Category: Berry Juice
In this year’s third-grade classes, teachers might have noticed an unusual number of Kaylas, Katies and Kyles. This follows an earlier bump for Alexes and Amandas, and other names that start with A. Why? One factor might be…the weather.
As part of our research on trends and how ideas catch on, my colleagues and I analyzed more than 125 years of data on the popularity of baby names. We found that names that begin with K increased 9 percent after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. And names that start with A were 7 percent more common after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. It wasn’t that people named their babies after the storms. (In fact, fewer people named their children Katrina and Andrew after each respective hurricane.) Rather, it was similar sounding names that spiked after particular storms. Predicting cultural trends is of great interest to companies, consumers and cultural critics. Will a new song be a hit or a flop? Will turquoise be the new black? Will a particular public policy idea catch on or fizzle fast? There are big stakes — big rewards — in being able to accurately forecast cultural trends.
By Abigail Cukier
As we all know, choosing a name for your baby can be a daunting task. Many factors come into play – trends, tastes, opinions from relatives. But parents are also often guided by religious or cultural traditions. Here are some naming customs from around the world.
Personally, when naming my own children, we had to be careful not to choose anything too similar to that of a loved one, because for Ashkenazi Jews this goes against tradition. We usually name a baby after a deceased relative. Some will use the full name, while others use just the first letter. For example, I am named after my grandfather, Arthur.
This is to honour loved ones who have died but also to a superstition. The old belief was that there might be a mix-up and the angel of death might take the baby instead of the older relative.
On the other hand, among Sephardic Jews, who originated in Spain or Portugal, it is actually an honour to name a child after a parent or living relative.
Babies usually receive an English and a Hebrew name. Some parents translate the child’s secular name while others choose a separate Hebrew name.
A boy is named on the eighth day after the birth during the bris (ritual circumcision). Loved ones have the honour of carrying the baby and often the grandfather holds him during the ceremony. A girl is named in the synagogue, where the father reads from the Torah (Bible) and the baby and mom are blessed.
Everyone loves a freshly hatched word name or a fledgling celebrity baby name, and many of us appreciate names that stem from flowers, trees, and animals. But for the true biophile, the bug-sketching natural philosopher or the biochemistry disciple who chops thale cress in the lab? Here are some worthy tribute names for the lovers of the life sciences.
Rosalind (Rosalind Elsie Franklin): Rosalind Franklin was an X-ray crystallographer and unsung hero of molecular biology, and her diffraction patterns gave competitor-colleagues James Watson and Francis Crick crucial insight on the three-dimensional structure of DNA. Her death at age 37 disqualified her for the 1962 Nobel Prize for Medicine. The meaning of Rosalind is as prepossessing as Dr. Franklin’s acclaimed x-ray photographs—“pretty rose”.
Jane (Valerie Jane Morris Goodall): Jane is a true classic, not only in the English-speaking world of names but also in conservation biology. Goodall’s observations on chimpanzee behavior have done much to promote empathy toward animals. The name of the childhood toy chimpanzee that inspired her enthusiasm for animals was Jubilee, and later, one of her favorite female chimps she dubbed Gremlin. Gremlin may not be the next great classic for a baby girl, but other renowned conservationists with classic names will inspire: Helen Beatrix Potter and Rachel Carson.
by Tara Ryazansky
It seems like I can’t check my email or stand in a grocery store line these days without being bombarded with images of pregnant celebrities. I’m not complaining though. A new pregnancy announcement means we can expect an interesting name announcement to be coming. But instead of waiting around I’ll make another round of predictions myself.
Singer Kelly Clarkson and her new husband are expecting their first child together. Baby will join siblings Savannah and Seth from their dad’s previous relationship. Kelly is already gushing that she has names picked out and hopes to have a girl. Will she share her husband’s love of ‘S’ names?
My guesses: Samuel, Levi, Wyatt, Scarlett, Aubrey, Cassidy
Once Upon A Time co-stars Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas are expecting their first baby. I hope that whatever they pick is as ethereal and sweet as Ginnifer seems to be. I could see this couple picking something straight out of a fairytale.
My guesses: Miles, Jem, Digby, Fern, Plum, Ione
Here in America, we honor the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but what of the poor Scots? Their national saint’s celebration, St. Andrew’s Day, is all but ignored. This year it falls on November 30th, and so we thought we would rectify that omission with K.M. Sheard’s selection of some of her favorite uncommon Scottish names.
By K. M. Sheard of Nook of Names
Affrica — The Anglicized form of the Gaelic Oighrig, an ancient name. Its meaning isn’t known for certain, but most agree the most likely source is the Old Irish Aithbhreac. It is found in a number of other forms across the centuries, including Africa, Affreca and Effrick. One bearer was a Viking princess of the Isle of Man, who married John de Courcy, the twelfth-century de facto king of Ulster.