Category: baby naming tips
Some of the most powerful and memorable names in popular culture are to be found in the pages of comic books. So could there be some tactics used by their creators that could be used to craft a strong, easily remembered baby name? Here are a few techniques you might apply:
1. ADOPT ALLITERATION!
One of the most common comic book tricks to making a name stick in your mind is alliteration, one that works because it inserts a repetitive element into the name, giving it a sing-song quality that makes it easier to remember. In fact, Stan Lee, the creator of classics like Spider-Man, often used alliteration to name his major human characters (Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Pepper Potts) so that he himself could better remember their names. Not only did he find it relatively easy to recall those characters’ names, but so did his loyal fan base and even people who knew little about comics. After all, even if you don’t know that Spider-Man gained his powers from a radioactive spider bite, chances are you recognize and remember his civilian name: Peter Parker. This is one adaptable technique that would be a way to make your baby’s name a memorable one — using a first name that begins with the same consonant or vowel sound as his last name.
2. DO DOUBLE FIRST NAMES!
Using two first names to make up a character’s name is another trick that comic book writers use to make a name stick—but obviously this is one that will only work if you happen to have an accommodating surname. Unlike first names, many last names are less familiar and therefore less memorable, but by using two names that are familiar as firsts, it’s easy to mash them together to create a full name that is easily recalled. This method is evidenced in many DC Comics characters such as Batman’s Bruce Wayne, the Green Lantern’s Alan Scott and Hal Jordan, and Superman’s Clark Kent. If your baby happen to have a last name that could also double as a first, you are in luck: he will end up with a memorable name as long as you give him a familiar first name.
3. KEEP THE NAMES SHORT!
This is another technique that will only work if your last name cooperates. Comic book character creators usually would keep the first and last names short, with each no longer than two syllables. There are exceptions to this rule, but many of the most memorable comic book names are no more than four syllables in total. This method keeps the name short and snappy, reducing the possibility of mispronunciation and recall error. If your baby will have a long last name, consider giving him or her a shorter first name in order to make the name more memorable. With a short last name, you have more options, depending on just how much you want to adhere to the comics four-syllable maximum method. (Note: Check the Nameberry message boards for some interesting discussions on ideal syllable rhythm and balance.)
Many of us spend an entire nine months – or even longer – weighing the relative merits of names for our babies.
But it’s possible to judge most names much more quickly than that, at least accurately enough to tell whether they belong on your short list.
Here, nameberry’s top quick and easy tips for judging a baby’s name.
WHAT’S YOUR INSTANT REACTION?
The book Blink theorized that the reaction we have to something in the first few seconds has important long-term meaning, and that counts for a name. Perhaps you can learn to love a name that at first seems weird and old-fashioned like Leopold or get over your image of Ruth as the kid you knew who had green teeth, but better to choose a name that, the minute you hear it, makes you feel positive and full of anticipation for meeting the person who owns it.
HOW MANY SYLLABLES DOES IT HAVE?
The most compatible first names will have a different number of syllables than your surname…and a different number from the middle name too. So a syllable combination of 2-3-1 – Rufus Barnaby Flynn, for instance – or 3-1-2 or 1-3-4 is best.
Of course, my three children all have two-syllable names paired with our two-syllable last name and I didn’t even realize it for about 20 years. But if I had, I would have picked names with uneven numbers of syllables as I think that rhythm is most pleasing to the ear.
WHAT WOULD THE INITIALS BE?
We’ve always made fun of those dumb rulebooks that advise you not to give your child initials that spell out P.I.G. or A.S.S. Duh. Of course you wouldn’t do that.
But what about something like S.T.D.? Writing out the potential initials and checking them twice can be worthwhile. Studies show that people with initials that spell out positive things – A.C.E. or V.I.P. – live nearly five years longer than those with negative ones.
CHECK OUT THE CHART
No reason to invent an algorithm for divining the future population of every name on the Social Security’s Top 1000. Instead, simply check out the popularity chart we include for every name on the SS list. You can tell at a glance how quickly a name is motoring upward, as Leila is here http://nameberry.com/babyname/Leila, and how consistent its use has been over time. At least in terms of popularity, this can give you all the information you really need.
HOW SIMPLE IS IT TO UNDERSTAND?
Take it on a test drive, trying it out on, say, half a dozen people. You don’t have to tell them it’s a name you’re considering for your baby; that may skew the results. Instead, say you’d just met someone named Dashiell, for instance, and ask whether they’ve ever hear of the name.
If the overall response is confusion, repeated requests for spelling and pronunciation, and misunderstanding the name as everything from Daniel to Cashel, you can be pretty sure that will be the response throughout your child’s life. You may decide you love the name enough to put up with it, but at least you’ll know what you’re getting yourself and your child into.