Category: baby name spellings
She’s found the perfect name for her Fall 2016 baby. But how to spell it? The Name Sage wades into the data to find the best answer – but wants to hear your opinion, too!
I’m trying to decide on a name for my little girl and I’m stuck.
The options are either just Calli or a longer version of the name, like Calianna. (You pronounce the –anna like Anna in Frozen.) Or maybe Calli (first name) with Anna (middle name) – except I might merge it into Calianna anyway.
I like short and simple, but I like the longer name, too. But will spelling be a problem? Pronunciation?
My name doesn’t really have nicknames, so it’s always been pretty simple! I’d love some input.
The Name Sage replies:
When the 2013 US Popular Baby Names list came out back in May, we ran Kelli Brady aka The Name Freak‘s wonderful Playground Analysis blog, with her count of the REAL Top 50 baby names. Kelli tallies all spelling variations of the top names to arrive at their actual rankings, which puts Aiden et al instead of Noah at Number 1 for boys, for instance, and bumps Jackson (and Jaxen, Jaxon, and Jaxson) up to Number 2.
Our focus is usually on which names are MORE popular than you’d think when you add in all their spelling variations. The idea is that parents want to be forewarned when they’re likely to hear their favorite baby names far more often than they’d guess based on the official rankings. Zoe and Aubrey, counting all spellings, are actually in the Top 10 for girls, for example, while Kayden and his many near-identical twins rank not at Number 93 but at Number 9.
But what about those baby names that are LESS popular than they seem judging by the official statistics? Parents may veer away from some names, both classic and modern, that are actually somewhat more distinctive than they appear. I’m not talking about names that are a couple of rungs further down the ladder, based on Kelli‘s analysis, but those that are significantly softer by our own subjective measure.
The point is: If you’re shying away from these baby names because you believe they’re too popular, maybe you owe them a second look. They are:
A was the most popular first initial for girls’ names in 2009, the last year for which there are official US statistics, and the most popular first letter overall, with one in eight babies getting a name that starts with A.
Boys’ names were led by J names, starting with the Number 1 Jacob.
C or K? A lot of parents see these initials as interchangeable, with names from the classic (Cate or Kate) to the trendy (Kaylee or Caleigh) . And of course, international variations of certain names may make the first initial C in some cases — Christopher, for instance — but K is others, as with the Dutch or German Kristof.
Kids with names that start with D do worse in school than those whose start with A, B, and C, according to one study.
Perhaps you’ve picked out a name you thought was new and different, only to find you were inadvertently following the trends. Or you’ve been “saving” a favorite name so long that, now that you finally have a chance to use it, it’s no longer as fresh as it was when you picked it.
The solution? Tweak that name.
Don’t get us wrong: Many of these names are pretty cool already. Cool and beautiful and interesting and all those good things. But still, there’s sometimes a way to ratchet them up a notch or two, and that’s what we’ve done here.
Instead of ………………..Consider
On a beautiful Saturday in July, I found myself where most people would love to be on a beautiful Saturday in July: sitting in a painfully boring continuing education seminar, hopelessly trying to remain awake. The air conditioner must have been set at a brisk 52 degrees, and after catching a glimpse of my now cerulean blue toes, I wondered if my lips had suffered a similar fate. My chattering teeth thankfully prevented me from entirely nodding off, but I was in need of a more cerebral distraction. Desperate for entertainment, I decided to count the goosebumps on my lower left arm, first by twos and then by threes.
As the counting fun began, I happened to glance at a piece of paper in front of the 20-something-year-old woman sitting to my left, and I realized that she had written her name in the upper right hand corner. Ever the name nerd, I simply had to take a peek, and after a lingering glance, I discovered that her name was Mykailah. Figuring it was code for Michaela, I naturally wondered about my other neighbor’s name. Pretending to do some right arm goosebump counting, I quickly looked at her paper, and was pleased to meet Tyffani. Mykailah and Tyffani? Tyffani and Mykailah? I was now the official filling inside of a yooneek name sandwich.