Baby Name News: Pop star, Norwegian and noisy names
This week’s news includes kids named after pop singers, a noisy name to exclaim about, what’s hot in Norway, and much ado about an apostrophe.
But first, happy February! Being as tomorrow is Groundhog Day, when North Americans find out if spring is on the way, I had a quick search for any babies named to celebrate the occasion. Unsuccessfully, it turns out. If you know of any, I’d love to hear. If you like the idea of honoring the little critter, you could use the name of a celebrity groundhog, like Punxsutawney Phil or Staten Island Chuck (full name Charles G. Hogg). Or maybe Shade or Shadow, or conversely, a name meaning light.
Popstar babies of 2016
You may think there’s only one Beyoncé, but 6 girls in the US accounted for this name in 2016 alone. The Huffington Post has done a round-up of baby names inspired by musicians in the latest data. Some are probably coincidence – not all girls called Dolly are named after Ms Parton – but others almost certainly owe their names to their parents’ music heroes. Cobain, Joplin and Pharrell, looking at you. Thelonious appears both on this list and in Nameberry’s top picks for 2018, making it a somewhat surprising one to watch.
Breton baby names: apostrophe angst
You may have heard of French officials rejecting baby names like Nutella and Marseille. More ominously for minority language speakers, there’s just been another case of a Breton name being (initially) rejected for its spelling.
The problem is, the apostrophe isn’t optional. It’s an integral part of Breton spelling: “c’h” makes the sound at the end of the word loch. After an appeal, it looks like baby Derc’hen is allowed to have his name registered after all.
So what’s his name all about? It seems to derive from the Celtic word for “oak”, making it a cousin of Irish Dara. Derowen and Derwen – the name for the tree in Cornish and Welsh respectively – have also been used as names, and the word druid is thought to come from the same root (pun intended). If you’re considering a tree name too, here’s a list that goes way beyond Oak.
Elsewhere in Brittany, the most popular names follow mainstream French tastes. Louise and Gabriel were top last year in both the region’s main cities, Rennes and Nantes. For girls, variations on Maëlle are very much in vogue: 28 similar names were recorded, from Maylie to Maëline to Maë-Lou.
Norwegian name news
Moving north, Norwegian parents are loving similar names to English speakers, but with a Scandinavian twist. Sofie and Jakob were the most popular names in Norway in 2017, and Emma and Nora, Lukas and Oskar were also in the top 10.
If you love a map infographic, check out Statistics Norway’s website, which shows the top names in each region. I especially like that Aurora is the favorite girls’ name in the far north – inspired by the northern lights, one hopes. For more name inspiration from the fjords, here’s a list of Norwegian baby names.
Carmella is another rich, flowing name (maybe because it reminds me of caramel) – that’s singer Christina Perri’s daughter, born earlier this month. Her name celebrates both parents’ Italian heritage. Although the spelling with two L’s is less traditional than Carmela, it’s currently slightly more popular in the US, given to 148 girls in 2016.
Noisy names: Clamor
Finally, if you like loud, boisterous names like Rowdy, Dash and Wild, can I interest you in Clamor? It featured as a middle name in the London Times’ birth announcements last week. It’s a German name (from Latin) that means exactly what it sounds like: a cry or exclamation. It’s so rare in the US that it’s never appeared in the data, but it feels like a possibility for parents wanting a word name with impact. Go shout it out!
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on February 1st, 2018 at 12:39 am
I knew an Aurelia growing up. She was just as beautiful as her name sounded. Also her mom was just as creative and inspiring as you would hope a mom that named her daughter Aurelia in the 1980’s would be.
on February 1st, 2018 at 1:04 am
Aurelia Honey is stunning. Wow.
on February 1st, 2018 at 10:37 am
The French have serious issues with wanting to crush minority cultures, having historically been very good at it. Horrified that there is even any discussion of allowing Breton names!
Registering a baby in Spain, I’ve had the opposite problem, based on a similar recent rule change. Having chosen a first and a middle name for my daughter, it was obligatory to put a hyphen between them. I went with it, because the middle name was an honour name and it was important to me that it be there, but she’s been left with a pretty unwieldy double-barrelled named.
on February 1st, 2018 at 12:06 pm
Hum… Eu, I don’t think we have serious issues with that, but thank you for judging us without knowing anything about French people.
Anyways, I think original spellings of the names should be accepted.
on February 1st, 2018 at 11:03 pm
I don’t understand, are Spaniards not allowed to have middle names without hyphenation??
Also, as a French person I have serious issues with being stereotyped as having serious issues. Half joking, half serious,
on February 2nd, 2018 at 5:24 am
Ah, sorry ladies. I should have said, “the French have a long history of centralizing everything in an ‘all roads lead to Paris’ kind of way, and this has frequently included stamping out minority languages such as Occitan, Basque, Breton, Provençal, etc. This is fairly well known. My characterization of it as “serious issues” is my own of course, and sorry, fairly judgemental (but then I do live in an area of Spain where this is also a ‘serious issue’ so I’m not criticizing France over other nations for this) 🙂
Anyway, the apostrophe issue is interesting because I imagine what they are trying to do is prevent creative spellings/made-up names, but it’s having the unintended consequence of causing bad blood with regional languages.
The Spanish basically don’t have middle names (very frustrating for me as a foreigner and there are exceptions, such as royalty). You can have a two-part name, such as María Magdalena, or, per the new regulations, you can have two names (maximum two) separated by a hyphen.
on February 2nd, 2018 at 8:40 am
These are wonderful names. Aurelia and Carmella sound so beautiful.
Birdie Largo Said
on February 3rd, 2018 at 5:54 pm
I love Aurelia. It makes me think of the northern lights(Aurora Polaris is the specific name), but Aurora doesn’t for some reason. I don’t really like Carmella though. If you’re going to use a word name, just do it plain.(eg. Daisy vs. Daisiana, Cat/Kat vs. Catalina/Katalina)
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