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High-Energy Names

bouncingbypatdavid

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted a name with a lot of energy, for reasons that seem insane from the perspective of having raised three kids. But I didn’t anticipate that a high-energy toddler might run me ragged; I just knew I wanted my little boy or girl to be active, outgoing, not hobbled by the shyness and insecurities I felt had plagued my own childhood.

Well, I got my wish. Rory burst into the world, all 9 pounds, 5 ounces of her, with a shock of jet black hair and a voice that woke the whole maternity ward. At two weeks old, she was able to stand on my husband’s lap and sing along with him. As she grew, she starred in all the school plays and dominated on the lacrosse field.

The search for a high-energy name was part of the inspiration for our first name book. It was so difficult to sift through all the conventional name dictionaries on the market at the time and try to find names that sounded energetic (and Irish and that meant red, two of my other criteria). There should be a name book that put all the energetic-sounding names in one place, I thought, along with all the names that sounded smart and stylish, that were good for redheads or popular in the 1920s. That’s the thinking I brought to the first Beyond Jennifer & Jason (Linda, meanwhile, a friend and fellow writer, had conceived the same idea from a different direction), now grown up to Beyond Ava & Aiden.

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school

We’ve often wondered how teachers respond to the new menu of student names on their class lists each year.  Guest blogger Emily Gough, an experienced educator, tells the story from her point of view.

At the start of every school year, I am organizing notes, planning lessons, hanging up posters, and of course looking over the new class lists.  Each year brings 100+ new students, and of course new names.  I am always eagerly checking to see if my class lists are available yet as the countdown to school starts.  For one thing, I like to know what the class sizes are, but mostly it’s the names I’m interested in. 

If I see any that I am at a total loss with pronunciation-wise, I do some research to try to prevent myself from butchering a kid’s name on the first day.  I wonder over familiar last names, and whether this new student is a younger sibling, and if so will they be very similar or complete opposites?  I prepare myself for trying to keep Kylee, Kylie, and Kyley apart in one class and I wonder if Devin and Dakota are boys or girls. 

And the longer I teach, the more I get an impression of what each student might be like based upon previous students with the same name.  I think every teacher can give you examples- for me, a male Jesse is going to be a handful and Lily will be a quiet, shy introvert.  I even will differentiate my assumptions based upon spelling; I would predict John to be studious and Jon a jokester.

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spell1

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Does a different spelling alter the image of a name?

We’re not talking about kreeatif spellings here, but standard variations. For example:

• Would Ann of Green Gables have seemed like a slightly different character? (She passionately advocated for the e at the end of her name, claiming it made it “so much more distinguished.”)
Do you see Catherine as more classic than Katherine?
• Is Isobel more exotic than Isabel?
Aiden more modern or American than Aidan?
Elisabeth softer than Elizabeth?
How about Susanna vs Susannah, Margo vs Margot, Mae vs May?

Any other examples you can think of where different spellings alter your perception of a name?

Click here to let us know what you think!

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Name Mind-Changers

percy1

I once met an absolutely adorable little boy whose name was Percy, which was not exactly one of my favorite names at the time.  But this one endearing Percy managed to completely alter my perception of the name.  And, picturing him, has had me defending it ever since. 

Which leads us to today’s Question of the Week:

Has there ever been a name that you were coolish on, ambivalent towards or downright opposed to, about which you changed your mind completely and irrevocably once it became attached to an appealing child?  Or adult, for that matter.

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