)Lillian ↓ (down 2)
  • 24 spellings--Isabella ↓ (down 1), Olivia ↑ (up 2)
  • 22 spellings--Bailey  (same), Callie ↑ (up 2), Destiny ↓ (up 2), Madison ↓ (down 6)
  • 21 spellings--Kendall ↑ (up 9), Zoey ↑ (up 4)
  • 20 spellings--Katherine ↑ (up 1)

--It's interesting to see the commonalities with these names. They all have at least one of the following traits, usually more:
1) be vowel-heavy, especially long vowels ("ay", "eye", "ee")
2) contain the K and/or S sounds
3) have 3 or more syllables 
4) have good double-letter potential (DD, LL, SS, NN, etc)


--I'm also curious as to whether the number of alternates indicates a name's trendiness. I guess it's time for me to make some predictions, and then wait several months to see if they prove true. 

My predictions for names that will keep rising (more children + more spellings): 
Aiden, Kason, Josiah, Zayden, Grayson, Amaya, Adalyn, Olivia, Callie, Kendall, Zoey, Katherine

My predictions for names on the way out (fewer children + fewer spellings): 
Jayden, Zachary, Brayden, Nicholas, Caleb, Elijah, Damian, Arianna, Kaylee, Makayla, Jocelyn, Kaelyn, Madelyn, Brianna, Riley, Hailey, Kylie, Addison, Kaydence, Juliana, Lillian, Isabella, Madison

Now, a bit trickier--names with fewer children + more spellings. My interpretation is that these names are starting to overstay their welcome, so while some parents turn to alternate spellings in an effort to be "different", others give up the name altogether. So, these are names I think are more slowly on the way out
Kayden, Giovanni, Jaylen, Malachi, Abigail, Aniya, Kaitlyn, Natalie, Emily, Peyton, Allison, Destiny

And even more uncertain--names with more children + fewer spellings. My interpretation is that those who like "unique" names/spellings are becoming bored with them, but they've become established enough for parents who prefer traditional names/spellings. These names are becoming classics, or are at least in for the long haul
Cameron, Isaac, Isaiah, Aaliyah, Mackenzie, Liliana, Alaina, Kennedy, Amelia, Reagan, Eliana 


So, remind me to revisit this next Mother's Day!