Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I cam across something today that I thought was a great idea - a map of the American 2012 most popular names by state. So for a bit of fun I thought I'd create my own version for Australia. It may not be quite as polished as the original, but I think they came out OK!
Sunday, May 19, 2013
|Both Mathai (pictured above) and Music entered the charts in 2012|
Every year names move up and down, on and off the US Social Security Administration (SSA) charts of popular names. A name will appear on the charts if it has been given to more than five babies of one gender in that year. Usually when a name enters the lists, it enters for one gender first and takes some time to chart for the other gender (if it ever does).
Take the now unisex name Cameo for example. Cameo first entered the girls charts in 1957. But it wasn't until 1979 – more than 20 years later - that it started to chart for boys too. It also charts much more irregularly for boys than it does for girls.
So it's fair to say that it takes quite a special name to simultaneously enter both the boys and the girls charts for the first time in the same year. There is something about it that has captured the imagination of parents, who think it has a sound and feel that could work for either gender.
In 2012 there were five such names to enter the charts, which are:
IREOLUWA - Given to 11 girls and 8 boys in 2012
Also written IreOluwa, apparently it is pronounced ee-ray-o-LOO-wah. I've never actually heard it in person though, so if this is wrong feel free to correct me in the comments below!
Ireolewa comes from the Nigerian language of the Yoruba people, consisting of Ire, meaning a 'blessing or positive thing' and Oluwa meaning 'God', hence this name most likely means 'blessing from God'. Many Yoruba names contain the element Oluwa, and Ireoluwa is quite similar to Oreoluwa, which means 'gift of God'.
This is quite an appealing sounding name with a beautiful meaning – but may seem disrespectful if your family/child is not of Nigerian or even African descent. A great option if you are though.
KENTLEE - Given to 5 girls and 6 boys in 2012
In recent years we've seen almost every spelling of Kinley, Kinsley, Kenley, and Kensley imaginable. Then came Kentley and Kentleigh. I guess it was only a matter of time before people branched out a little more and came up with Kentlee. Another smoosh, Kent means 'edge' and 'Lee' means 'meadow', so Kentlee would mean 'meadow's edge'.
As a name, this is not quite as soft sounding as it's predecessors. It does however have quite a modern, surname-y feel to it that is quite popular at the moment. However it is likely to get slightly lost in this group of similar sounding names. Interestingly, Kentley has also charted for the both genders in the last couple of years, but the Kentleigh spelling has so far been reserved for girls only.
MATHAI - Given to 10 girls and 8 boys in 2012
If you missed the second season of 'The Voice' in America, you may not know where the inspiration for the name Mathai comes from. Sharon Mathai – known only as Mathai – is a singer from Texas who was born in Queens to Indian parents. She made it to the top ten on 'The Voice' as a member of Adam Levine's team after a strong performance of Adele's 'Rumour Has It' in the blind auditions , and has recently released her debut single 'Once Again'.
Mathai is pronounced mah-TIE, and it's easy to see why parents are attracted to it for both boys and girls. Nickname Matty is popular for both genders, as is the name Tye/Ty/Thai. It's quite an attractive sounding name. If Mathai's career takes off the way the judges on 'The Voice' think it will, we could be seeing a lot more of this name.
MUSIC - Given to 6 girls and 6 boys in 2012
I find it fairly amusing that with all the time I've spent pondering about musically related names, I missed the most obvious one – Music. It's fabulous in it's simplicity, and I'm surprised it hasn't appeared on the charts before now considering the popularity of word names. Could be a very cool name to have.
ZIKORA - Given to 6 girls and 10 boys in 2012
The last name on this list is also a Nigerian name, this time from the Igbo people. Zikora is actually an abbreviated form (or nickname) for the longer names Zikoranachidimma, Zikoranachukwudimma or Zikoranaudodimma. The first two of these mean 'show the world that God is great', while the third means 'show the world that peace is great', so Zikora would have both of these meanings.
I'm not sure how this one is pronounced, although it's likely zi-KOR-ah, which is quite spunky sounding. Especially with that Z sound. Since it's more of a nickname than a “traditional” African name, it's one that could possibly also work well for people without an African background.
Overall it's a pretty cool list of new entrants – I can see why they appealed to parents of both boys and girls. Now only time will tell if these name will be a flash in the pan or will have real staying power.
Friday, May 17, 2013
|'Taurus' by Lynnette Shelley|
I noticed this one recently on a boy who had been entered in the 2012 Bonds Baby competition, and was immediately struck by it. It has what I tend to think of as a 'Hunger Games'-esque feel about it - one part recognisable Latin, one part futuristic sci-fi. And is just generally a pretty cool name.
The word Taurean (pronounced Tor-EE-an or TOR-ee-an) is most instantly recognisable as the description for someone born under the sign of Taurus. Taurus is Latin for 'bull', Taurean most likely meaning 'bull like'. The bull is also the symbol for the star sign, which is an earth sign, and falls between the (approximate) dates of May 20 - June 20. It is thought to represent the Egyptian sacred bull - which symbolised fertility and growth - and Greek God Zeus' tendency to take the form of a bull when among mortals on Earth. According to astrology Taurean signature traits are dependability, persistence, loyalty, patience and generosity - not bad traits to hope for in a child!
While many will automatically associate Taurean with the star sign, fans of the shows 'Battlestar Galactica' and 'Caprica' will also recognise it as a race of people from the colony of Taura on the planet Tauron (both of which would also make pretty cool names). The Adama family is the most featured Tauron family in these shows, as William Adama is the commander of the Battlestar Galactica. For another science fiction reference, there is also a Taurean system in the 'Star Trek' world, which included a female only inhabited planet called Taurus II.
Taken as a group of names, Taurus has seen consistent use for boys in the US since 1967, and if you meet any female Taurus's they were most likely born in the 70's. Taura has been much more popular for girls, never charting for boys, while Tauron has never charted in the US. Taurean however has been consistently more popular than Taurus, first appearing in the charts in 1981 for both boys and girls. Although it dropped off the girls chart within a few years, it has appeared in the boys chart every year since it entered. It's highest position was #554 in 1983.
I love that Taurean is a strong, earthy sounding name, yet slightly less overt than Bear, Tiger, Wolf or the like. It could be used to honour a loved one born under this star sign, a favourite sports team with a bull as their mascot, or even someone who works on Wall Street, where the charging bull bronze sculpture is a landmark. Or if you love the idea but want something even subtler, Bewitching Names recently did a great post on Taurus inspired names.
The only problem I see is that a person named Taurean would always be asked if they are a Taurus. And I can't decide if it's too cheesy for a Taurus to have this name, or if it would be stranger to have this name if Taurus wasn't your star sign. What do you think?