Not so long ago, globe-trotting was the exception. Immigrants quickly adopted the language of their new homes, and we tended to marry and raise children with partners from similar religious and cultural backgrounds.
Now, in our globally-connected world, many families are faced with naming across cultures. The high-profile parents in this week’s round-up can claim roots in Colombia, Cuba, France, Sweden, as well as the US, UK, and Australia. The baby names they chose reflect this diversity.
Some names seem like an attempt to bridge several cultures, like the Monegasque arrival. Others, like one of Michael Jordan’s new daughters, or Melissa George’s son, seem to celebrate one parent’s roots.
The trend isn’t just limited to celebrities and royals. Plenty of us are trying to solve naming riddles: combining Irish roots with Polynesian heritage, or finding Japanese names that work well in English.
If we’re all the jet-set, is it any wonder that our children’s names are so rich with influences from French and Spanish, from history recent and far past? There’s a healthy splash of creativity and daring, too, which seems fitting in a world filled with so much possibility
On to the nine most newsworthy baby names this week:
Reality television has become a real influence in baby naming.
And why not?
There’s no shortage of reality stars, either.
Let’s talk about middle names.
Family names, filler names, fallback names – there are so many approaches to choosing your child’s middle that it can make landing on the perfect first feel almost easy.
Factor in a growing number of children who receive not one, but two middles, and it can become quite the puzzle.
Middles that are meaningful and interesting and maybe downright original have their place, and I’m an unapologetic fan of big, stand-out middles.
This week’s daring middle names in the news are:
As the mother of a five year-old girl, Frozen was required viewing over the recent school holidays. Somewhere between the first appearance of talking snowman Olaf and the happy ending, I found myself musing about the popularity of Disney-princess names.
I’ve long thought that any Disney princess name was destined for success – a meteoric rise up the popularity charts, a future written on the backpack of a generation of little girls.
But is that true? To date, there are eleven official members of the Disney princess pantheon, plus one television royal and the Frozen sisters.
Let’s take a look at more than 80 years worth of Disney princesses. Do their names live happily ever after?
The most popular names for boys used to hold steady for years. In 1932, the ten most popular names for boys born in the US were Robert, James, John, William, Richard, Charles, Donald, George, Joseph, and Thomas. Twenty years later, eight of those ten names were still dominant. Fast-forward to the 1980s, and 30% of the 1932 boys’ Top Ten still ranked.
As for the girls? That’s a different picture. Between 1932 and 1952, seven of the girls’ Top Ten fell. Shirley and Doris made way for Linda and Susan, and the change has continued at a rapid pace. None of the 1930s or 1950s girls’ favorites still held a top spot by 2012.
And yet there are more wearable names for boys than ever before. Plenty of parents are still passing down grandpa Joseph’s name, but the pressure to do so seems to be on the decline. We live in a more accepting age, where diversity in names feels quite normal.