Category: Spellings, Sounds and Initials
by Tiana Putric
It’s official, portmanteaus – words created by combining parts and meanings of two or more words – have slipped into almost every part of our lives. We have become expert word blenders joining words (chocoholic), couples (Brangelina), foods (Cronut), meals (brunch), languages (Spanglish), labels (screenager), tech terms (vlog), recreational activities (glamping), clothing (skort), countries (Tanzania), baby names (Gracelynn), and dogs (Labradoodle); the list is endless.
Word mashups have definitely changed the way we communicate: they’re catchy, creative, and convenient. I wonder, have we name nerds overlooked this linguistic art? Most parents do not utilize portmanteaus when referring to their brood, but I think parents and children could have a lot of fun creating solo and sibset name blends.
By Abby Sandel
But what about B? Lately it’s the letter making baby name news. It’s nowhere near unseating the almighty A, but the first initial B ranked a respectable eighth for boys and ninth for girls, as of the most recent count.
Let’s take a look at some of the best of the Bs, from the classic and the understated to the bright and the bold.
We recently posted the list of names that our Berries were most interested in over the past year– headed by Ezra and Asher, Charlotte and Amelia—but what names did they actually choose at that crucial moment when the name had to be inscribed onto the birth certificate, when all the hypotheticals were winnowed down to one single reality?
Of course we know that only a small percentage of arrivals were actually recorded in the Birth Announcement Forum, which is our only available source—(Strong hint to those expecting new arrivals in 2016!), but still more than three hundred Berries did enter there picks. The diversity and originality of the Nameberry community is reflected in the fact that most of the names were unique choices.
Having said that, which names were the most popular?
On the girls’ side, Pearl and Rose tied for top place for those used as both first and middle names, tying at 8 each, with Pearl the leading middle. Classic William was in top place for boys in the combined categories, tying with James as favorite middle.
The most frequently used first initial vowel was E for girls and A for boys. For consonant beginnings, M girls won by a landside; for boys it was the letter C—a gendered contrast in soft and harder sounds.
By David Sidhu
Guest blogger David Sidhu shares some of his fascinating research on the personality traits people associate with certain names. And if you’d like to delve further into the subject, he’s provided some references at the end.
What’s in a name? Is there any scientific reason to expect that we might associate certain kinds of information with a name, based on the way it sounds or feels to pronounce? Yes! It seems that certain kinds of names are associated with not only particular shapes, but also personality traits!
But, before we get to names, we have to take a few steps back, to 1929, when Wolfgang Köhler first claimed that certain made up words (or “nonwords”) might go along better with certain shapes. He suggested that if people were presented with two shapes: a round one and a spiky one, and told that one was a “baluma” and one was a “takete,” everyone would naturally pair “baluma” with the round shape and “takete” with the sharp shape. His assertion has since been demonstrated experimentally a number of different times: people associate nonwords like “bouba”, “maluma” or “luna” with round shapes; and nonwords like “kiki”, “teetay” or “paka” with sharp shapes. This has come to be known as the “Bouba/Kiki Effect.”
By Abby Sandel