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Thread: What to do?
July 7th, 2014 06:31 PM #1
What to do?
I was thinking of names and their popularity today when I began to wonder why they become popular and how the popularity of names could be different with only a slight change.
I was thinking of names that Shakespeare use, in The Merchant of Venice there are two female characters called Portia and Jessica, one is uncommon in today's world and the other was once very mainstream. I mentioned the name Portia to a friend once who once said that it is an unheard name, however, in my opinion Jessica is, despite being pretty, quite plain, but imagine if it was the other way around? What if Portia had of taken off rather than Jessica? Would we now think that Portia was plain after it had ran it's course of popularity and would Jessica be the one that people raise their eyebrows at and say how it's not heard very often?
Same goes with Viola and Olivia from Twelfth Night; Katherine (Kate) and Bianca. Although Bianca is a little more widely known as is Viola, but not as much as their "sisters". Jessica and Portia is definitely the best example.
But lots of TV shows do this sort of thing: Charmed with Piper but not really Prudence; Friends with Rachel and Phoebe but not Monica, I can't really think of anymore right now.
Does anybody else have views on this? Or a similar thinking?
Sorry about the title! I originally wrote up something a few days back but didn't post it and it Auto-Saved it and I clicked the Auto-Save bit to see what it was I wrote and I forgot to change the title back hence why the title doesn't match up. The title is supposed to be "Something I've been thinking of..." I'm going to blame the pregnancy brain!
Last edited by mollydolally; July 7th, 2014 at 06:34 PM.Molly: mummy-to-be, wife, vintage lover, and teacher!
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July 7th, 2014 07:33 PM #3
Yeah, it should be the same the other way round. It happens already, between different countries. A slightly different example (using dated names rather than popular/uncommon ones) would be with Graham, Derek, Ian, Malcolm & co, which I find odd on babies because I associate those names with a much older generation. However, it seems a lot of people in the US find them fresh and 'spunky' for baby boys because they didn't peak over there when they did here. If they hadn't peaked here, I wouldn't view them as grandad names either. It's funny to think of the 'what ifs'
So Jessica sits at #3 whilst the very similar Cressida lounges well below the 2000 mark. I don't think either name is plain; they sound pleasing, look interesting and both have a Shakespeare connections/roots. Yet how many would say Cressida is interesting but Jessica is boring? The notion of plainness tends to come from people's perceptions of it being common, and there are hundreds of reasons for why a name becomes common. The issue seems more to do with culture, popularity and trends rather than names themselves.