This week’s news includes what’s hot in Canada and Iran, rethinking grandpa names, and how to deal with too many Jacobs on a football team.
Canadian baby names: popular and unique
Canada doesn’t publish national baby name statistics, but the provinces release their data one by one over the year. The latest to do so is Alberta, where parents in 2017 loved Olivia and Noah. Olivia is also top in Nova Scotia and Manitoba, but Noah doesn’t make the top spot in any other province (that we know of. We’re still waiting for the stats from Ontario). In Prince Edward Island it didn’t even make the Top 10.
Helpfully for name nerds, the Albertan government publish a list of every first name registered, even those only used once. For your delectation, here’s the girls’ list and the boys’ list. The media was quick to pick up on this, spotting unusual names like Lucky and Free, Sunshine and Snow, Birdie and Feather, Sixx and Eleven, Denmark and Canada itself.
The very top baby names in Canada tend to be similar to those in the US. But what about specifically Canadian trends? According to analysis by the10and3.com, the most distinctively Canadian names of the last decade include Linden, Armaan, Zainab and Vienna. That’s quite an eclectic mix, and there’s more: they’ve done the same for every decade going back to the 1920s.
For those of us who don’t read Arabic script, it’s a bit of a challenge. Google Translate will get you so far, but it translates some names into their meaning in English – so Amir–Ali, the current top boys’ name, shows up as “Prince Ali”, and Zahra, the #2 girls’ name, becomes “flowers”. (To complete the picture, the top name for girls is Fatemeh, and #2 for boys is Mohammad.)
Fortunately, international name scout @maybeitsdaijiro has written out the Top 10 on Twitter, plus new names in the Top 50 and notable climbers.
Celebrity baby names: Family and values
Want to honor grandpa without using his name? Kate Hudson has cracked it. The actress recently welcomed her daughter Rani Rose, announcing that the name pays tribute to the baby’s grandfather, Ron. Commemorating a loved one – check. Elegant under-the-radar international unisex name – check.
It doesn’t work quite so well if “Rani” and “Ronnie” don’t sound the same in your accent – if you’re British, for example. But then again, British parents might just use Ronnie itself. It’s made a comeback in a big way in the UK: it’s in the Top 100 for boys, and is used for a few dozen girls each year too.
Hudson’s older children have names with family meaning too: Ryder Russell’s middle name honors Kate’s stepdad, Kurt Russell. And Bingham Hawn has surnames from both sides of his family, including, of course, grandma Goldie Hawn.
Another grandpa name dilemma I read about this week was how to honor a Clarence. The solution? Clarence’s friends and family knew him as “Cob”, so the parents added an extra letter and named the baby Coby.
Another starbaby of the week has a name that captures family values rather than family ties: that’s Loyal Atticus, son of former Big Brother contestant and fitness guru Christmas Abbott. She explained that she hopes his virtue name will guide him through life, and that Atticus was after the Greek philosopher. (Though let’s be honest, would it really be on most of our radar if it wasn’t for Mr Finch?)
A final thought on family names: in this article, a mother explains that her son’s full name is “ridiculously long” because she wanted to use her surname as his middle. My first reaction was, is seven syllables really that long? What do you think: how many syllables is too many?
1970s powerhouse Jason has been in the news this week as “Australia’s trendiest ever baby name”, and it’s heartening to hear that many boom-era Jasons like their name despite – or even because of – its popularity. It’s been called the trendiest boys’ name in America too, (don’t forget that Pam and Linda‘s very first name book was called Beyond Jennifer and Jason) but it never quite reached Number 1 as it did in several Australian states. Bonus fact: 2017 was the first year since 1966 that Jason wasn’t given to any girls (or less than five).
Another name popular in the same era, Sarah, is on uncertain ground. It made headlines in the UK for dropping below the Top 100 for the first time, and it shows signs of doing the same in New Zealand. In this article, a few Kiwi Sarahs share their thoughts on this – and on sharing their name with so many other women.
Jason paved the way for many similar-sounding names, including Jacob. A Top 10 name since 1993, the wave of Jacobs has hit college now. At the University of Washington, the football team has four quarterbacks called Jacob or Jake, so how do teammates attract the attention of the right one? Only one of them is allowed to go by Jake, and the others have to use different nicknames.
Say it right: royal edition
If you follow the British royal family, you’ll know that Princess Eugenie is marrying Jack Brooksbank tomorrow, Friday 12 October. But do you know how to pronounce her name? If in doubt, think “use your knees”!